KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian government may achieve its aim of zero terrorism in Malaysia once the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) comes into effect, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Friday (Oct 2).
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said Malaysians returning for recruitment and other terror-related activities would be identified upon arrival based on intelligence exchanges.
"Thanks to the efforts taken by police, the number of potential terrorists from Malaysia is down. I can tell you 100 per cent of terrorists and potential terrorists who have returned to Malaysia have been detained," he said.
Speaking at a press conference after chairing the Special Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, he said he hopes a zero terrorism level can be reached once Pota is enforced.
Terrorism remains a key concern among Asean leaders, with the issue being hotly discussed both at the special meeting and at the 10th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime, which preceded it.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said a discussion with Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia revealed that all three nations also had to battle terrorism-related issues.
However each nation had different concerns.
"For instance, Thailand is a transit country for the terrorists in Asean to go to other countries, while Philippines has a few groups of militants which are training fighters for foreign causes."
Dr Ahmad Zahid added that Malaysia is also affected due to Malaysians getting involved in terror activities abroad.
"We have 131 terrorists in detention in Malaysia, and of these, 110 are Malaysians," he said.
A discussion between the four countries resulted in Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines choosing Malaysia to take the lead in planning and taking action to solve terror threats in the region.
Meanwhile, asked if Malaysia is ready to counter terrorism threats, Dr Ahmad Zahid simply said: "We have countered and we are ever ready to counter, terrorism threats."