Militant groups aiming to be single terror coalition, says Malaysia's home minister

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Militant groups are trying to band together as a single "terror coalition" but they will not succeed in Malaysia, said the home minister.

"We are aware of attempts of several terror groups to band together but, mark my words, they will not thrive in Malaysia," Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

"Authorities here will not allow these groups to gain a foothold in Malaysia and neighbouring countries," he added, saying groups such as Daulah Islamiyah Asia Tenggara (South-east Asia Islamic Network) are under close watch by Bukit Aman's counter-terrorism division and military intelligence unit.

"Unlike local terror groups, such as Al-Maunah and Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia in the past, militant groups are now more linked to each other internationally," Dr Ahmad Zahid said in a recent interview here.

The minister said the militant groups had always been under the radar of counter-terrorism experts and enforcement agencies.

"Such militant groups have surfaced since the 1970s. Groups like Jemaah Islamiah, Darul Islam and Tentera Sabiullah have their own violent agendas," he said, adding their purported aim is to set up an Islamic state in Malaysia.

Stressing the importance of surveillance and intelligence gathering, Dr Ahmad Zahid said any failed effort would adversely affect the nation's safety and security.

"The militants will be free to roam, recruit more members and launch attacks at any time if we don't remain vigilant.

"Just look at the terror attacks in Indonesia and southern Philippines," he said.

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