Najib looks to boost defence, intelligence cooperation with the US

In a keynote address a day after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, Datuk Seri Najib focused on shared security concerns and cooperation, including over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and North Korea.
In a keynote address a day after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, Datuk Seri Najib focused on shared security concerns and cooperation, including over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and North Korea. PHOTO: FOTOBERNAMA

Malaysia looks forward to closer intelligence and law enforcement cooperation with the United States, Prime Minister Najib Razak told an audience at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.

In a keynote address a day after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, Datuk Seri Najib focused on shared security concerns and cooperation, including over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and North Korea.

Citing a slew of regular US- Malaysia joint drills, he said on Wednesday (Sept 13): "Many of these operations have evolved in complexity over the years. This marks a growth in trust and capability between our forces."

He told the audience of academics, policymakers, diplomats and government officials: "Military operations have increasingly involved crossing between the physical and virtual domains, and I strongly encourage our forces to share their expertise and experiences as military doctrines, rules, and norms develop in cyberspace."

Using an Arabic acronym for ISIS, he said: "Daesh has ensnared some of our citizens both in life and in death, from Mosul to Marawi.

 

"Men, women and children from Malaysia have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for a false cause, burning their passports, and hoping never to return. Others seek to kill members of our government and other prominent figures.

"These people... are our enemies just as much as they are your enemies. Indeed, by claiming their terrorism is Islamic in nature, these individuals blaspheme against our religion - something for which we simply cannot forgive them. I want to reiterate here, in your capital, that Malaysia is the United States' firm ally in this battle."

He emphasised, however, the importance of fighting the ideology that drives terrorism through narratives that counter online and offline extremist propaganda.

"We look forward to even closer intelligence and law enforcement cooperation with the United States, and in sharing our expertise in countering radicalism and violent extremism of all ideologies," Mr Najib said.

He voiced commitment to isolate North Korea, saying: "Asia must not be held hostage to the prospect of either a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) or conventional war breaking out in our midst. The stakes are simply too high.

"President Trump and I discussed this at length yesterday, and Malaysia offers its full support and assistance in resolving the current very dangerous tension over North Korea."

Mr Najib also expressed grave concern over the crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which has seen more than 300,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.

He warned: "I believe the world is almost completely united in being appalled by the latest wave of violence - which also has the potential to radicalise desperate young people enraged by their government's treatment of them."