SOP in the works to fight terrorism


Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Asean will be coming out with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for programmes to combat terrorism in the region.

And Malaysia will be counting on its long history of dealing with such problems – going all the way back to 1948 – to help develop the SOP.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia was on the frontlines again in Asean’s efforts to come up with long-term plans like rehabilitation activities for terrorists arrested.

“Malaysia will be hosting a conference on deradicalism in the Asean region on Jan 25 and 26 next year, in which Asean, along with eight dialogue partners, will discuss three main themes and present eight papers on the aspects of terrorist rehabilitation.

“This includes approaches like psychology and engagement programmes with those arrested for terrorism, including a proposal for engagement programmes involving ­families and loved ones, so the rehabilitated terrorists can be accepted into society again,” he told a press conference after chairing the Special Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (SAMMRRAVE) here yesterday.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim had previously said Malay­sia had achieved a 93% success rate on its rehabilitation programmes for those involved in terrorism, extremism and radicalism.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the international community had to engage in long-term efforts to halt terrorist activities in the name of religion.

“The SOP planned is not just for Asean, but will be taken to an international level where it will serve as a template for all other countries facing similar issues,” he added.

“Malaysia’s experience since 1948, dealing with guerilla attacks, and our decades-long rehabilitation programmes, are being relied on to develop this SOP.”

Asked if the Islamic State was discussed at the special meeting, Dr Ahmad Zahid confirmed that it was and said they also spoke about militancy, radicalism and extremism.

“The threat is real and it has to be pre­vented because we are concerned that if not, Islamophobia will continue to haunt Western countries and they will not understand what Islam is really about,” he said.

At the special meeting, Asean member countries have also agreed to contribute to a special fund to address the issue of trafficking in persons (TIP), with each member providing a minimum contribution of US$50,000.

Malaysia has contributed US$250,000 (RM1.1mil) to the fund, which will be used to help victims of TIP through rehabilitation efforts, medical aid and other basic facilities.