Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Malaysia

The police forces in Malaysia, who fall under the authority of the Malaysian Home Ministry, conducted all of the country's counterterrorist investigations and operations. Amendments to five different pieces of legislation – the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Penal Code, the Subordinate Courts Act, the Courts of Judicature Act, and the Criminal Procedure Code – enabled Malaysia to accede to the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism in 2007. To date, however, Malaysia has not initiated prosecution of any terrorist suspects using these amended laws, instead relying on its Internal Security Act (ISA) to detain terrorist suspects without bringing them to trial.

As of December 2008, Malaysian authorities held 16 terrorist suspects linked to Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and 13 linked to Darul Islam (DI), some of whom were undergoing a program of rehabilitation, in ISA detention. On average, the Malaysian government has held suspected terrorists and suspected terrorist supporters in ISA detention for two to six years. However, allegations that the Malaysian government has used the ISA to detain some persons for political reasons, rather than security concerns, placed pressure on Kuala Lumpur to amend or abolish the ISA. In 2008 the Malaysian government released 32 ISA detainees, including 13 terrorist suspects linked to JI and six linked to DI. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, in confirming the most recent release of the detainees, was quoted in the press as stating that they were no "longer a threat."

The Malaysian Government engaged with its neighbors on issues related to counterterrorism and transnational crime, and continued to operate the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT). The Center has facilitated the training of Malaysian security officials, but has done less to identify forward-looking or regional counterterrorism priorities. SEARCCT is seeking to expand its mission portfolio to include youth outreach and prison rehabilitation.

Malaysian mediators continued to work in the southern Philippines to help end the conflict between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), although on November 30, Malaysia withdrew its remaining participants from the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that monitors the ceasefire between the government and the MILF. Malaysia, along with Singapore and Indonesia, invited Thailand to join the "Eyes in the Sky" program designed to provide enhanced security to the Strait of Malacca, the world's busiest shipping lane. Malaysia has actively contributed to counter-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia and sent several naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden following the pirating of two Malaysian commercial vessels there. Malaysia's naval vessels will remain off the coast of Somalia until February 2009. The pirated ships were released upon the payment of significant ransom fees to the pirates.

Malaysia's central bank signed memoranda of understanding on the sharing of financial intelligence with the FIUs of seventeen nations, including the United States. Malaysia is an active member of the Asia/Pacific Group Donor & Provider Group for Technical Assistance and has worked with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, United Nation Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Australian FIU (AUSTRAC) to provide technical assistance in various ASEAN member countries.


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