KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and its regional partners are identifying ways to combat terrorists threats with counter narratives besides military action, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Hishammuddin said terrorist threats were complicated and the challenge to fight it did not fall on Islamic countries alone, but also other countries as well.
He said at the recent one-day Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition Countries (ICMTC) meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, all 41 nations of the pan-Islamic coalition, including Malaysia, agreed that combating terrorism could not be achieved by military means alone, but their ideologies must also be curbed as well.
“The worrying part is Islamic State militants seeking refuge in our region. We do not know what they are planning in hotspots, such as the Sulu Sea and among the displaced Rohingya.
“Our region is affected, and the Rohingya refugees are the most vulnerable. We need to counter their ideologies if terrorists start to target them.
“If it happens, it shows that terrorism does not only concern the Muslims, but also other religions. After what happened in Marawi City in the Philippines, other countries are on the lookout for suspicious activities.”
Hishammuddin said Malaysia was part of the trilateral patrol agreement with Indonesia and the Philippines to monitor and combat terrorism.
He also said the agreement had received positive response and Malaysia had been sharing military intelligence with other countries.
He added that the countries had agreed to open another King Salman Centre for International Peace for counter-terrorism programmes.
The IMCTC first met in 2015 to fight terrorism in four domains — ideology, communication, counter-terrorism financing and military.
Member countries would provide collective support to control the threat of IS, especially in Asia.
The latest one-day meeting was officiated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman at Al Faisaliah Hotel.