PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian authorities have thwarted 19 terror plots and apprehended 369 suspect Islamic State (IS) militants the last four years.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said 87 foreigners were among the terrorists detected between 2013 and 2017.
"The grenade attack at the Movida bar in Puchong in June 2016 was considered as the first IS-linked attack in Malaysia,” he said of the attack which injured eight people then.
"Thankfully, it did not result in any deaths, and the perpetrators were arrested and sentenced to jail,” Nur Jazlan added. Two people admitted to the crime and were each jailed 25 years.
"That incident was an apt reminder to us on the reality of modern terrorism, where conflicts that is happening thousands of miles away can have a very real repercussions on our security back home," he said when delivering the national statement during the Putrajaya International Security Dialogue at Marriot Hotel here.
Nur Jazlan said it was time to review the current approach in addressing terrorism as IS recruits new members through social media.
"Through social media, IS continues to recruit members across the globe, mostly targeting disfranchised young men and women who seeks affirmation in their lives.
"They offer a form of escapism by tainting these young minds with their twisted world view and perverse ideology coupled the promise of a higher purpose in life.
"Therefore, the time has come for us to review our current approach in the war on terror. The heavy handed approach which may seem effective in the short term, does not address the core issues of terrorism, which is just as much as this is a war against criminals and terrorists, it is also a war for the hearts and minds, a battle of competing ideologies," he said.
Nur Jazlan said Malaysia has mooted on the idea of offering a moderate religious interpretation as a proactive measure to stamp out extremism.
"Through counselling, re-education and by involving religious leaders and experts in correcting and countering the perverted views of Islam to terror convicts, we found that not only is it an effective tool in de-racialising them, it would also turn former convicts into key propagator in countering IS propaganda and ideology," said Nur Jazlan.
Sudanese Interior Minister Major General (Police) Dr Hamid Mohamed, in his national statement, said Sudan also used the same approach as Malaysia to rehabilitate those involved in terrorism cells, which is through deradicalisation programmes.
"The young ones are the easy target for the extremists to recruit them as new members.
"We have deradicalisation programmes as counterterrorism measures. This is to rehabilitate those with extreme and violent religious or political ideologies to adopt more moderate views," he said.
Representative of the Turkish president Mehmet Mehdi Eker said Turkey actively participates in the Anti-IS coalition such as Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Counter-Finance Working Groups.
He also praised Malaysia as a good example for a multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious country with people living together in peace and harmony.