KUALA LUMPUR: THE advent of cyberspace had facilitated militant groups in carrying out dastardly acts.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said there was a growing form of “media jihadists” who took full advantage of information and communications technology.
“Unfortunately, the cyberspace which we are so much dependant on for connectivity keeps the virtual form of caliphates alive through hatred.
“Cyberspace will remain an important access point for militant groups’ command and control, as it provides ease of access and direct connection to its sympathisers and its so-called ‘media jihadists’,” he said in response to the arrest of seven radicals by Special Branch counter-terrorism operatives recently.
He also condemned cowardly attacks in many parts of the world, especially last month’s suicide bombing in Sri Lankan churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.
He said terrorist fighters fleeing to many parts of the world constituted a major threat to international peace and security.
“They are operationally experienced, lethally skilled and highly networked. I hope those responsible for the barbaric crimes are brought to justice.”
Mohamad said anyone with smartphones and Internet access could carry out attacks on any target in the world.
“Cyberspace, without borders, becomes a new battleground in our fight against terrorism. We need a new type of soldier, one with sound knowledge in information technology.”
He warned that Southeast Asia, with a 65 per cent Muslim population, was seen to be a suitable location for militants to pursue their misguided ambitions.
He blamed local militant groups and sympathisers for being the backbone of the movement in the region, just like the Battle of Marawi in 2017 and the bombing in Surabaya last year.
Mohamad said Islam was a religion of peace which taught patience, kindness and forgiveness.
He reminded Muslims to be fair, truthful and respectful of other people.
“Killing and causing destruction is divergent from the true teachings of Islam and promoted by people who pursue selfish interests of anger and hatred.”
To combat terrorism, Mohamad called for a better understanding among the religions, an effective cyber-defence network and tighter firearms control.
“Misunderstanding of religions has fuelled radicalism, extremism and terrorism owing to resentment and hostility.”
He said Malaysia had implemented the Counter Messaging Centre to monitor terrorism groups over the Internet and social media. The Cyber Defence Operation Centre was also formed to address non-traditional security threats.