Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
NEW YORK: As Malaysia arrests more suspects linked to terror group Islamic State, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi discussed further measures against the deadly IS with American terrorism experts here.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who met with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force experts, said his visit here was also to counter allegations that Malaysia had secret training hideouts for Malaysian IS jihadists and was a transit point for foreigners on their jihadist mission.
“We are always exchanging information and have cooperated with FBI for so many years. The problem is when some terrorists claim to be Malaysians and that they recruit Malaysians through certain organisations to fight for their cause in Syria and Iraq.
“The truth is there is no such training hideout. Instead, it is done by very small groups or individuals,” he told Malaysian journalists here yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is on a week-long visit to New York and Washington, acknowledged that the threat from neighbouring countries was real, especially with the aim of setting up a self-styled caliphate in Sabah and Sarawak.
On the US visa waiver programme, the minister said Malaysia was looking at some of the requirements listed to be included in the programme, including reviewing border security standard operating procedures.
He said with the waiver, there would be smoother and easier flow of investments and people between both sides.
On efforts to elevate Malaysia back to Tier 2 of the US Trafficking in Persons list, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the steps taken included providing protection to foreign victims smuggled in by syndicates as forced labour.
“We are working with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and NGOs towards this end,” he said.