SHAH ALAM, March 14 (Bernama) — A new bill, the Foreign Fighters Bill has been approved by the Cabinet for tabling in Parliament, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
He said the bill was meant to curb the entry of foreign terrorists into the country “and was formulated seeing our country has the potential to become a second transit point of foreign terrorists before moving to a third country”.
Two main factors which formed the core in the preventive measures via the Prevention of Terrorist Aggression (POTA) bill, which was also approved by Cabinet for tabling in the Dewan Rakyat, and the Foreign Fighters Bill were that every case must have concrete proof and reliable witnesses before any individual involved were charged in court.
He said this to reporters after opening a ‘Financial Management Seminar: Replanning Your Finances’ here, Saturday.
Zahid said any prosecution or decision to penalise any individual found guilty of involvement in terrorist activities under the new bill would be carried out by the Crime Prevention Board for POTA, and Violence Prevention Board for the Foreign Fighter’s Bill.
“The (existence of the) boards aimed to prevent detention without trial, on the other hand they are detained for preventive purposes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said the Home Ministry (KDN) would continue to monitor religious schools and public and private institutes of higher learning to prevent the recruitment of Malaysians for involvement in militancy.
He also denied claims by irresponsible quarters who said religious schools in Malaysia were centres to recruit militant members.
He said that out of 61 individuals detained for purportedly fighting for the IS militant group, only one had a religious school background.
“It is not fair if there are groups making such allegations but we will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
Asked on the need of religious schools to register with KDN as a precautionary measure, Zahid said it was unnecessary because the schools were under the jurisdiction of the state governments and coordinated by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department and Education Ministry.
In another development, Ahmad Zahid said 302,901 individuals had their international passports held by the Immigration Department of Malaysia because they were declared bankrupt, and the majority was the young group.
“According to the report and statistics of the Malaysian Insolvency Department, almost 45,000 individuals aged below 35 years had been declared bankrupt since three years ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, in BAGAN DATOH, Ahmad Zahid confirmed that no politician whether from the government or opposition was found to be involved in the Islamic State (IS) militant movement.
“I have received confirmation from most party leaderships that they also do not support any involvement of their members in IS.
“A member of the opposition or government party who is discovered to be involved with IS will be sacked,” he told reporters after opening an angling contest organised by the 4B Youth movement of the Bagan Datoh Parliamentary constituency at the Kampung Pasang Api Beach here.
Ahmad Zahid also said the government had never hidden anything related to security issues because it was a serious matter.