KL pushes measures to counter terrorism

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MALAYSIA is calling for the creation of a mechanism that will enable it, the Philippines and Indonesia to share intelligence reports as a way to prevent the spread of terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.

During the trilateral meeting on security, Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman said the enforcement agencies of Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia must constantly engage with one another by identifying and combating terrorist activities in the region.

“There is an urgent need to facilitate the prompt exchange and assessing of information, [and to] strengthen intelligence agencies and cooperation,” Anifah said in his opening remarks.

“We propose [that] we work towards formalization of mechanisms for our cooperation and continue cooperation before the end of the year,” he added.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said it is necessary to focus as well on social media as terrorists groups have been using these as a platform to lure recruits to their cause.

“The threat that we are facing is imminent. No action is not an option. This is incumbent upon us to taking complete action. This is also due to the fact that the threat of terrorism is even more worrying because of the social media factors,” she said.

“Therefore cooperation among the three of us is a necessity. The cooperation among the three of us is a must,” Marsudi added.

Anifah agreed with Marsudi and said that nowadays, social media are being used to give terrorists the advantage.

“Technology has enabled terrorism to spread their message faster and more promptly than ever before,” he said.

He added that the terrorists may have employed some experts to use social media accounts to recruit more fighters.

ANTI-TERROR FRONT. Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (second from left), Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (third from left) and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (third from right) linked arms during a trilateral meeting in security in Manila on June 22, 2017. AFP

“They probably have experts in using social media to recruit followers in foreign countries,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that countries must not forget that “drugs, crime, poverty and injustices” can create fertile ground for extremists.

“The struggle to uplift the quality and dignity of each of life is the ultimate struggle,” Cayetano said.

In a joint statement, Cayetano said that he and his counterparts have agreed to intensify counter-terrorism cooperation by blocking the movement of terrorists, funds, weapons and social media disinformation.

They agreed 15 points that their senior officials need to raise during the upcoming meeting among other Asean members.

The 15 points are:

1) enhance effort and cooperation in addressing the root cause underlying conditions of extremism including but not limited to poverty, narcotics or illegal drugs, crime and social justice;

2) promote social and economic development particularly in adjoining areas of the three countries;

3) enhance the intelligence and information sharing amongst all security and intelligence agencies on potential, imminent and real threats;

4) stop the flow of the terrorist financing;

5) contain the spread of terrorism and terrorism-related content in the cyberspace, particularly in the social media;

6) prevent and suppress the terrorist exploitation of information and communication technology and the dissemination of terrorist messages;

7) prevent and stop the flow of illicit arms and arms smuggling as well as the movement of all terrorists;

8) consider the provision of specialized military and law enforcement training;

9) support the trilateral cooperative agreement and other sub-regional efforts to combat translational crime;

10) review and implement all of our existing agreements on terrorism and violent extremism;

11) make a cross-analysis comparison of each other’s laws on terrorism with a view to enhancing legislation;

12) counter the extremist narrative through education, community engagement including the involvement of religious leaders and the promotion of tolerance, moderation, and unity in diversity;

13) explore initiatives to provide support for victims of terrorism;

14) promote deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programs as part of comprehensive measures in countering terrorism; and

15) protect and safeguard vulnerable groups, particularly women, children, and the youth, from the influence of terrorism.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo also agreed to step up cooperation against terrorism and violent extremism, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Describing the phone call between President Duterte and President Widodo as “productive and fruitful,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the Indonesian leader reaffirmed his support for the Philippines’ fight against terrorism and quest for Mindanao peace.

Abella also said that both leaders noted the importance of the ongoing trilateral meeting among foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. With John Paolo Bencito

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