KEMAMAN: The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) has discovered that the Islamic State (IS) militant group uses the Telegram messaging app as the latest medium to disseminate its ideology and recruit Malaysians.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division senior assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said Telegram was among 14 social applications used by IS to connect with the public before recruiting them and arranging their trips to Syria.
“Prior to this, they used Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and others to influence people to join them. The social media is their main media for this activity.
“Since the middle of last year, however, we found them shifting to Telegram to avoid detection,” he told reporters after attending a Kemaman district-level Maal Hijrah seminar here Monday.
He said IS was found using Telegram because it was difficult to detect, and via WhatsApp, they used different groups to communicate with.
Ayob Khan said PDRM also found IS was still actively recruiting Malaysians to join them based on movement records to Syria which were detected in August and last month.
“Indeed, it is difficult for them to sneak into the country but they are still seeking ways and means to recruit Malaysians to infiltrate into Syria,” he added.
He said IS also used premises such as hotels to meet its members to plan their terrorist activities, adding that one such hotel was in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur in April.
In the meantime, Ayob Khan said the PDRM Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division detected 15 soldiers, three policemen and an auxiliary policeman joining the IS militant group, to date.
He said security personnel were targeted by IS because they had the skills required and access to firearms and explosives.
“We must take early action despite minimal information and less than firm evidence if it involved security personnel, whether they are policemen, RELA or military,” he said.
According to Ayob Khan, members of security forces were among 26 civil servants out of the 255 people detained by PDRM since 2013.
“Other than civil servants, there were also university lecturers, private sector employees and students who were involved in the militant activities,” he said.
Meanwhile, he urged the religious department and mufti to help check militant activities because it did not only involve security issues but also the faith of Muslims. – Bernama