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Zahid: Cross-Border Cooperation Vital In Online Battle Against Terrorism

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BALI: The Government welcomes any cooperation with other countries in creating an effective measure to battle terrorism online, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the war in cyberspace could not be carried out alone.

“Cooperation in his area is vital to counter stories and rhetoric flooding cyberspace.

“With the rapid development in information communication technology, Malaysia is greatly concerned over the use of the Internet and social media by terrorist groups to disseminate their stories, radical ideologies and rhetoric,” he said in his ministrial statement during the “International Meeting on Counter-Terrorism: Cross Border Movement of Terrorism” on Wednesday.

“These stories have since been flooding cyberspace and leading social media users to believe that the stories are real, and that the terrorists are fighting in the name of religion.

“We need a strategic approach to counter such stories and move two or three steps ahead of them.

“Therefore, Malaysia has taken an initiative to counter the narrative of the terrorists and extremists by establishing the Digital Strategic Communications Division and Counter Messaging Centre,” he said, adding that the centre would be operational very soon.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said counter-terrorism measures were more effective with de-radicalisation programmes.

“We have already developed a module, the “Integrated Deradicalisation Module for Detainees” conducted by the Home Ministry, the Prisons Department and the Royal Malaysian Police. It is currently being used as a guideline by our agencies involved in the de-radicalisation programme in Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also stressed the importance of border security to stop the movement of terrorists.

“At our entry points, the Immigration Department monitors each and every one that passes.

“Their data is cross-checked against a suspects list, which contains the names of persons subjected to travel bans by Malaysian authorities, which include terrorists and other criminals,” he said.

The list is updated regularly and maintained by Malaysian authorities that work closely with other international bodies that implement travel ban, including Interpol and the UN Security Council, he added.

“In ensuring its effectiveness, sharing of information and intelligence of the suspected list of terrorists among countries is vital to identify and prevent their movement to our soil,” he said.

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