I wish to first congratulate you Minister and your delegation for so ably steering the proceedings and work of this Council over the course of the past month or so. I am pleased to be here with you and also other colleagues around the table, including counterparts from Chad, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. We had I believe, an important and useful discussion earlier this morning, graciously hosted by Secretary Johnson and Ambassador Power of the US.
2. We welcome Lithuania’s initiative in convening this meeting of the Council which for the first time ever, involves ministers responsible for internal and homeland security aimed at among others, assessing implementation of Security Council Resolution 2178 on the issue of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF).
3. I wish to also thank the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon; the Chairs of the Council’s 1267 and 1373 Committees, as well as the Secretary General of INTERPOL for their comprehensive and insightful presentations.
4. Last September, this Council took a historic and decisive step with the unanimous adoption of resolution 2178. In our view, resolution 2178 helped pave the way for the international community to respond and address the growing threat posed by the FTF phenomenon at the national, regional and international levels. On this note, we are pleased to join the consensus on Council’s Presidential Statement just adopted.
5. Malaysia reiterates its strong and unequivocal condemnation of all acts of terrorism whenever and by whomsoever committed, regardless of the motivation. We remain committed to implementing all relevant Council resolutions aimed at combating terrorism, and we welcome the opportunity afforded today to take stock of efforts towards that end.
6. In this regard, I am pleased to inform that since the adoption of resolution 2178, Malaysia has taken a number of concrete measures aimed at addressing the threat of terrorism within and outside Malaysia and in ensuring the safety and security of our people.
7. Among others, the Malaysian parliament had earlier this year voted to enact a new law aimed ait preventing terrorism entitled the Prevention of Terrorism Bill (POTA) 2015, which is currently awaiting Royal Assent before being passed into law.
8. In essence, POTA aims to prevent the commission or support of terrorist acts involving listed terrorist organisations in a foreign country. I would stress that in drafting POTA, the Government had taken into account the need to respect Malaysia’s obligations under the relevant human rights instruments which it is party to.
9. One key feature of POTA which I wish to share with the Council concerns its provisions on rehabilitation and deradicalisation. The assumption underlying this provision is rooted in the belief that the fight against terrorism cannot be won through force or punitive measures alone. The inclusion of rehabilitation and deradicalisation component under POTA was based on the success of similar model provided under the now repealed Internal Security Act.
10. In essence, the model comprises multiple components tuned towards changing the worldview and mind-sets of radicalized/extremist individuals through approaches such as small group/individual counselling. This component also involves a humanitarian aspect where assistance is provided when such individuals are ready to reintegrate into society. We believe that such measures are important to prevent ‘relapse’ or return to militant/terrorist activities.
11. Alongside POTA, the Government is in the early stages of promulgating legislation which would among other features have extra-territorial application and allow for measures to be taken against persons found committing or supporting terrorist acts involving listed terrorist organizations in a foreign country. Provisionally, this legislation is entitled the Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Bill 2015.
12. In terms of success in preventing FTF flows, I am pleased to share with the Council that since February 2013 to date, a total of 107 persons including 87 men, 20 women and 16 foreign nationals with suspected connections to or involvement in Da’esh have been arrested. We are actively monitoring the activities of 63 Malaysians who are known to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to engage in fighting there. Out of this figure, 11 are confirmed to have been killed.
13. With regard to improving information and intelligence sharing particularly through the Advanced Passenger Information (API) system, I wish to inform Malaysia is in the process of acquiring the Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS) which is expected to be fully operational by November 2015. This will go a long way towards providing early warning on the possible arrival of high risk travellers including potential FTFs.
14. With regard to border control measures, Malaysia is currently developing a comprehensive National Immigration Control System (SKIN) for effective filtering/screening on entry and exit of travellers through air, sea or land checkpoints.
15. With regard to regional level efforts, I am pleased to inform that Malaysia in its capacity as ASEAN Chair and incoming Chair of the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime will be hosting a Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalism and Violent Extremism in Kuala Lumpur on 2 October 2015.
16. We believe that the proposed meeting would provide an important platform for ASEAN countries to share their experiences in countering the rise of radicalism and violent extremism in the region and also to exchange views on concrete measures that could be taken to prevent the spread.
17. In concluding, Malaysia is convinced that the international community needs to address the incentives and motivations that lead people to leave their homes and loved ones to fight in far-flung regions of the world. Among others, these may include prolonged and grievous injustice, unequal access to resources and opportunities, gross violations of human rights, foreign occupation, and systematic discrimination.
18. At the domestic level, our study into the FTF phenomenon has shed some light on their motivations as well as on the huge gap in terms of the international community’s response. Malaysia is convinced that unless we deal effectively with the root causes of terrorism, we will not be able to curtail the “soft power” of the terrorists, particularly their efforts to enlist and entice new recruits, much of which happens through social media.
19. That said, we are conscious that even if the so-called root causes of terrorism could be addressed, the scourge of violent extremism will not be resolved overnight. We do believe however that doing so would go a long way towards removing the motive-factor so cleverly manipulated by the terrorists in gaining sympathy for their dubious cause and ends.
20. We must all remain fully seized and committed towards combatting the twin scourges of terrorism and violent extremism, for the simple reason that their primary target is our youth; these same youths who hold infinite promise and potential for a brighter future are in danger of being led down a path of death and destruction. This, God-willing, must not be allowed to happen.
I thank you, Mr. President.