Japan’s advisory: Never underestimate “evolving” terror network, academic says

DESPITE the police’s assurance that Malaysia’s security was under control, an academic urged the authorities not to take the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur’s warning lightly.

“The Japanese authority don’t usually make statements like these. They will not do this unless the information they have is credible and substantial.

“Taliban’s rise and the release of incarcerated terrorists by the terror group, for example from Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, has renewed ‘motivation’ for terrorists to attack anywhere in the world, particularly in Southeast Asia,” HELP University Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting and Institute Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam told FocusM.

R Paneir Selvam

Yesterday, Bernama reported that the Japanese embassy in Kuala Lumpur confirmed that it had issued the advisory to Japanese nationals in Malaysia regarding the possibility of a terrorist threat in Southeast Asia.

According to reports, the Japanese Foreign Ministry had advised its citizens in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar to avoid being near places of worship and other crowded areas.

The advisory cited intelligence reports regarding the possibility of an attack on places of worship and public areas with large gatherings in the region.

However, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said that his team has not detected or received any information about security threats against any house of worship or public areas in the country.

He also assured the public that the country’s security and public order were under control and urged them not to be concerned about or speculate on the advisory issued by the Japanese embassy to its citizens in Malaysia.

“Police will always monitor the current security scenario and ensure the safety of the country. Checks will be stepped up to maintain public order,” Acryl Sani was reported saying.

 

Help our security officers too

 

Touching on the matter, Paneir Selvam said one must not be overconfident on matters affecting national security, citing the knife attack in Auckland, New Zealand as an example.

He added that terror tactics are constantly evolving, with extremists setting their sights on Western-owned facilities and places of worship.

“While I concur that our intelligence network has been proven capable in thwarting such terrorist attacks, we must still remain vigilant.

“They usually target congested but we must not overlook less dense areas such as grocery stores, super markets, wet market and even our night markets,” Paneir Selvam stated.

The academic noted that political instability and economic downturn affecting Malaysia could “re-energise” terror networks to initiate attacks on the populace.

Therefore, Paneir Selvam stressed that the security agencies must look into protecting locals as well, despite the advisory was given exclusively to Japanese nationals.

“Don’t underestimate the re-emergence of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and the morale boost it provides to terrorists across the world.

“Though he was presumed dead, Ayman appeared in a video on the 20th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks, distributed by al-Qaeda’s media arm, As-Sahab.

“Though he didn’t speak of current events, never ignore its significance and how other terrorists will be inspired to carry out attacks,” he mentioned.

Panier Selvam deduced that it was not a coincidence that the Japanese authorities issued the travel advisory, following the rise of Taliban and Ayman’s video being made viral by his sympathisers.

“The intelligence and security network must have sensed something. Although our Special Branch’s capability to deal with terror-related matters in Malaysia is impressive, they should not be overconfident.

“And because these security officers are putting their lives on the line for us, we should also be their ‘eyes and ears’ by providing any information we have if something was found amiss,” he remarked. – Sept 14, 2021.

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