Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in an interview with The Australian has brought to light the concern of Indonesian and Malaysian terrorists fighting in Syria for radical Islamist groups.
He states: ‘the problem is very serious. Look at Malaysia; they are not just talking about random individuals going. You repeatedly have people from the military. They have just arrested two commandos; they had nearly a dozen military personnel earlier. You really do not want to be training guys like these.’
And when quizzed about Indonesia he continues: ‘On the Indonesian side it is also very serious because a few hundred is a small proportion, but it is a big enough number to cause you a lot of trouble,’ Mr Lee said in an from his Istana office in the heart of Singapore.
‘Also, there are parts of Indonesia which are remote from centres of government, like Poso, and if they set up a little base camp there and call that ISIS in Southeast Asia or some such title then that is another focal point which can attract activists to go to as a kind of Mecca.’
Lee highlighted the ineffectiveness of the Indonesian prison system in stemming radicalism:
‘Even while in jail they can do spectacular things such as hold press conferences and certain ceremonies to pledge allegiance to ISIS, which (Jemaah Islamiah leader) Abu Bakar Bashir did, complete with group photograph.’
The Straits Times reported on Sunday that Malaysian militants on the run and in hiding in the southern Philippines were planning to form an official Southeast Asian faction of Islamic State bringing terrorist groups from The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia together.
P. Antonopoulos is currently a Candidate for an MA Degree, writing his dissertation on the Saudi-Iranian Geopolitical Rivalry in the Syrian War.
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