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Don't make KL the next Jakarta

  • They often argue that ordinary preventive laws should be enough to deal with the terrorists. In their eyes, IS fighters with bombs tied to their bodies are not much different from snatch thieves on motorbikes. Photo courtesy: AFP

By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

Not everyone would believe that IS is a threat, including many Muslims and some non-Muslims in the country.

Whenever the authorities issue certain warnings on imminent IS activities such as possible assaults against government leaders or the fabled gourmet paradise Jalan Alor, some politicians would instantly jump out and claim, "This is a political tactic trying to avert public attention."

When the media are reminding Malaysians of possible IS threats, some self-proclaimed pundits would beg to differ: "They're just trying to blow up the issue with some unknown agenda."

There is a fair share of IS sympathizers in their midst, thinking that the fanatic jihadists are "doing justice for the Almighty".

And that it is absolutely necessary to carry out heinous acts: beheadings, life burning, suicide bombings and blowing up historical sites, no matter how sinful these might sound, all for the sake of their noble aspiration to carry out their sacred mission.

Any law trying to control terrorism and preserve public security is deemed dracnonian targeting not real terrorists but dissidents in the country. These people often fail to understand the actual targets and confines of the laws and are most reluctant to admit the absolute necessity to tackle the terrorists with the laws.

They often argue that ordinary preventive laws should be enough to deal with the terrorists.

In their eyes, IS fighters with bombs tied to their bodies are not much different from snatch thieves on motorbikes.

They used to claim, "Indonesia does not need any anti-terrorism act, and without a national security council bill, the country has not seen any IS attack."

A country seen as least likely IS target came under assault yesterday, and is possibly the first IS attack in Southeast Asia.

Why Jakarta? Why not Kuala Lumpur (touch wood)?

This whole thing has not occurred by mere coincidence.

The lax laws and inadequate enforcement in the republic make it a convenient target of terrorists. Radical religious organizations are allowed to carry out their activities openly and aggressive activists are permitted to openly promote their extremist ideologies, not to mention the facts that quasi-terrorist outfits are able to set up training bases in the country while perpetrators attacking houses of worship of other religions are largely condoned.

From Megawati Sukarnoputri to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and now Joko Widodo, the country has been very tolerant towards religious controversies and threats in a bid to secure the support of conservative religious parties and organizations.

I believe majority of Indonesian Muslims are moderate. Of course, the republic's religious policies have been largely successful in preserving the relatively peaceful and harmonious environment of the vast archipelago.

But, such peace and harmony are being depleted slowly, especially under the influence of IS. Without firmer and more effective legal and administrative determination, it would be very difficult to deal with such an enormous challenge.

By comparison, I feel that it is right and essential for the Malaysian government to enact stringent laws to prevent and tackle IS threats as well as religious extremism.

The information-collecting and response capabilities of the Malaysian police should be given due recognition, or KL could have become IS' first target in the region, not Jakarta.

 

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