Malaysia steps up anti-terror fight

Updated 02 February 2019

Malaysia steps up anti-terror fight

  • Defense blueprint to counter rising extremist, cybersecurity threat
  • The defense plan is expected to be tabled in Parliament in July.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is preparing to bolster its national security and counter-terrorism policies under a defense “white paper” unveiled by the government.

The 10-year program will provide a blueprint for Malaysia’s overall defense and security planning, Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu said this week.

The white paper — Malaysia’s first major defense policy shift since 2010 — follows a rise in militant terror attacks in the region and a growing cybersecurity threat.

Farlina Said, a senior analyst at Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies, told Arab News the defense white paper will “serve as a confidence-building measure, particularly among Malaysia’s partners.”

Announcing the white paper, Sabu said: “We have to be strategic in terms of what is needed.” 

The defense plan is expected to be tabled in Parliament in July. 

Prof. James Chin, a political expert on Malaysia based in Australia, said the white paper is part of the Pakatan Harapan government’s promise to promote transparency.

The previous Barisan National government tarnished the Defense Ministry’s reputation with allegations of massive spending and corruption, he said.

“There are big problems with transparency.” 

On Tuesday, the defense minister chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the white paper with 75 ministers and high-level officers, including Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, and Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

Terrorism, cybersecurity threats, and defense acquisition and budgets were among high-priority subjects discussed at the meeting.

Said warned that terrorism, cybersecurity threats, and defense acquisition and budgets were among high-priority subjects discussed at the meeting.

Threats of terrorism are not only domestic but also widespread throughout the region via extremist networks, she said.

“Addressing both these issues goes beyond the military.”


Stena Impero owner met Iran’s Zarif to urge release of UK-flagged ship

Updated 21 August 2019

Stena Impero owner met Iran’s Zarif to urge release of UK-flagged ship

  • Tanker was detained by Tehran on July 19
  • Erik Hanell, chief executive of Stena Bulk, met Zarif in Stockholm

LONDON: The owner of a British-flagged tanker detained in Iran has met the country’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to make the case for the ship and its crew to be released.

Erik Hanell, chief executive of Stena Bulk, met Zarif in Stockholm on Aug. 20 to ask for the Stena Impero to be released.

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READ MORE: Iran threatens ‘less secure’ shipping lanes if US halts oil exports

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It was detained by Tehran on July 19, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That ship was released this week.

“A constructive dialogue was had and we shared information around the case,” Hanell said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It was important for us to emphasize the importance of the release of the 23 crew ... Also for the release of the Swedish owned vessel Stena Impero.