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.”


Scientists discover big storms can create ‘stormquakes’

Updated 17 October 2019

Scientists discover big storms can create ‘stormquakes’

  • Shaking of sea floor during hurricanes and nor’easters can rumble like a magnitude 3.5 earthquake and can last for days
  • But a stormquake is more an oddity than something that can hurt you, says seismologist
WASHINGTON: Scientists have discovered a mash-up of two feared disasters — hurricanes and earthquakes — and they’re calling them “stormquakes.”
The shaking of the sea floor during hurricanes and nor’easters can rumble like a magnitude 3.5 earthquake and can last for days, according to a study in this week’s journal Geophysical Research Letters. The quakes are fairly common, but they weren’t noticed before because they were considered seismic background noise.
A stormquake is more an oddity than something that can hurt you, because no one is standing on the sea floor during a hurricane, said Wenyuan Fan, a Florida State University seismologist who was the study’s lead author.
The combination of two frightening natural phenomena might bring to mind “Sharknado ,” but stormquakes are real and not dangerous.
“This is the last thing you need to worry about,” Fan told The Associated Press.
Storms trigger giant waves in the sea, which cause another type of wave. These secondary waves then interact with the seafloor — but only in certain places — and that causes the shaking, Fan said. It only happens in places where there’s a large continental shelf and shallow flat land.
Fan’s team found 14,077 stormquakes between September 2006 and February 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico and off Florida, New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and British Columbia. A special type of military sensor is needed to spot them, Fan said.
Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Hurricane Irene in 2011 set off lots of stormquakes, the study said.
The shaking is a type that creates a wave that seismologists don’t normally look for when monitoring earthquakes, so that’s why these have gone unnoticed until now, Fan said.
Ocean-generated seismic waves show up on US Geological Survey instruments, “but in our mission of looking for earthquakes these waves are considered background noise,” USGS seismologist Paul Earle said.pport from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.