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IS is a real threat to the country: Malaysian PM

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Islamic State (IS) is a ‘very real’ threat to the country and that the laws are crucial to ensure Malaysia is not open to infiltration. Opening a two-day international counter-terrorism conference, Najib said he will not apologise for taking steps to preserve national security. PM also said, “There are no civil liberties under Daesh (Daesh is the term used by some to refer to the Islamic State group) and there are no shields against those who are set on committing acts of terrorism. The best way to uphold civil liberties is to ensure the safety of the nation”.

PM said digital media has emerged as the new frontier in the anti-terror war to counter the “seductive approaches of the militants” and their lies about Islam. Human rights activists have slammed a law implemented last year that revives detention without trial. Critics also voiced fears that another law approved last month that gives sweeping powers to a council led by the prime minister could be a step toward dictatorship.

Police earlier said the Islamic State group had posted a video that warns of attacks over the arrest of its members. Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, who heads the national police counter-terrorism unit, said on the sidelines of the conference that the video carried the Islamic State logo and featured two Malaysians based in Syria. He said there were previous videos with similar warnings before but this was the first video with a logo of the militant group.

On Sunday, police said they had detained seven men suspected of being an Islamic State militant cell that was plotting attacks. The seven Malaysians were detained in several states over three days after the January 15 detention of a man police said was planning a suicide attack in Kuala Lumpur. Police also seized bullets, jihad books and Islamic State flags and videos. Malaysia raised its security alert level following the Jan. 14 attacks in neighbouring Indonesia that left seven people dead.

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