KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia >> Malaysian university students are being exposed to radical ideology — including Islamist extremism and Tamil separatism — although there is no immediate threat of it turning into terrorism, the country’s home minister said.
Hishammuddin Hussein said Wednesday that authorities, with help from foreign and local intelligence reports, were monitoring those who sought to spread militant ideas on campuses and elsewhere. His comments were reported Thursday by the Malaysian media.
“It is under control as it does not affect the country’s security nor pose an immediate threat, although we cannot be nonchalant about it,” the New Straits Times daily quoted him as saying.
An aide, who declined to be named citing protocol, confirmed the comments. Hishammuddin said militants seeking to recruit from schools included Islamist groups, Sikh militants and Sri Lanka-based Tamil Tiger separatists.
“If (certain ideologies) create fear about militancy or violence, then we will take action without hesitation,” official news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.
Malaysia arrested more than a dozen people last year on allegations they were involved in terrorist activities. Those held included a Syrian university lecturer and a Malaysian suspected of trying to recruit students.
The Malaysian, arrested in July, is accused of persuading students at various Malaysian universities to join regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah. Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for attacks in Southeast Asia including the 2002 bombings on Indonesia’s Bali island.
All were arrested under a strict security law that allows for detention without trial. Most of the foreigners have been deported.