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TAIPING, Sept 28, 2014:

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS, formerly ISIS) has triggered a new phenomenon when it not only recruited members from Islamic countries, but also western countries, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said threats from the militant group currently affected the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

However, he said Malaysia viewed seriously the spread of militancy to prevent the country from becoming a centre for the recruitment of new IS members.

He was commenting on a report in an English daily yesterday that France had issued a travel advisory urging its citizens to be vigilant in several countries including Malaysia over fears of a threat from militants from the Islamic State.

Hishammuddin said the countries concerned should take similar measures in their own countries given that the threat could affect western countries. “So if they want to give an advisory about Malaysia, I think the same applies to their own countries.”

According to him, he would discuss with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the appropriate allocation that would be channelled to Sabah and Sarawak to increase the security level in both states.

“In the context of a military threat, I can give you an assurance that there is no immediate military concerns, but we will not take it lightly. It is something we work very closely with intelligence agencies in the region and internationally.”

He said this was because the movement of the people, money and arms in this globalised world had a direct impact on security and defence.

From last April until Sept 21, 19 Malaysians have been arrested on suspicion of being involved with IS and believed to have been recruited by four militant cells (Khaed Al Waled, Bridged Al Jemaah, Daulah Islamiyah and Arakan Daulah Islamiyah Arakan) before being sent to Syria.

Meanwhile, yesterday three more Malaysians were arrested at the KL International Airport on suspicion of planning to depart to Syria to take part in the IS struggle, bringing the total number arrested to date to 22.

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