Malaysian authorities have arrested 519 people suspected of being involved in terrorism, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said. He did not give a breakdown but said they comprised Malaysians as well as foreigners who were detained as of July 31.

“These people were found to have been involved in activities that we consider as terrorism in the context of the criminal laws and the effect [of these activities] is that they carry threats.

“They were detained under the enforcement of existing laws, regardless of whether it is the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 or Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma),” he said, at the sidelines of the International Seminar on Religious Values in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) on Monday.

Muhyiddin said police records showed that some of the people had been convicted and some were still in custody.

He said 266 social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had also been taken down.

Malaysia, he said, was still developing its own National Action Plan (NAP) to combat the issue of extremism. “It is an initiative introduced by the UN Development Programme for all UN state members to combat global terrorism at any level or form.

“Within the NAP, there is a need to take a more comprehensive approach which encompasses not only ongoing, essential security-based counter-terrorism measures, but also systematic preventive measures which directly address the drivers of violent extremism,” he said.

Muhyiddin said as of last year, two countries in Southeast Asia had produced NAPs – Indonesia and the Philippines. The Star