Malaysia to Set Up Special Court For Militants

BenarNews Staff
151216-MY-MAHKAMAH620.jpg A motorist rides past by the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Sept. 9, 2008.

Malaysia is to set up a special court to try suspected members of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups, in a move to speed up the hearing of such cases by specially trained judges, officials said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the establishment of the court at the weekend when closing his UMNO party’s annual meeting where he expressed concern at the threat posed by IS.

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday that five specially trained judges would be appointed to preside over such cases.

At least 130 people with suspected links to IS activities in Iraq and Syria have been arrested in Malaysia so far, authorities have said.

"We have dedicated judges to hear IS matters as the government thinks it is a serious threat to the country,” Arifin was quoted by the national news agency Bernama as saying.

He said that there had been delay in hearing trials involving security issues because of the huge number of witnesses involved.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the establishment of a special court would make the judicial process more transparent.

The threat from IS is real and is spreading throughout the country, he added.

"If we do not take proactive measures and prevention, they will be able to evade monitoring by authorities, and may become a threat to national security,” he said.

"The matter has been discussed at the National Security Council, that such a court would help to curb the militant group and speed up the trial process," he explained.

56 teachings

Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay, the assistant director of the counterterrorism division of the Royal Malaysia Police, said that the establishment of the court is timely.

"The plan proves that the government is serious and implements measures from time to time to curb extremist elements, thereby maintaining the safety and sovereignty of the country," he said, as reported by the Sinar Harian newspaper.

Meanwhile, Second Deputy Home Minister Masit Kujat said that 56 deviant religious teachings with the potential to threaten national security were being monitored by police in cooperation with religious authorities.

He said the police had no authority to determine whether a teaching is deviant or not because such judgments are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (Jakim) and religious authorities in the country.

"Police can only assess the threat level posed by groups and whether they have the potential to threaten public order or not," he said during a question and answer session at the National Assembly, as reported by Bernama.

That could happen when wrong teachings are put in practice, he said.

"For example, by attacking or destroying places of worship of other religions, calling themselves soldiers of  Allah and permitting the killing of fellow Muslims," he said.

Masit said that various agencies such as Jakim and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission must cooperate with local authorities to curb heresy before it gets worse.


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