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  • KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY YAB DATUK SERI DR. AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI,DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, MALAYSIA AT THE 3RD COUNTER-TERRORISM FINANCING SUMMIT (CTF SUMMIT)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY YAB DATUK SERI DR. AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI,DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, MALAYSIA AT THE 3RD COUNTER-TERRORISM FINANCING SUMMIT (CTF SUMMIT)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY

YAB DATUK SERI DR. AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI,

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, MALAYSIA

AT THE

3RD COUNTER-TERRORISM FINANCING SUMMIT (CTF SUMMIT)

DATE: 

22ND NOVEMBER 2017 (WEDNESDAY)

VENUE:

AUDITORIUM, SASANA KIJANG, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

THEME:

POWERING REGIONAL SOLUTIONS THROUGH STRENGTHENED ALLIANCES AND INNOVATIONS

  

YANG BERBAHAGIA GOVERNOR MUHAMMAD BIN IBRAHIM

Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia

THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL KEENAN

Minister for Justice, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter- Terrorism, Australia

HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WIRANTO

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Indonesia

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

      It is my distinct honour and pleasure to be invited to deliver this Keynote Address at the 3rd Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Allow me first to congratulate Bank Negara Malaysia, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan Indonesia for the excellent efforts in organising this Summit. More importantly, congratulations on conceptualising the substantive programme and agenda for the Summit.

 

      I would also like to extend a warm welcome to all delegates who come from 35 countries spanning the seven continents, and from international organisations - I wish you “Selamat Datang” and “Welcome” to Malaysia. I hope the past two days attending the Innovation Forum and Industry Alliance Forum have been productive and have enlightened you on available cutting-edge solutions in line with our continuous efforts to prevent and combat terrorism financing. I strongly urge all delegates to use this Summit as a bridging platform to fortify networks and alliances among the participating countries and with international organisations, and also to facilitate cross-sector collaboration.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

     Let me begin by stating that perhaps it is true that your enemy can be your best teacher. Why do I say this? It is because I believe there are three key lessons that can be drawn from terrorist operations in the conflict areas:

a) First, terrorists comprise multi-nationalities who are collaborative and united.

b) Second, they effectively use technology. This is seen through their effective online presence in radicalising and recruiting new followers to pursue their terrorism agenda and gaining sympathisers to provide them with funds and other forms of support; and

c) Lastly, they are well-financed.

 

      It has been a long-held belief of States and international organisations like the Financial Action Task Force that a pre-requisite for effectively countering terrorism is to tackle the financing of all activities carried out for terrorist purposes. If you kill one terrorist, another terrorist will be born. But if you cut off the funds and other economic resources, you can put an end to the entire operation. On this note, I find that the theme of the 3rd Regional Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit this year, that is, “Powering Regional Solutions through Strengthened Alliances and Innovations” aptly captures the three lessons I highlighted earlier that should be embedded in global counter-terrorism financing strategies.

 

      The cornerstone of robust counter-terrorism financing strategies is political will and commitment. This must be achieved in concert at the domestic and regional level in view of the transnational nature of international terrorism. The strategies must also be translated into an effective and comprehensive domestic legal framework as well as other domestic and regional measures.

 

     Malaysia has been consistent and serious in the pursuit to strengthen its domestic legal framework and policies to keep up with the emerging risks and trends in terrorism financing. This is demonstrated through the amendment and enactment of various laws related to terrorism and terrorism financing over the past few years. This includes amendments to the Penal Code, the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, as well as the enactment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015 (SMATA). The amendment of AMLA for example, has resulted in the freezing of funds related to terrorists of more than RM1 million. Similarly, these laws have provided a significant foundation to our law enforcement authorities in the investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing, resulting in the arrest of more than 300 terrorists which consist of Malaysians as well as foreign nationals.

 

      Next, since the motivation to commit a terrorist act and the act of collecting and channelling funds to terrorists are similar, the importance of re-educating, rehabilitating and neutralising terrorists and sympathisers’ motivations cannot be over-emphasised. For this reason, in addition to criminal justice measures, Malaysia has greatly stressed on the importance of the ‘soft approach’ in combating terrorism and terrorism financing activities, which emphasises on the aspect of prevention and rehabilitation. This is operationalised through the Integrated De-radicalisation Module for Terrorists which is jointly administered by various agencies, including the Royal Malaysia Police and the Department of Prisons. I am delighted to announce that of the total 289 terrorists who underwent the de-radicalisation module from 2001 to 2012, the success rate is 97% where 282 individuals were disengaged from terrorist activities.

 

      At the same time, preventing movement of terrorists, especially across borders, is equally significant. Malaysia’s strategic geographical location and long sea borders have made it attractive as planning and transit site for terrorists. As such, border control has been strengthened through an integrated approach involving multidiscipline enforcement agencies and enhancement of immigration-related mechanisms such as the Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS) and enhanced security features on international travel documents. It is hoped that effective implementation of these measures will deter the use of Malaysia as a transit point and safe haven for terrorists and their supporters.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

      We recognise the advanced and inventive ways employed by terrorists to reach out to the wider global audience to achieve their agenda, including raising funds. This includes abusing non-profit organisations (NPOs) for terrorism financing. It is definitely disheartening to see an establishment which is meant for benevolent acts towards the underprivileged segment of society being manipulated by terrorists to fund fear and suffering.

 

       In view of this abuse, I am very proud with the proactive initiatives and steadfast alliances of the countries in this region under the leadership of the financial intelligence units (FIUs) of Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, in embarking on the ground-breaking Regional Risk Assessment on Terrorism Financing and NPOs, following the success of last year’s first-ever Terrorism Financing Regional Risk Assessment. The continuation of these successful collaborations symbolises unwavering support and commitment by all regional partners to identify the sub-sets or vulnerable characteristics of NPOs to better mitigate abuse of NPOs for terrorism financing without chocking the funding or disrupting the operation of legitimate NPOs. Well done to the participating countries! I am sure it will definitely lead to better TF risk management within the NPO sector and the provision of better governance and outreach to NPOs domestically and across the region.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

      The next point I would like to strongly emphasise is the necessity for all regional partners to persevere and surpass the inventiveness and advancement of terrorists and their sympathisers in their modus operandi in collecting and remitting terrorist funds through the internet and social media. Malaysia realises that terrorists are excellent at crafting convincing false stories and empty rhetoric in the name of jihad and religion, circulating this propaganda to various vulnerable sectors of society. This is why the internet and social media have become the perfect platform to radicalise and recruit more individuals to their cause and to call for sympathisers to feed those funds and provide other forms of support.

 

     To overcome the misuse of the internet and social media, Malaysia has taken steps to ensure that we are at the forefront to counter such fallacious statements online. Malaysia has established the Counter-Messaging Centre to monitor social media content as well as to counter terrorist narrative and rhetoric. Spearheaded by the Royal Malaysia Police, this Centre applies the MICE concept - that is, Monitoring, Investigating, Countering, and Executing Action. It is aimed at curbing the spread of terrorist ideology to Malaysian society, in particular our impressionable and naive youth as well as disenfranchised individuals.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

      Before I end my Address, I would like to reiterate Malaysia’s commitment in supporting regional efforts in fighting terrorism and terrorism financing in three main areas:

a) Firstly, on sharing of information and joint enforcement actions in relation to terrorism and terrorism financing;

b) Secondly, on sharing our expertise and experience in countering terrorism and terrorism financing, specifically in relation to the Integrated De-radicalisation Module for Terrorist and the Counter-Messaging Centre which are among key initiatives that have proven effective; and

c) Lastly, we welcome regional and international partners to submit nominations of individuals, groups and organisations who pose a threat of, and are involved in, terrorism and terrorism financing at the regional level for our consideration to be designated under Malaysia’s domestic terrorists list and be subjected to asset freezing measures under Malaysian law.

 

      I cannot emphasise enough the importance of political will, collaboration among the domestic and international law enforcement agencies, regulators, policy makers and the private sector to accomplish our common goal to prevent and disrupt terrorists from abusing our financial systems, as well as legitimate vehicles and platforms such as non-profit organisations, the internet and social media, for any terrorist purpose, in particular radicalisation, recruitment and fund raising.

 

     On that note, ladies and gentlemen, I am confident that this Summit will provide an effective platform for productive and mutually beneficial discussions and operational outcomes. I wish you fruitful discussions to that end. Let me conclude by quoting Henry Ford who said – “Coming together is a beginning, Staying together is a progress, and Working together is a success.”

 

Terima kasih.