Police are monitoring the recruitment of militants in local tertiary institutions, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a week after police revealed they were hunting down a Universiti Malaya (UM) lecturer for suspected militant activities.
According to The Star, the home minister confirmed foreigners were using colleges and universities to recruit and indoctrinate potential militants.
"Traditional means of recruitment like talent-spotting are also still being used while indoctrination is done through religious gatherings and usrah," Zahid was quoted as saying.
He said the Special Branch Counter-Terrorism division was collaborating with other intelligence agencies to identify the militants through their student visas and work permits.
“We are facing a new trend of terrorism with the use of modern technology and renewed calls for jihad by international terrorist groups,” he added.
He said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) was attracting local youths towards "jihad" with the promise of rewards in the afterlife.
Zahid said the militants used chat forums and social media to target youths.
He revealed that the Home Ministry had deported 67 foreigners suspected of being involved in militant activities in Malaysia and overseas since 2009.
According to The Star, members of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were among those deported.
Zahid said most of them operated undercover as students in tertiary institutions, but added that some worked in local industries and business circles.
He said the ministry had carried out initiatives to prevent these people from entering the country such as the Advanced Passengers Screening System and the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System.
“We are also working with the Education Ministry and other departments on this,” Zahid was quoted as saying.
“We have arrested 16 people under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) since it was gazetted in 2012. Currently, six are facing militant charges.”
On July 2, police revealed that Dr Mahmud Ahmad, a senior lecturer with UM's Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought, the Academy of Islamic Studies, was among five individuals wanted for militant activities.
Intelligence sources told The Malaysian Insider that Mahmud, who was a lecturer at a private university before he joined UM, had used his position as an academic to lure students into militant activities.
A graduate of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan, Mahmud has been identified as the person who recruited the first Malaysian suicide bomber Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki.
He is also planning a series of kidnappings of Malaysian students who had left his militant cell. These students are now deemed "hostile" and need to be "silenced" as they know the workings of Mahmud and his militant cell.
“He is not only recruiting Malaysians to fight alongside Isil but has also planned to kidnap former students who left the cell because they know a lot about the activities of the militants," said a source. – July 12, 2014.