Fifty-three Malaysians currently in the Middle East have had their passports revoked because they are suspected of involvement with the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun, who disclosed this to FMT, said the 53 included women and children.
“All countries surrounding Iraq and Syria are cooperating with us,” he said. “If they cross the borders and get caught, we’ll know it from our security counterparts in those countries.”
US-based think tank Soufan Centre said in its latest report that at least 5,600 supporters of the Islamic State (IS) terror group had returned to their home countries.
The same report said 91 Malaysians, including 12 women and 17 children, had gone on to join IS in Iraq and Syria.
Philippines defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday that his government had received a “long list of names” of Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos who might return home from the Middle East now that IS was losing territory to forces of a coalition led by the United States.
Philippine media quoted Lorenzana as saying that the list was given in a message from the Philippine embassy in Baghdad.
He was speaking during a press conference held as a sideline of the annual meeting of Asean defence chiefs in Manila.
Speaking at the same event, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said her country would help Asean countries keep track of returning militants who had fought for the IS group in Iraq and Syria.
“They are battle-trained, they are battle-hardened, they are extremists of the highest order who have been prepared to do the most appalling things using civilians as human shields, using civilians as collateral in their efforts to try and pursue their perverted ideology,” Payne said.