MALAYSIA’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Thursday that a bombing on the scale of that in Manchester, UK could happen in Southeast Asia.
Ahmad pointed to recent attacks by violent extremists in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, which he said were motivated by the reported death of Malaysian Islamic State militant leader Muhammad Wanndy Jedi in Syria.
“The recent bombing in Manchester could happen in this region,” said Ahmad as quoted by New Straits Times. “The police and [the] counter terrorism department are on high alert following the attacks in Manchester and Jakarta. Plainclothes officers are patrolling several hotspots.”
On Monday, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 64 when he detonated explosives at an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester Arena attended by thousands of children and teenagers.
This week has also seen a series of violent attacks in Southeast Asia – most recently when two suicide bombers killed three police officers and injured at least ten people in Jakarta last night. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has vowed to “clobber” those who threaten the Indonesian state.
The Philippines meanwhile implemented martial law in Mindanao province after violence broke out between the Islamic State-affiliated Maute group and security forces in Marawi City.
“The government must put an end to this. I cannot gamble with IS because they are everywhere,” said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who warned he would be “tough” and would potentially impose martial law for up to a year.
On Monday, a bomb blast went off at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok on the third anniversary of a military coup, wounding 24 people. It followed a recent car bomb attack in Pattani near the Malaysian border which wounded 61.
On Thursday, Malaysian PM Najib Razak took to Twitter to express his condolences and solidarity with the people of Jakarta on behalf of Malaysia.
Disgusted by last night's attack in Jakarta. M'sians stand w/ the Indonesian ppl at this time.Terrorism has no borders,knws no race or creed
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) May 25, 2017
“Even as terrorists try to intimidate us, we mustn’t fear them. Each atrocity must harden our resolve. Now more than ever is the time to be united,” he added.
By desperate crimes, terrorism seeks to influence tolerance in countries of coexistence & peace; relying on fomenting confrontation & divid.
— اعتدال | ETIDAL (@etidalorg) May 24, 2017
Both Jokowi and Najib have just returned from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to attend a summit of Muslim leaders and President Donald Trump on countering terrorism globally.
The Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology was also inaugurated during the event.