Should Malaysia close bars and clubs to counter terrorism? Expert differs

A top counter-terrorism official in Malaysia told that there is no need to avoid bars and clubs as police is there in the country to tackle the security issues

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A view of Kuala Lumpur skyline in Malaysia February. Reuters

Malaysia is one of the top tourist destinations in the world as the country is blessed with some top-rated tourist sites including, Malacca City, Marina Island, Port Dickson, Cameron Highlands, and this list goes on. The country also has a large number of bars and clubs which makes Malaysia the perfect hub for partygoers.

Recently many intelligence reports warned that some terrorist organizations are aiming to destabilize the peace in the country by targetting the normal life of non-muslims.

Should Malaysia close bars and clubs?

In the midst of these warnings, many people said that closing bars and clubs is one of the best ways by which terrorism can be combated in the country. Now, a top counter-terrorism official has opened up on this issue saying that there is no need of closing down bars and clubs to maintain peace in the nation. According to the top official, bars, discos, and entertainment outlets have been there in Malaysia since Independence without posing any problem.

Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the federal police's Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division Assistant Director, told Channel News Asia that police is there to tackle any kind of security issues which prevail in the country and there is no need of restricting the operations of bars and clubs.

Ayob Khan also told Channel News Asia that terrorists have been targeting entertainment outlets for years, but the Police force in Malaysia has managed to disrupt all their plans.

The need for communal harmony in the nation

Islamic terrorist organizations like ISIS consider Malaysia their hottest hub to expand their militant operations, but Malaysian law enforcing authorities have successfully prevented many possible terror attacks which were set to shook the nation, as experience showed.

According to Malaysian Police, more than 19 terrorist attacks have been prevented from hitting the country as a part of the investigation, and the agencies have nabbed more than 340 people.

It was in 2016 that the first Islamic State-linked attack happened on the Malaysian soil when a Puchong bar was attacked with a hand grenade. The attack injured eight people, while no mortalities are reported.

According to Ayob Khan, the primary aim of ISIS is to destabilize the communal harmony between people who believe in different religions. Ayob added that terrorist organizations like ISIS usually attack a non-muslim and a Muslim place of worship, which will result in tensions in the community.

The Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division Assistant Director made it clear that ISIS targets both non-muslims and Muslims who are not seen practising the Islamic way of life approved by Salafi Jihadists.