Following reports that an Islamic State (IS) presence has been detected in Malaysia, local law enforcement and officials have urged the public to not panic, and announced that the group’s media platform was now being closely monitored.
Over recent years, the threat of IS (formerly known as ISIS and ISIL) has been significantly reduced since it suffered a major military defeat in Iraq and Syria by a U.S.-led coalition.
Since then, millions of followers have left the group and its influence has waned greatly, although the group has continued its attempt to reestablish itself in several countries around the world through small cells of loyalists. Incidentally, Malaysia has so happened to become one of these countries.
On February 5, 2023, local news outlet The Vibes reported the establishment of a media presence by IS in Malaysia known as the Al Malaka Media Center, which has been dubbed a radical politically-driven organization linked to other IS media outlets in Indonesia and the Philippines.
According to the Nordic Counter-Terrorism Network’s (NCTN) Cyber Counter-Terrorism Division — which first highlighted the group’s presence, Al Malaka’s content can be accessed on the dark web.
So far one concerning Al Malaka media release highlighted by NCTCN depicted the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur adorned by IS flags at the very top of the building, with a fighter jet in the sky accompanied by Malay text that read “Hari Penaklukan Segera Tiba” (the day of conquering is coming).
While NCTN has considered Al Malaka to be a threat to Malaysia’s national security and a potential cause for indiscriminate small-scale violence in the country, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution has reassured Malaysians that the group was already being monitored.
“We cannot divulge more details, but the public need not be worried as we are monitoring their activities with the cooperation of our international security and counter-terrorism partners,” he said.