Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Malaysian PM defends strict security laws to fight terrorism

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2016 | 1:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR (AP):

Malaysia's leader yesterday defended the country's strict security laws, saying they are needed to fight terrorism as the Islamic State group warned of revenge over a crackdown on its members.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the terrorism threat is "very real" and that the laws are crucial to ensure Malaysia is not open to infiltration. Opening a two-day international counter-terrorism conference, Najib said he will not apologize for taking steps to preserve national security.

"There are no civil liberties under Daesh and there are no shields against those who are set on committing acts of terrorism. The best way to uphold civil liberties is to ensure the safety of the nation," Najib said.

Daesh is the term used by some to refer to the Islamic State group.

Human rights activists have slammed a law implemented last year that revives detention without trial. Critics also voiced fears that another law approved last month that gives sweeping powers to a council led by the prime minister could be a step toward dictatorship.

Police earlier said the Islamic State group had posted a video that warns of attacks over the arrest of its members.