One of the assumptions that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic is that the pandemic has deterred violent extremist groups from pursuing their sinister agenda. This assumption is false. Even as human activities, mobility and interaction have been limited to a certain degree, there is evidence to suggest that violent extremist groups in certain countries remain active, if not exploiting new opportunities bestowed by the pandemic to further their aspiration and objectives. Like many other countries, Malaysia may be compelled to refocus the resources available to security forces – including those involved in counter-terrorism/counter violence extremism (CT/CVE) – in view of the immediate priorities presented by the pandemic. This policy brief attempts to look at some developments in the terrorism landscape during the pandemic period, which should be within Malaysia’s security radar, while also charting some policy options to avert any unintended consequences.
Muhammad Sinatra is an Analyst in Foreign Policy and Security Studies division at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. He graduated with a BHSc (Political Science) from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and obtained his MSc (Strategic Studies) from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. During his master's degree, he worked on a dissertation entitled “A Shift in Perspective: The Fallacy of Indonesia-Malaysia 2009 Conflict”. His research interests include Malaysia-Indonesia relations and Prevention/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in Southeast Asia. He has written for such publications as East Asia Forum Quarterly, New Straits Times, The Jakarta Post and The Diplomat. He has also been quoted by South China Morning Post, Al-Jazeera and Arab News. Sinatra is an avid reader and an aspiring photographer, aiming to capture all of Indonesia's magical fantasies one day.
By: Muhammad Sinatra
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