With the growing physical threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS, especially after the Paris bombings and shootings, all governments are tightening their security measures. No one wants to be the next vulnerable target for the world’s most feared terrorist group.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, ISIS has announced several other cities and nations which are their top targets. Malaysia, for instance, has been rumoured to be targeted by the ISIS group.
This week, I caught up with Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim, Deputy Director (Operations), Royal Malaysian Police, to discuss what his reactions are after the Paris terror attack and how he plans to step up police activity within Malaysia.
Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim, Deputy Director (Operations), and former Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chief of Inspector General of Police’s Secretariat (Research & Development) at Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters, has been in the Royal Malaysia Police for over 29 years.
He received the Geospatial World Excellence Award 2014 by the Inspector General of Police in May 2014. He specialises in Geo-spatial, Urban Planning/Design, Risk Management, Administration, ICT & Technology and Human Resources & Development.
Following the devastating Paris Terror Attacks, rumours went around that ISIS followers were forming groups in Malaysia and Indonesia. Yet, these groups quite possibly have been active in the region for quite a long time.
Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim relayed that technology is key to protecting our future from these terrorist groups. “As we are going to need extra manpower in the police force, there may not be immediate fixes but technology will be one of the greatest assistants to fill this gap,” Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim stated.
This is where geospatial tools, intelligence sharing, and proactive response comes into play. Geospatial tools, including mapping, satellite imagery, GPS, various analyses, community mapping, and big data analytics, are especially useful in preparing a solid defense. “GIS is the most important tool, because you can’t run away from it. This intelligence provides us with greater capabilities to pursue threats,” Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim noted.
We begin to discuss detection and what response the police force will take once they identify threats. “Data encryption, concealing measures, and other tactics are being used by the forces of ISIS in France,” said Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim, “We are very lucky because the police seem to detect, manage, and trace active members of the Islamic State groups, at an early phase.”
From this evidence, Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim emphasises that action must be taken. This action will happen at the earliest stage, when these individuals are associated with ISIS or any other malicious group.
It is not fair to say if action was taken that the attacks would not have taken place. But it could have led governments to new intelligence on ISIS activities. On this note, Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim agreed that when a threat is identified that there is no question to bring them in to authorities.
This proactive response is necessary because as we learned this past week, one of the suspects from the Paris attacks had been flagged as a potential threat due to his relation to the terrorist group.
Over the past three to four years, the Royal Malaysian Police has been stepping up security measures to defend the country against terrorist organisations. After the Paris attacks, they will continue their counter-terrorism initiatives and proactive response tactics. To help protect a nation, Dato’ Zainal Abidin Bin Kasim will work to further integrate ICT tools which will improve their defense efforts.