Terrorism has hit many capitals in the world, not least London, Istanbul, Moscow, Beijing, Paris, Boston, and New York, to name a few. But as these cities tightened their securities, radical religious extremism has always found a way to the periphery of the vulnerable countries.
Within the context of Southeast Asia, we have seen such terrorism rearing its head in Malawi, Mindanao, and indeed, Surabaya, Indonesia.
The terrorism in Surabaya was unprecedented too: children from two families who knew each other through their Quranic classes, volunteered to blow themselves into smithereens.
If young kids, though one survived, can be deployed as human bombs in places of religious worships, what Robert Pape at University of Chicago called, “the soft targets”, how many soft targets do we have in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia or, cities outside of Kuala Lumpur?
China for instance, has taken the initiative to introduce more than 300,000 cameras, with digital facial recognition, to prevent catastrophic terrorism, carried out by individuals, to bring a city to its knees.
Some measures imposed on Uyghur Muslims too include taking down the DNA sample of the suspected population, even to the degree of insisting that their kitchen knives must be finger printer or bar coded. If such instruments of violence are found at the scene, the line of investigation goes back to the owners.
Malaysia may have a Counter Terrorism Unit. From parliamentary replies of the former home Affairs ministers Zahid Hamidi, it seems all the radicals do not pose a threat.
But it is also a fact that on a per capita basis, Malaysia sends more jihadists to Syria and other troubled spots in the Muslim world. If and when these armed and dangerous individuals return, Malaysia can either be exposed to their mayhem or murder.
The way to preventing such terrorism is constant vigilance and preparedness. Electronic and human Intelligence must go hand in hand to prevent any sudden security loophole.
In this sense, the National Security Council needs to have a unit that deals with terrorism preparedness, not just a unit that deals with the arrest and rehabilitation of terrorism only. Kuala Lumpur is the city of lights. But it does not want to go (blowing) up for all the wrong reasons.