PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has rubbished the claim that mistreated migrant workers are especially prone to joining terrorist groups.
The claim came from independent scholar and researcher Ananthi Al Ramiah, who said research on the psyche of terrorists found that most of them lived far away from their homeland and felt oppressed in their host country. She said most migrant workers in Malaysia fit into this profile because they were made to do dangerous jobs and were not provided with adequate healthcare.
Santiago said recent cases of militancy in Europe and the United States showed that terrorism had local roots because of the marginalisation of minorities.
“It is more likely that locals are the ones who are susceptible to recruitment by terrorist groups as has been the case in Europe,” he said.
Meanwhile, an independent security consultancy firm said there was “no one size fits all” in terrorism.
JK Associates principal consultant Khen Hang Ming agreed that, conventionally at least, those who were far from home and felt oppressed were likely to engage in terrorist activities, but he added that “the game is ever changing” and that nowadays even professionals were easily recruited.
He said there was an increasing trend towards terrorism and oppression was only one of the factors that could explain it.
“For example, the Bangladesh attackers in the Dhaka attack in July this year were from well to do families,” he said.
He said a new breed of terrorists were emerging and they may be inspired by religious sentiments and communal violence. But he added that there were also those who joined terrorist groups “for the thrill”.
He spoke of the spread of hate speech through social media as one of the factors encouraging terrorism, but added that hatred was also being insidiously spread through community contacts.
“Last November I was at a birthday celebration for the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran organised for the Malaysian Tamil community,” he said. “The celebration was almost religious in character. Imagine, even kids are innocently exposed to this sort of thing.” – FMT