Efforts against violent extremism and Islamic State (ISIS) continued. Home affairs ministry 19 Feb ordered immigration department to conduct random checks at airports in Sabah to prevent potential terrorists from entering country, amid concerns that individuals linked to ISIS and from Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist group have been entering Sabah from Mindanao before flying to West Malaysia. In series of operations 25 Jan-6 Feb in Johor and Sabah, police arrested ten men and a woman for alleged ISIS links; seven Filipinos among those arrested, including two leading Abu Sayyaf figures, one accused of recruiting Malaysians and Indonesians to group.
Demographic and social change, easing of authoritarian controls, a growing civil society and economic uncertainty are shaking the communal foundations of Malaysian politics and making the outcome of its coming election unusually unpredictable.
Originally published in Tempo