How would you feel about Malaysians, who left the country to join Islamic State (IS), being allowed to return home, if they agreed to be rehabilitated?

On 13 March, the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, (above)  told Al Jazeera that Malaysians who joined terror groups abroad and their families will be allowed to return.

The condition was that they had to agree to go through a one-month rehabilitation programme. He said that not everyone will be detained, but all returnees will be interrogated.

Ayob said, “We will conduct thorough checks and investigation on each returnee. We bring in clerics and psychologists to evaluate their ideology and psychological makeup.

“We will compare intelligence which we received from friendly foreign services. If there is evidence that a returnee was involved in Islamic State’s militant activities, he or she will be charged in court”.

Several countries, including Britain and the United States, are in the process of stripping or have already stripped the citizenships of former fighters and their families, in an effort to stop them from returning to their home countries.

Fierce fighting by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has meant that the IS faces imminent defeat in its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria. This has prompted its fighters and their families to flee and return home .

Malaysians joining IS

According to Al Jazeera, around 102 Malaysians left Malaysia to join IS. Forty were killed while fighting in Iraq and Syria and nine of these, were suicide bombers.

Ayob said that 11 Malaysians have since returned and eight have been charged in court. The remaining three comprise a woman and two children under five years old.

He added, “The woman underwent a rehabilitation programme and has now returned to her kampung. She continues to be monitored.” The police are monitoring Malaysians who are still willing to fight for IS in Iraq and Syria, despite its imminent collapse. Some are contemplating going to Mindanao in southern Philippines because the militants groups there have links with IS.

Ayob claimed that around 51 Malaysians are still in Syria, and 17 of them are children.

The report said that Al Jazeera contacted the father of a Malaysian woman, who has requested to return to Malaysia. She is still in Syria.

The 29-year-old woman, called Lidia, left Malaysia for Syria, in 2014 with her husband and baby.

Around two weeks ago, with IS facing defeat, Lidia sent a text message to her father in Johor seeking his help to facilitate her return.

Lidia is one of 13 Malaysians in Syria seeking to return home. Ayob said that bringing them home is “difficult” because of the need to involve many parties from different countries. She is in a Kurdish-controlled camp in Hasakah with her two sons aged two and four. Her reason for returning is because the camp is not “comfortable.”

The Johorean is a former medical lab technician who lost her first husband and remarried another, when he died. Her second husband was also killed.

Lidia’s father said that she has been languishing at the camp for almost a year, and hopes the experience will serve as a lesson to her.

Do you agree to her return? Anyone can say they will voluntarily be rehabilitated, but how successful is rehabilitation with past returnees? What are the experiences of other countries and their returnees?




Rebuilding Malaysia


  • Bosnia, Bren says:

    My first time on your great expectations blog!!! So many years you have been espousing multi-racial integration in Malaysian politics and policies, kudos to you Mariam! I thank mother nature for giving us people as brave as you and clear-thinking. Ok, on this issue of allowing ex-( or maybe still active )ISIS militants /supporters, to return to Malaysia, I say NO ! The PDRM are not efficient enough to monitor seriously these returnees as one can see that PDRM is unable to keep track or catch ordinary citizens wanted for child-snatching, let alone terrorist-cells ! The avowed ambition of these ISIS retards is to create bloodshed among ordinary people and nations, so let them carry on elsewhere if they so desire.

  • Horrified says:

    All brain washed with torture, rape & killing & then later halal syarie their actions???

    How to defend these horrible people’s actions?? Shaking heads….

    keep them in Syria & NEVER come back. If SB wants to interrogate them, then go to Syria to get statements & whatever they need to keep Malaysia safe!!

  • doubletree says:

    Malaysia refused to accept CPM members back to Malaysia after signing the peace treaty. So why should the country accept these terrorists back to this country? The malay political leaders are playing with fire. They think that in a conflagration, they will come out top. Times have changed. The world does not need any more violence.

  • Raj says:

    Survey wont work the racist wiii reject if not fa ourable to them

  • Hooi KL says:

    Who rehabilitate who?

  • Lee Lee says:

    ISIS was / is a catastrophic menace to the whole world. Their false beliefs in Caliphate was more to their own selfish needs. Nothing beneficial to the world and completely contribute only distraught , fear , and violences depicting a misfit Islam religion of cruelty. Malaysian who have chosen to join and fight for the ISIS Calipahte vision all in the guise of Muslim Brotherhood, actually do not have any cause at all or face any hardship and despair about their living conditions in the country. They have everything that most poor 3rd world country could only dream about. Infact it is viewed that they were just trying to be different and very more reckless in their decision to be seen as young jihadist heros rewarded with the mock beliefs of after life 72 virgins ( just to ponder it is only for man what about woman ? ). The heinous crime of mass killings and massacre of innocent civillians of both Iraq and Syria leaves no compassion for citizen of the world to grant them forgiveness. The purposeful intent in videoing the throat slitting of “kafir” with the shouting of Allah name are just brazen arrogance and disdain for their own religion. By their act they have totally violated the holy sanctity in religion. Do they deserve forgiveness and pity when they were in sane mind releasing and relishing their devilish acts. ?????????????????? Let’s be very open and truthful in our assessment.!!! Would all the hard core Malaysian ISIS fighters bother to seek a return home if ISIS are still going on strong where they could still spread their ideology far and wide in Middle East. ?????????????? Why was only a defeat jolted them to be awakened and falling on the excuse that they were misled by a wrong cause. ?????????????? If they are sincerely disenchanted with the cause and seek a return before their defeat then there is hope that rehabilitations could probably be successful . Anyway still with doubts and questioning– Would that awakening be permanent ???????????? It is just like the drug addits in trying to kick their bad habits while in rehabilitations are almost insignificant in success and in fact the drug addits are increasing in satistics. Is ISIS fully vanquised where there will not be any opportunity to resurface?????????????. Every ISIS returnee has already a seed implanted in their twisted mind and waiting for the right time and call to germinate and wreck mass destructions and mayhem. Sadly Malaysia sit in the belt where ISIS will be able to thrive in Indonesia, Phillipines and Thailand . Not forgetting Pakistan and Bengladesh too.. I hope PDRM would seriously consider their actions and follow the cue in where UK ,US, China , Europe and even probably Indonesia are rejecting the returns and also withdrwan the citizenship of their own kind. PDRM have to intensely deliberate and proactive in containment rather than be reactive with sorry excuses. The episode of dead communist Chin Peng ashes seeking a return just for burial are intensely rebuffed. For whatever clear reasons unknown but accepted for fear of disregarding the sentiments of those who fought against communist ideology during emergecy period . Beats me!! should’nt we be rejecting all these misfits and undesirable thrash of ISIS in coming back to the country and not forgetting they are very well alive and kicking !!!!!! God knows when will the potential lone wolf strike!!!!!!!

    • Lee Lee says:

      Cont Do not forget that it is very difficult for the ISIS returnees to re- adapt to an environmen of multi racial culture and religious practises in the society eventho’ they have undergone rehab. There is high posibility that they will return back to their old selves as they could not cope with a different environment hat they were fighting against in the very first place. Malaysia has a very high influx of foreign terrorist due to the safe haven and welcoming gesture. For ISIS returnees not to mingle with such elements are deemed impossible to avoid unless they are locked up for good.. Looks like PDRM has asked for more than they can chew

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