“ASEAN must make bold decision to combat transnational crime”

KUALA LUMPUR: With transnational organised crime having gone global and reached macroeconomic proportions, Asean countries are at a critical juncture to decide whether they should also focus on new types of such crimes. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid said today the new types of crime are the illicit trades in nature and cultural heritage, wildlife, wood-based products, electrical and electronic waste, ozone-depleting substances, counterfeit goods and fraudulent essential medicines.
“In addition to the linkages of transnational crime with movement of people across borders, we also have to confront the rapid progress and evolution of transnational crime. “In the present inter-connected world, transnational organised crime has gone global and reached macroeconomic proportions. Illicit goods can now be sourced from one continent, trafficked across another, and sold in third countries.
“These organised transnational crime continues to adapt alongside the frenetic pace of our times, as new crimes emerge, arise and maintained through relationships between criminal networks on a global level. “Hence, we are now at a critical juncture to decide whether we want to retain the status quo, namely dealing with the eight existing areas of transnational crime that come under our purview which was included in the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) today.
“A bold decision has to be made due to new types of transnational crimes (such as those) reported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime,” he said in his opening address at the 10th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC). Zahid said Asean was also taking steps in the right direction to counter the development of transnational crimes through the proposal to adopt and sign the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Combating Transnational Crime, which was due to materialise at the end of the meeting.

He said the declaration has highlighted, among others, issues that need to be seriously considered by the ministers (of Asean member nations) such as the emergence of new forms of transnational crimes. This includes the call for the formulation of a new Asean plan of action to combat transnational crime since the previous plan was adopted in 2002. Zahid said the 10th AMMTC was also historic and unprecedented with a back-to-back gathering of the Special Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism scheduled for Friday. “The said meeting on Oct 2 will afford the opportunity for Asean member states to share experiences and best practices, as well as to take stock of individual countries’ challenges in countering radicalisation and violent extremism.
“We need to realise that law enforcement and stringent legislations are insufficient to deal with it in which strategic partnerships and outreach programmes need to be regularly conducted that draw participation from civil societies and private sectors.” Ahead of his opening speech, Zahid received a courtesy call from leaders of AMMTC and Asean deputy secretary-general Hirubalan Veluppilla Ponnudura.

The participating leaders are Brunei Energy Minister Datuk Dr Muhammad Yasmin Umar; Cambodia secretary of state Em Sam An; Indonesian police chief General Badrodin Haiti; Laos Public Security Minister Brigadier General Somkeo Sylavong; Myanmar Deputy Home Minister Kyaw Kyaw Tun; Philippines Public Safety Undersecretary Peter Irving C. Corvera; Singapore Second Minister of Home and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli Masagos Mohamad; Thailand Deputy Interior Minister Sutee Markboon; and, Vietnam Public Security Minister Tran Dai Quang. Also present at the event were Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim and Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim. – STM

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