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Danial MOHD YUSOF: The Evolution of Malaysia’s Rehabilitation Programme for Violent Extremists: Pre and Post ISIS Challenges and Considerations
September 12,2019   By:
The Evolution of Malaysia’s Rehabilitation Programme for Violent Extremists: Pre and Post ISIS Challenges and Considerations
 
Danial MOHD YUSOF
 
Malaysia
 
Abstract: This paper will begin by explaining the history of the Special Rehabilitation Program from the 1940s and it’s evolution till present day Malaysia. It is designed as a program for ideologically inspired militant detainees to disengage, deradicalize, being provided socio-economic support during and post detention, and finally, post-release monitoring. A survey of the program’s philosophy, legal framework, process, participants, modules, support system, and rate of success will be discussed. 
 
A survey of the ten steps operationally used will be covered i.e. information gathering, identification of subject, apprehending, interrogation, detention, rehabilitation, review, release and monitoring will be done. A critique of the effectiveness of the program will also be made and also explain its continuity i.e. arguably high success rate; rehabilitation program provides ample avenue for discourse to be established between detainees and mainstream scholars; a set limited detention period; time and space for reflection, repentance and selftransformation; and the necessity of socio-financial and psychological support. The success of the program is evaluated based on several criterias- that they do not reengage again with militant activities via various behavioral indicators; also verbal and written indicators in rejection of their former violent ideology and giving continued support and becoming resource persons for the sustainability of the rehabilitation program; and finally, cooperation with the police and authorities, especially in their post-detention phase. 
 
We will then look at challenges and considerations posed by the post ISIS scenario for the program as Malaysia commits itself to the rehabilitation of ISIS returnees to the country this year. Recommendations will also be made as to what other countries may learn from Malaysia’s human approach to the rehabilitation of violent extremists. 
 
The new challenges and considerations would entail a discussion of the future direction of Malaysia’s rehabilitation program in the wider context of what possibly may become a National Action Plan (NAP) for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) as suggested to be developed in all nation states by the United Nations. This paper shall argue that a public health model is the most appropriate approach. This is because the public health model will look at Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) via targeted segmentation while Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) elements will be used as part of the sustainable nation-building agenda. This is also meant to facilitate a more dynamic and interventionist approach in identifying, engaging and educating subjects at risk of radicalization before legal proceedings occur thus alleviating some of the hardships that may follow as a result of the processes of existing laws and enforcement. 
 
This paper will end by emphasizing on the importance of capacity building and collaboration among stakeholders of various sectors to ensure the security of the nation state and international community is ensured. It will also have a cautionary tone in that the State’s operationalization of PCVE and Counter-terrorism measures should not lead it down the path of state oppression and disengagement from the rights of its various communities.
 
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