21 July 2024 5:40 pm

Director-General's Message

Dear Visitors,

Warmest greetings and welcome to the official website of the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT).

The events of September 11, 2001 unequivocally changed the face of global terrorism and counter-terrorism efforts forever. Just two weeks after the deadly attacks on the World Trade Centre, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1373 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, obligating States to “implement more effective counter-terrorism measures at the national level and to increase international cooperation in the struggle against terrorism”. This provided the impetus for SEARCCT’s establishment two years later with a core mandate and mission in mind.

Since its inception, SEARCCT has strived to become a regional centre of excellence for counter-terrorism research and programmes, and to serve as a credible reference point for various actors and practitioners working tirelessly to address the interweaving factors that can cause radicalisation leading to terrorism.

Terrorism today is transnational; terrorist groups are known to operate beyond fixed borders and coordinate themselves across transnational networks. Therefore, it has become all the more crucial for us to initiate and sustain engagement in this field, especially by leveraging on regional and global platforms available to us. As an entity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SEARCCT utilises its involvement within ASEAN and Asia Pacific groupings to push for sound solutions to security threats afflicting the region. Similarly, the centre aims to build new bridges by fostering constructive engagements between public, private, and civil society stakeholders on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE).

One of the developments that SEARCCT views with significant concern is the recent growth and spread of compelling online narratives by violent extremist groups, owing to the latest technological advancements and popularity of social media platforms. Counter-terrorism efforts to detect and trace such threats is a big challenge given that anyone can become self-radicalised with no prior warning. This is why SEARCCT has embarked on a core strategy of pursuing ‘soft’ approaches by working with a diverse range of stakeholders to produce alternative and counter messages – in creative and subtle forms – which would altogether lessen the appeal of violent extremist propaganda online and offline.

At the same time, extensive scholarship and rigorous research continues to serve as the bedrock of our approach in tackling the multi-faceted menace of terrorism, while training and capacity building serves to strengthen and consolidate the dedicated community of practitioners, both at home and abroad. A combination of training courses, conferences, forums, and webinars are regularly organised by SEARCCT to discuss and brainstorm solutions in counter-terrorism, including on complex new issues like cybersecurity, transnational crime, and terrorism financing. Towards this end, SEARCCT seeks to contribute to the preparedness of the nation and the region through five flagship areas: Investigation and Legal Aspects; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE), and Crisis Management; Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP); Terrorism Financing; and PCVE.

It is often said that terrorism is a battle against external forces, unseen and unheard until it is too late. However, in order to emerge victorious in this fight, it is pivotal for us to first look internally at ourselves. As a society of diverse ethnicities and religions, we must endeavour towards peaceful coexistence, thus firmly shutting the door on extremist forces and hateful rhetoric that seek to divide us. What is needed going forward is enhancing a whole-of-society’ approach – from the public sector to the private sector, as well as civil society actors such as the youth, women’s groups, and community leaders – in realising the quintessential Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) envisioned by the Government. Truly, this is the most effective response in bringing about lasting resilience against violent extremism.

It is my hope that in browsing through this website, you will find valuable information and insights on the range of counter-terrorism and PCVE efforts in Malaysia, and be able to learn more about the important work SEARCCT and its partners are pursuing.

Dato’ Ganeson Sivagurunathan
Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT)
Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Malaysia


Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Malaysia

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21 July 2024

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