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Najib stirs up controversy with UMNO-ISIS comment

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has stirred controversy with his comment on ISIS militants -- he said that if UMNO members were as brave as ISIS militants, the party would be strong.

MALAYSIA: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has stirred controversy with his comment on ISIS militants.

In his speech to his ruling party the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) on Monday night, he said that if UMNO members were as brave as ISIS militants, the party would be strong.

It was meant as a pep talk of sorts when PM Najib spoke to his fellow party members.

He said UMNO members need to have six traits in order for the party to survive and flourish -- bravery, obedience, loyalty, unity, excellence and sincerity. But it was his example of bravery that caused concern.

PM Najib said that UMNO members should emulate militants in the Middle East, whom he described as fearless in fighting for their cause.

Keith Leong, a research analyst with the KRA Group, said: "I think he was simply saying that he expects UMNO members to be brave and selfless. Of course, it's a rather awkward and clumsy example to use given what's happening in Iraq now."

Already, some militants from Malaysia were reported to have received physical and weapons training by ISIS militants in order to join the insurgencies in Syria and Iraq.

Malaysian police believe more than 20 Malaysians are now in the Middle East fighting alongside ISIS militants.

Sixteen people have been arrested in the past few weeks for suspected links to militant groups. Four have been charged, while another four are still under investigation. The rest were released due to insufficient evidence.

The police now fear that these militants may pose a threat to Malaysia's national security as the militants believe the UMNO-led government is a secular one and needs to be ousted through violent means.

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