A Critical Study of Kumpulan Militant Malaysia, its Wider Connections in the Region and the Implications of Radical Islam for the Stability of Southeast Asia
This study analyzes the existence and political history of Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (Malaysia Militant Group-KMM); the most spectacular Muslim militant group to recently emerge from Malaysia. Using an interpretive framework derived from typology of radicalism, this study exposes the roots of the group and its transformation into a militant movement. Based on extensive fieldwork, numerous interviews and in-depth research of related documents, this study demonstrates that the existence of KMM cannot be dissociated from Afghanistan’s global Jihadist campaign. This study analyzes the activities of KMM in the context of radical Islam in the South East Asia region and its wider connection, particularly with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Findings from fieldwork research conducted with active and ex-members of KMM and JI are presented to find the answer to the question pertaining the involvement of these two groups in terrorism activities in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian contemporary social and political scenarios have been build-up from a long history of rebellious freedom fighters against colonial super-powers. In addition to nationalism, Islamization has also played a significant role in establishing freedom movements in the 1940s and 1950s. Systematic pressure under colonial powers and harsh policies implemented by ultra nationalists to these groups resulted in a series of rebellions and defiance such as what happened in Indonesia, Southern Thailand and the Southern Philippines. Historical facts led to radicalism in these countries, which are important for gaining a better knowledge about Muslim radicalism in Southeast Asia also presented in this thesis. The ‘typology of radicalism’ - the transformation from ‘nominal believers’ to activists, extremists, radicals and terrorists is explained in this research. Understanding Islam and their willingness to perform Jihad as was carried out in Afghanistan has had a significant impact on today’s militants. Finally, this research suggests the best methods for overcoming radicalism and diffusing KMM and JI’s threat in Southeast Asia.