Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Malaysia. Attacks could happen anywhere including in places visited by foreigners. In January 2016, the Malaysian police said the country was on the highest security alert; from time to time the police presence increases in public areas. Be vigilant, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
On 28 June 2016, there was a grenade attack at a bar in the town of Puchong, injuring 8 people. Malaysian authorities have confirmed this was a terrorist attack by individuals with links to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL).
There’s a threat to foreigners of kidnapping on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines. There has also been a kidnapping case in Sandakan on mainland Sabah.
The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), based in the Philippines, has previously kidnapped foreigners from the east coast of mainland Sabah, the islands and the surrounding waters. A number of hostages have been murdered by the group. Some groups operating in the southern Philippines, including ASG, have pledged allegiance to Daesh and are likely to regard Westerners as legitimate targets. Commercial shipping companies have been advised to adopt heightened vigilance when navigating the Sulu and Celebes Sea. Most maritime incidents occur in the Sulu Sea in the area between Sabah (Malaysia) and Mindanao, the Sulu Islands and Palawan (Philippines). Boats travelling to and from off-shore islands and dive sites are possible targets. The Malaysian authorities have increased security in the region in response to recent incidents.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.