Illustrative image (Source: EPA/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has warned that followers of Abu Bakar Bashir are looking to make Southeast Asia the new base for the Islamic State (IS), according to The Star newspaper.

The Malaysian newspaper quoted Deputy PM Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, in an article on August 7, as saying that followers of Abu Bakar Bashir, the former leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group behind the 2002 Bali bombings, are keen to make Southeast Asia the new base for IS.

Some of 300 followers who were in prison have been released, and they went to Batam Island on the Riau archipelago of Indonesia, which is near both Singapore and Malaysia, he said, adding that from there they want to make Southeast Asia the new port for IS.

Malaysian authorities were discussing with their counterparts on ways to enhance security in the region, said the deputy PM.

IS marked their appearance in Southeast Asia with an attack on Jakarta, Indonesia, in January this year that killed eight people.

In April, the group warned that Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia would be among its targets.-VNA