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First Advanced Course: Train-the-Trainers Courses on Community Engagement for Prevention of Violent Extremism

August 1, 2023 @ 8:00 am August 3, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Kuala Lumpur, 1-3 August 2023 – The Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY), in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Counterterrorism Unit (E8) Special Branch, and Safe in Custody, achieved a newer milestone by co-hosting the “First Advanced Course: Train-the-Trainers Course on Community Engagement for Prevention of Violent Extremism.” 

This intensive one-week training served as a continuation of the previous initial series held in May 2023. This training brought together over 30 alumni and new participants from the Counterterrorism Unit (E8) Special Branch of the Royal Malaysia Police. The event featured six distinguished speakers representing Malaysian universities, civil society organisations, and a prominent law firm who had shared their expert insights with the participants.

The course provided a comprehensive curriculum aimed at enhancing the skillset for enforcement officials. It specifically focused on the key aspects of evidence and human rights in the investigation and prosecution phases. For example, participants delved into learning the legal principles and procedures of the Malaysian evidence law and localised international framework of “Do No Harm” in dealing with high-risk suspects as well as adopting multi-stakeholder and gender-sensitive approaches in the overall counterterrorism responses.

The first session on “Human Rights and Policing: Building Trust and Safeguarding Suspect Rights” was delivered by Dr. Haezreena Begum, Criminologist and Senior Lecturer at Universiti Malaya.

An exclusive highlight of the event was a dialogue session featuring a former security convict, Yazid Supaat. His insights and experiences in rehabilitation and reintegration (R&R) were invaluable. Participants actively engaged in the moderated discussion, identifying strengths and challenges within Malaysia’s R&R programme and collaboratively exploring strategies for improvement.

Yazid Supaat (on the left) shared his unique testimony and insights from his experience as a former security convict during the second session (on the left).

During a dedicated session on the Early Warning and Early Response System (EWERS), participants gained practical insights on responding to various levels of violent extremism risk. They also learned to identify key stakeholders responsible for addressing these risks. The  exercise implemented in this session underscored the collective responsibility shared among stakeholders, emphasising that responding to threats of violent extremism extends beyond the domain of law enforcement officials alone.

Aizat Shamsuddin from INITIATE.MY presented on the Early Warning and Early Response System (EWERS) as a collaborative tool for multi-stakeholders in PCVE efforts.

The course’s concluding segment featured a “mock trial” designed to apply the acquired knowledge, particularly in the realm of evidence and human rights, to the handling of legal proceedings related to terrorism. This exercise aimed to sharpen participants’ investigative skills, enhance their ability to prepare evidence meticulously, and refine their oratory skills for effectively presenting cases in court.

The mock trial session, facilitated by Salim Bashir, Advocate and Solicitor at Salim Bashir, Ruswiza & Co, delved into the practical application of evidence and human rights in simulated criminal proceedings.

Looking forward, INITIATE.MY is committed to fortifying this partnership as a dynamic co-learning space within the security sector. This collaboration has not only bolstered the capacity building of law enforcement officials but has also significantly heightened awareness and fostered valuable networking among partner organisations in recognising the complex role of law enforcement agencies in safeguarding national security.