Malaysian defense minister acknowledges threat of bioterrorism

Malaysia's minister of defense recently said that biological warfare is becoming a new threat to the country.

Defense Minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that new laws were being drawn up to help prepare the country to respond to biological warfare, according to

"Biological warfare is a new war which can happen not only in Malaysia but also in the ASEAN region," Hamidi said, reports.

The defense minister also said that his country should not be regarded as a terrorist nation after two Malaysians were detained in Lebanon on suspicion of having links to terrorists groups. Hamidi said that Malaysia has taken steps to stop the spread of extremism in the country.

"The Malaysian Armed Forces, police and National Security Council cooperate in monitoring terrorist activity," Hamidi said, reports.

Two Malaysians, Razif Mohammed Ariffin and Mohammed Razin Shahar Mustafa Kamal, were recently arrested at a hotel in Beirut. The two are suspected of participating in suicide bomber training and of having links to al-Qaeda.

The youths are to be represented by counsel when their cases are heard at Lebanon's Military Tribunal in Beirut. They maintain that they are not guilty of committing or being involved in terrorism of any kind.