Economic slowdown to spur terrorism: Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17, 2008 (AFP) – Incidents of terrorism and human trafficking will spike due to the global economic slowdown led by surging prices for food and fuel, a top Malaysian minister said Tuesday. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who ovesees internal security, said spiralling inflation will cause serious hardship among Asia’s poor.

“The economic outlook is therefore grim. All that will inadvertently result in the increase of problems related to transnational crime such as terrorism, trafficking in persons and money laundering,” he said.

“If the economic situation gets worse, people will look for alternative ways to make a living,” he said at a meeting of security officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

On Wednesday they will be joined by their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and New Zealand.

Syed Hamid said the meeting would attempt to find ways to boost cooperation and share intelligence to curb cross-border crime including human trafficking, which he said was becoming a problematic and lucrative business.

But he said that combating trafficking, which sees countless women and girls sold into sexual slavery and domest