School of Law

Research Student: Mukhriz Mat Rus

Criminalization Approach in Malaysia’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Photo of Mukhriz Mat Rus

The main objective of my research is to examine critically the terrorism phenomenon and how the state responds against its threat.

My study emphasizes the criminalization approach as the best primary legitimate and effective response against terrorism in Malaysia. I seek to explore the criminalization approach in the service of counter-terrorism from larger perspective, beyond prosecuting terrorists in court. Rather it operates in various spectrums, which includes serving as a denunciatory function, an instrument to mobilise the population against terrorism, and symbol of solidarity with global community. The intention is to examine the appropriate roles, functions and position of criminal justice, as the most legitimate and viable response in preventing and combating terrorism.

My research also aims to learn from the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism strategy and experience that would benefit Malaysia’s arrangements.

My research finally seeks to suggest improvements to the present Malaysia’s counter-terrorism agenda towards a comprehensive, sustainable and well-balanced strategy.


I obtained LL.B (Hons) in 2007 from International Islamic University of Malaysia, and later LL.M from National University of Malaysia in 2014.

I was serving at Attorney General’s Chambers as Deputy Public Prosecutor from 2008 to 2015.  As the alter ego of the Public Prosecutor, I had conducted numbers of criminal trials in various levels of courts and perused the investigation papers.

I am also qualified Advocate and Solicitor of Malaya.

Occasionally, I write articles relating to criminal law and terrorism in Malaysian newspapers for public awareness. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

In March 2015, I have joined academia. With that, I believe that mere experience in the legal field is insufficient, without undergoing formal and recognized research training. Thus, I chose to pursue my PhD study at this well-known institution. 

What makes me passionate about my subject?

Global terrorism is often described as new phenomenon, while states all around the globe adopt diverse approaches in countering terrorism. Invoking executive powers overzealously and departing the criminal justice processes is unfortunately one of the steps taken by few governments.

Being the strong believer of ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness’, a terrorist suspect should not be ‘terrorized’ by the state, i.e. by infringing his fundamental rights and the natural justice. Thus I keen to explore and later contend that criminalization approach is the most appropriate primary response against terrorism in striking the balance between national security and personal rights.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

My study is sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. I am therefore obliged to serve the government at School of Law, Universiti Utara Malaysia once I have completed my PhD.

Besides that, I am looking forward to work hand in hand with the counter-terrorism agencies in Malaysia and engage in public advocacy related to the cause.

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