Sulu terrorists had appointed a commander for each state constituency in Sabah towards establishing a Sulu sultanate in the East Malaysian state, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed today.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the information was derived during interrogation of six terror suspects arrested by security forces in Sabah, besides evidence like thumb drives and several documents.

"The investigation found that the Sulu sultanate had appointed a commander for each state constituency in Sabah with the intention of establishing a Sulu sultanate to rule Sabah.

"So, do not view lightly the actions of the Sulu terrorists which are a threat to the nation's security," said Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, when winding up the motion of thanks for the royal address, in the Dewan Rakyat.

"The security threat faced by the country is real and clear. But due to the efficiency of our security forces, the threats from terror elements from inside and outside the country are under control," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said from 2014 until February this year, 649 programmes to increase public awareness on the threats from terrorism had been conducted by the Royal Malaysian Police with various parties including schools, higher education institutions, NGOs, local communities and political parties.

"Currently, looking at the increasingly worrying threat from Dash, the programme will continue from time to time by expanding the target group," he added.