Singapore's defense minister says Islamic State fighters pose a "clear and present danger" to Southeast Asia as they return from Syria and Iraq with a mission to establish a caliphate.

Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen also says al-Qaida linked groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf are posing an added threat to regional security by pledging allegiance to IS.

He says that in the past three years, IS and its ideology have attracted hundreds of followers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore — more followers, he says, than al-Qaida drew in the preceding 10 years.

Ng made his comments Wednesday at a Washington think tank.