Malaysian woman charged with supporting terrorism

Ummi Kalsom Bahak, 25, was charged with supporting terrorism at the Sepang Sessions Court, October 31, 2014. — Picture courtesy of the Royal Malaysian Police
Ummi Kalsom Bahak, 25, was charged with supporting terrorism at the Sepang Sessions Court, October 31, 2014. — Picture courtesy of the Royal Malaysian Police

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — A Malaysian woman who tried to join the outlawed Islamic State (IS) movement by marrying one of its militants was charged at a Sessions Court today with supporting terrorism.

Ummi Kalsom Bahak was charged before the Sepang Sessions Court for allegedly offering to support the IS by attempting to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, from Brunei Darussalam on October 5 this year to marry one Aqif Huessin Rahaizat and become a member of the militant group.

The 25-year-old assistant credit controller also faces an alternative charge of attempting to enter Syria via the Brunei-Istanbul route to support the IS by marrying Aqif.

If found guilty under either charge, she faces a penalty of not more than half of the maximum jail term of 30 years to life imprisonment under Section 130J of the Penal Code.

The court can also impose a fine and order the seizure of any assets believed to be linked to the offence, according to a copy of the charge sheet made available to Malay Mail Online.

Ummi, who was unrepresented, was not allowed bail as she was arrested on October 5 under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.

Sessions Court judge Aizatul Akmal Maharani set a November 20 mention date for the case to be transferred to the High Court.

It is understood that Ummi is the first woman to be charged in connection with the IS, but she is not the first woman to be arrested under Sosma.

That dubious distinction goes to Halimah Hussein, 52, who along with former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Yazid Sufaat and cafeteria worker Muhammad Hilmi Hasim were the first people to be detained under the Act on charges of promoting and abetting terrorist activities in Syria.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on May 20 this year acquitted and discharged all three from the charges on the ground that Sosma was ultra vires to Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, which deals with subversion and action prejudicial to public order, among other matters.

The Court of Appeal, however, overturned the lower court's ruling ― a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court ― and they will now have to stand trial over the terrorism charges.

Halimah, however, has since jumped bail and police have yet to locate her whereabouts.