Worrying trend of civil servants supporting IS cause

Police are working to establish the extent of IS influence among civil servants as so far six government officers had joined, planned or had sent money to the extremist outfit which controls chunks of territories in both Iraq and Syria. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Police are working to establish the extent of IS influence among civil servants as so far six government officers had joined, planned or had sent money to the extremist outfit which controls chunks of territories in both Iraq and Syria. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PETALING JAYA, Dec 3 — Two more civil servants who were channeling funds to the Islamic State (IS) have been arrested as police express worry over militant sympathisers in the civil service. 

Police are working to establish the extent of IS influence among civil servants as so far six government officers had joined, planned or had sent money to the extremist outfit which controls chunks of territories in both Iraq and Syria. 

A police source said in six months, four civil servants were arrested in the Klang Valley and Kedah, and there is a possibility of others in the service being involved.  

“We are now investigating the extent of involvement of civil servants in IS activities in the country and abroad,” the source said.

“There is a possibility those detained had influenced others, including their colleagues, to join their cause and this is a worrying trend.”

Investigators are establishing if these suspects had recruited others from their departments.

The source said intelligence and operations personnel are working to determine the seriousness of the matter.

The latest arrest came when the Bukit Aman’s Counter-Terrorism Unit conducted an operation in Kuala Lumpur and Kedah on Nov 27 and 28.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police picked up three men in separate locations. 

“Two of them, aged 23 and 28, work at a government agency in Kuala Lumpur. They are suspected to have channeled funds to new recruits who are planning to travel to Syria to fight alongside IS.”

Investigations revealed the third suspect, aged 36, joined IS last year and had spent four months in Syria before returning to Malaysia on April 8.

He said the trio were being detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).

In October, police made a major breakthrough following the arrest of three men who played a key role in the recruitment of more than 20 Malaysians.

One of the recruiters was an assistant director attached to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry. 

The 37-year-old civil servant was responsible for recruiting and making travel arrangements for those wanting to go to Syria. He was also the contact person for Malaysian fighters in Syria.

The other recruiter fought alongside rebels in Syria last December and returned to Malaysia in April while the third was an expert in recruiting people via Facebook.

The three recruiters are believed to have been trained by Dr Mahmud Ahmad, 36, an Islamic studies lecturer with Universiti Malaya. 

The trio’s arrest led to the arrest of 11 other supporters from various backgrounds — a 14-year-old student, a housewife, a graphic designer, a university student, factory workers and odd-job workers.

Police had then expressed shock that the suspects came from all walks of life, suggesting that the recruitment drive was intense. Police said the recruiters would scout for targets via Facebook and brainwash them to fight coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

Once coaxed, the recruits would meet a 34-year-old suspect who fought in Syria.

The trio also had connections with 36-year-old stationery shop operator Mohd Najib Hussein and Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, 39, who was attached to the Selayang Municipal Council.

Mahmud, Najib and Joraimee were previously IS recruiters but later fled the country and joined Abu Sayyaf in Southern Philippines.

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