KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Following the series of terror attacks on Paris, France, on Friday, Malaysian police have been put on high alert and will be doubling security efforts in anticipation of next week’s Asean Summit.
According to The Star, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said all police branches and divisions have increased vigilance to ensure the country remains secure.
He also reportedly said the police are reviewing the security arrangements for the summit to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, which will see the likes of world leaders like United States President Barack Obama, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and China’s Xi Jinping, among others.
“We will not let our guard down,” Khalid was quote saying in the English daily today regarding intelligence reports on the Islamic State’s plans for the region.
According to French prosecutors, three coordinated teams of gunmen and suicide bombers carried out the series of attacks across several venues in Paris - restaurants, a concert hall and the national soccer stadium - on Friday, causing hurt to hundreds and killing at least 129 people.
French President Francois Hollande has described the attacks as an “act of war” by IS and immediately declared a state of emergency.
Yesterday, the IS claimed responsibility for the attacks and said, according to Reuters, that it had sent its militants, some brandishing bombing belts and others, machine guns, to various locations across the French capital.
“To teach France, and all nations following its path, that they will remain at the top of Islamic State’s list of targets, and that the smell of death won’t leave their noses as long as they partake in their crusader campaign,” said the group, according to the international wire agency, referring to French air strikes on IS in Syria.
Earlier this month, it was reported that eight Malaysian men believed linked to the IS were nabbed in a major police sting operation across three states.
The men, aged between 22 and 36, were picked up from various locations in Selangor, Perak and Johor and held under the Security Measures Act (Special Measures) 2012 (Sosma), a law that allows for detentions without trial for up to 28 days.
Two of the men, aged 28, are government servants believed to belong to the same IS cell as two other suspects that had been nabbed earlier on August 19, ostensibly for spreading the global terror group’s ideology, IGP Khalid said in a statement on November 2.
The other four men arrested in the last operation are said to be the remnants of a local branch of al-Qaeda, known as Tandzim al-Qaeda Malaysia, that had escaped a previous police operation in February 2013.
In July, two Malaysians believed linked to IS were arrested over alleged plots to attack several key areas, including entertainment spots in the Klang Valley.
During the arrests, police seized books on jihad (holy warfare) and the teachings of “Salafi Jihadi” and receipts of purchases of tactical gear, Khalid said.
Last August, Malaysian police counter-terrorism deputy chief Ayob Khan Mydin confirmed that local IS followers nabbed had admitted to plotting attacks on a disco, pubs in Kuala Lumpur and Danish beer-maker Carlsberg’s factory in Petaling Jaya.
In early April, police said they nabbed 17 individuals during a secret meeting to plot the kidnap of high profile-figures, to attack places in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and the Klang Valley.
Among other things, the group that is said to have expertise in handling weapons were planning to rob banks to fund their activities, raid army camps and police stations to obtain weapons, and obtain supplies from a neighbouring country’s terrorist group.
In late April, local police nabbed 12 suspected militants while they were planning to test explosives in a Hulu Langat jungle and seized bomb-making materials during the arrest.
To date, more than a hundred individuals suspected of militant activities have been nabbed by local police.