KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Bukit Aman is taking a cautious approach to a suggestion that the man responsible for funding the first Islamic State (IS) terror strike in Malaysia has been found living in the Philippines.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police takes a serious view of reports of US federal investigation papers indicating that 37-year-old Filipino orthopaedic surgeon Dr Russell Salic had financed the June 28, 2016 grenade attack on the Movida nightclub in Puchong, Selangor that injured eight people.
“Actually, we have no details about this and we cannot say yes or no except we may need to interview Dr Salic to get further details.
“We will check and investigate because this is an allegation, very serious matter. I cannot confirm at this moment,” he told Malay Mail Online last night when contacted for comment.
He said Bukit Aman will do whatever it takes to verify the information and declined to commit when asked if Malaysia would seek to extradite Dr Salic.
“That one is a long process, not an easy process,” he said.
He said the first thing police here would do is to check if they could secure an interview with Dr Salic.
“We will do whatever we need to do,” he stressed, but declined to elaborate as it involved police operations.
Dr Salic has been under police arrest in the Philippines since April where he is expected to face a series of terror charges, including the abduction of six Filipino sawmill workers and the beheading of two of them last year.
The man known to militants as “Abu Khalid” and alternately “The Doctor” is also wanted in the US for a series of terror plots on New York City, its subway system and various concert venues during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan last year.
Several news agencies in the US, UK and the Philippines have cited US federal court filings naming Dr Salic as the financier of numerous other global terror activities.
Philippines’ paper The Manila Times yesterday reported Dr Salic sending sums ranging from US$180 to US$583 to several countries during February 2015 and June 2016, including Malaysia, Australia, Syria and Lebanon.
Dr Salic was also reported to have wired US$426.30 to a man named Jasanizam Rosni in Johor on June 24, 2016, just days before the Movida grenade blast.
Jasanizam, initially one of the suspects in the Movida blast, was sentenced in April to three years in jail for plotting a terror attack against a temple and nightclubs in Johor Baru.
“I believe that the Malaysia transfer (of funds) is consistent with the statement of Abu Khalid indicating that he was involved in funding not only the [New York City plot], but also the activities of other [IS] supporters in other countries,” The Manila Times cited an unnamed FBI agent as saying in a report that was part of the US court filings.
No other IS-linked terror plots have been successfully carried out in Malaysia since the Movida attack. Local police have since stepped up security measures with a series of arrests against suspected militants and thwarted several terror plots, including during the recent SEA Games closing ceremony and the 60th National Day parade.