KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Police have arrested 16 people on suspicion of terrorism including a local militant who was plotting attacks on unnamed politicians and non-Muslim groups.
According to Bukit Aman’s Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division (E8) principle assistant director, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the arrests were made in separate operations nationwide.
He told a press conference this morning that the local suspect belonged to a group of 11 Malaysian and Indonesian suspects detained here in the capital, Sarawak, Penang, Pahang, Johor and Selangor.
“They are mostly involved in social media recruiting Indonesians and Malaysians to spread the Daesh ideology and had also planned future attacks in Malaysia and Indonesia.
“One of the Malaysians from the same group planned to stage attacks on politicians and non-Muslim groups here apparently for making negative comments towards Islam, suppressing the faith, and for insulting the Malays,” said Ayob.
Two more Malaysians arrested in Sabah were responsible for spreading Islamic State (Daesh) propaganda and managed the movements of eventual suicide bombers.
The duo also arranged for funds to be channelled to the Maute terrorist group in southern Philippines.
“Both of them had helped arrange the path for a couple and their three children who carried out suicide bombing attacks at a church in Jolo, South Philippines, last December,” he said.
Ayob explained that the counter terrorism operations spanned from July 10 to yesterday, resulting in the arrests of three Malaysians, 12 Indonesians and one Indian national.
One of the Indonesians was arrested from Keningau, Sabah, facilitated and assisted other terrorism sympathisers’ travels from Indonesia through Sabah and into the southern Philippines to carry out attacks there.
“Most of the Indonesians are employed in the labour industry, where some have been here for two to three years before they were arrested,” he said.
Ayob added the Indian national was a 38-year-old woman who was a member of the Sikh For Justice group and was arrested in Subang Jaya. They later determined she was responsible for raising and channelling funds back to the group.
He said the arrests were a result of cross border cooperation between the Royal Malaysia Police, the Indonesian National Police, and Philippines National Police.
Ayub said all the arrests except for the Indian national invoked the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
The Indian woman was arrested under the Immigration Act and is in the process of being deported to her home country.