KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday denied the detention of three citizens of Turkey last week was based on orders from the Turkish government.
He said the arrests were made after receiving information from the Counter-Messaging Centre (CMC) in relation to their involvement in an illegal organisation.
“The three Turkish nationals involved are members of an organisation deemed illegal in their country, and their detention was not made based on the instructions from any party.
“If human rights’ bodies want to help them, they can communicate directly with the Turkish government,” he told reporters during a dinner with members of the Retired Senior Police Officers’ Association Malaysia (Respa) here, tonight.
On Monday, a local portal reported that the Stockholm Centre of Freedom (SCF) has called on the Malaysian government to halt its bidding on behalf of the increasingly repressive Turkish government led by President Recep Erdogan, following the arrest and deportation of three Turkish nationals from Kuala Lumpur.
In another development, Ahmad Zahid said the claim of an armed group infiltrating Lahad Datu, Sabah, had yet to be verified by the authorities, as there was no evidence to back it.
“We’ve checked, but so far have not found anything that can be linked (to the claim), so there is no evidence that the report was accurate.
On Monday, it was reported that a 52-year-old farm worker lodged a police report after he came across five armed men at Sawit Block 8, Felda Sahabat 2, Cenderawasih near Lahad Datu while cleaning a palm grove.
It was also reported that the five armed men told the farm worker that 37 people had landed at the beach and they were there to save the people of Sabah. — Bernama