KUALA LUMPUR - A former commander of a terror group based in Syria and Iraq was detained while transiting in Malaysia with a forged passport.
The 45-year-old suspect was believed to have been to several countries, including Thailand, before arriving in Malaysia on Jan 19.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the man was arrested at a hotel in Bukit Bintang at about 4.40pm on Jan 31 by a police counter-terrorism unit.
"We believe he is a member of a militant group based in Syria since May 2012," he said, adding that the suspect was on the "most wanted" list of a Middle Eastern country.
"The man was arrested under the Immigration Act 1959/63 for using a forged passport.
"He was deported to his home country on Friday under a special operation," he said in a statement without disclosing the man's nationality.
According to sources, the militant was believed to be planning to get a visa from the Sudanese consulate here before he was nabbed.
"There is a high probability that he was planning to go to Sudan to seek refuge," a source said.
Another source said the man had multiple currencies amounting to RM30,000 (S$11,419) when he was detained.
It is also learnt that the suspect is not a member of the Islamic State terror group nor affiliated with it.
Khalid said Bukit Aman would not let the country be used as a place of transit, hideout or launching point of any terror or militant group.
"The arrest was possible through co-operation with our counterparts from a foreign country.
"We will use every available resources to quell any threat to the nation," he added.
In the wake of the latest arrest, sources confirmed that foreign militants were using Malaysia to get to Syria or other destinations.
"It is alarming because previously, only Malaysian militants or those from neighbouring countries have used Malaysia as a transit point to get to Syria."