Malaysian cops on high alert nationwide after veiled threat at army camp

Malaysian cops on high alert nationwide after veiled threat at army camp
The army camp in Gerik where sentries turned the man away.

MALACCA - Police have tightened security at their federal headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, and all stations nationwide along with increased patrols at armouries as a precaution against attacks.

The heightened security came about after a man tried to enter an army camp in Gerik, Perak, and made threats after he was stopped by the sentries there.

It also came in the wake of 70 people, including armed forces personnel, being found by police to have ties with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Malacca deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Shahrizan Che Mat Din confirmed that security at the state headquarters and other stations had been beefed up.

"I continue to remind my officers to be on alert at all times," he said.

In the Perak incident, which happened on April 8, a man in his early 30s with a thick Kelantanese accent drove up to the front gate of Markas Taktikal 749 in Banding.

He told the sentries he wanted to use the prayer room at the army camp and insisted on being allowed in despite repeatedly being told to move off.

The sentries then gave him a prayer mat and said they would let him pray near the sentry post.

After performing his prayers, the man, who appeared to have been angered at not being let inside, issued a veiled threat to the sentries.

"You all better cleanse your own souls and stay inside the camp. Don't come out," he shouted at them as he drove off in his Perodua Kancil.

Police investigations revealed the man was from Jeli, Kelantan, about 125km from Gerik.

Security at the army camp, formerly known as Kem Sri Banding, has also been increased.

It is a forward base for army operations along the Malaysia-Thailand border.

Bukit Aman is not taking any chances with the IS threat facing the country.

A day before the incident, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned that police stations and military camps were believed to be targeted by IS militants hoping to steal firearms.

The plan came to light following the arrest of 17 individuals suspected to be IS militants on April 5.

Bukit Aman issued a directive dated April 11 to state police chiefs, OCPDs and department heads, informing them to take added precautions and look out for suspicious persons entering police stations.

All visitors must be thoroughly screened at the sentry post before being allowed into the stations.

The circular also called for security at police armouries to be doubled, especially those at stations in rural areas.

Officers-in-charge must also have constant briefings with their men to review security at their stations.

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