KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians who went to Syria and Iraq to join IS felt deceived and disappointed as they were tasked to do menial jobs such as cleaning toilets.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said these Malaysian recruits regretted their move as things in Syria were not what they imagined them to be.
"They were not involved in the battlefield. They regretted because they are given tasks to clean toilets or sweep rubbish or do other tasks that they do not consider to be for warriors," he said at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said Malaysians who died while in Iraq and Syria were not directly involved in battle but were mere casualties due to the belief that they would become martyrs in the end.
He said these Malaysians had undergone rehabilitation, with 97.5 per cent of them deradicalised.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said he, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were among those on the kidnap list of the Daesh or Islamic State (IS) militant group last year.
"On Jan 30, 2015, a total of 13 people who had ties to Daesh had planned to kidnap the leaders," he said, adding that the terrorism and security threats in Malaysia were "very real".
It is learnt that the terror cell, allegedly led by former Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) member Murad Halimmuddin Hassan, had been planning to raid weapon storages in Kem Hobat in Gurun, and a firing range in Kem Bukit Pinang, both in Kedah.
It is believed that the cell targeted a security van carrying a significant amount of cash from Genting Highlands so that they could use the funds for their jihad.
Among the members of this cell were two Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said although there was no Daesh cell specifically in Malaysia, there were many followers and sympathisers who were influenced by their ideology and even received orders directly from the organisation in Baghdad.
"The most obvious Daesh activities were between September 2014 and May 2015, during which the police traced and prevented four terrorist groups who wanted to attack several locations in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, places of worship and crowded public places," he said in reply to Datuk Abdul Manan Ismail (BN-Paya Besar) who asked the Home Ministry on the success of the police in preventing terrorist attacks planned by IS in the country.