MALACCA: There were covert meetings and unusual visits by people from other states at Islamic State (IS) militant Muhamad Wanndy Muhamad Jedi's house here prior to his leaving for Syria.
But it only made sense to his neighbours after a video footage that he filmed of another Malaysian posing beside the corpse of a man beheaded by the IS in Syria surfaced in the media days ago.
Several neighbours told The Star that they noticed about eight people, including two women, visiting the home in Jalan Bukit Tambun, Durian Tunggal. Some stayed for days.
They said the visits took place between August and December last year, and then stopped.
The neighbours said that they never asked Muhamad Wanndy, 25, about it because he was "an unfriendly person".
He was hostile to his neighbours and often quarrelled with them, said one of his friends who wished to remain anonymous.
"He is short tempered," said the friend, adding that Muhamad Wanndy had been expelled from secondary school.
"His neighbours always advised me to stay away from him because he kept bringing girls home."
The friend offered more details on the clandestine activities that took place.
Three men, two from Kelantan and one from Kedah, stayed at Muhamad Wanndy's home for long periods between November and December last year, he said.
He claimed that among the other visitors was 25-year-old Umi Kalsom Bahak from Negri Sembilan who was charged in the Sepang magistrate's court on Nov 1 with supporting IS militants.
"Umi Kalsom went to the house some time in October last year," he said.
According to him, the two men from Kelantan were in their 20s.
"I heard that they came here because their home state was hit by massive floods.
"But they seemed more interested with updating their Facebook pages than finding out if their families facing the disaster were alright. I found that strange," he said.
The friend said Muhamad Wanndy often went to Kuala Lumpur to meet with a foreigner in his 40s who spoke with an Indonesian accent and who gave large sums of cash to him and the others.
"I don't know the identity of the foreigner but Muhamad Wanndy often returned home with bags of money after each trip.
"He told me the cash was for the militant group (IS) and would hand out the money to his contacts," said the friend.
The friend, in his 20s, was asked to join the Majmu'ah al Arkhabiliy, a 100-strong unit made up of only Malaysian and Indonesian militants that was under the command of IS, but he declined.
"I was surprised that Muhamad Wanndy joined. He never attended Friday prayers or even performed his prayer obligations by going to a surau in all the years that we were friends.
"Suddenly he became pious at the end of last year. I find that hypocritical."
He said that he had befriended Muhamad Wanndy because he was a troubled person and had hoped to set him straight through religion.
Muhamad Wanndy, he said, left his home in Durian Tunggal in 2012 after his family members accused him of stealing his mother's belongings after her death from leukaemia that year.
His father died when Muhamad Wanndy was a young boy, said the friend.
He said Muhamad Wanndy then worked in Kuala Lumpur and he believed that was when he became involved with militant recruitment activities.
"He came back to Malacca some time in August last year," said the friend.
Muhamad Wanndy moved in with his 28-year-old brother who worked at a telecommunications outlet in Ayer Keroh while his two younger sisters, 21 and 24, were married and lived elsewhere.
He wedded Nor Mahmudah Ahmad, 26, before they left for Syria on Feb 26 and the solemnisation ceremony was at a Thai border town.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said police were investigating Muhamad Wanndy's militant connections.