KUALA LUMPUR - A civil servant said to be one of the most senior Islamic State (IS) members in Malaysia and a 29-year-old housewife who recruited a 14-year-old girl into the militant movement are among three people detained by Bukit Aman.
The 39-year-old civil servant was arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Monday while the housewife was picked up in Muar on Saturday.
The third suspect - a 22-year-old trader - was also arrested in Perak on Monday.
The three were detained by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division in separate operations.
"The housewife is believed to have influenced and recruited the girl via Facebook and other media. Police are investigating whether she was also targeting other girls for IS," a source said.
"The trader is suspected of funding the girl's trip to Cairo and may have allocated funds for her expenses," added the source.
The civil servant is believed to have used his position to recruit members to ensure the local militant network ran smoothly.
"He is a senior IS member with direct links to Malaysians in Syria," said one of the sources.
Another source said the civil servant was also responsible for creating Facebook pages and other communication means for the local militant network.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said all three suspects had planned to head to Syria "in the near future".
Vowing that Bukit Aman would never let Malaysia become a hotbed for militants, he pledged to use all resources to hunt them down.
Two weeks ago, the 14-year-old girl was detained as she was about to board a plane bound for Cairo.
The girl had intended to marry a 22-year-old Malaysian student in Cairo before making her way to Syria to join the IS.
In Britain, The Telegraph reported that Scotland Yard was trying to track down three teenage girls who were suspected of travelling to Syria to join the IS.
The report stated that the Metropolitan Police were extremely concerned about the girls from east London who were believed to have attempted to travel to Syria via Turkey.