KUALA LUMPUR - Militants had been reconnoitring potential terror targets in the city for a few weeks and shooting videos of the locations.
Bukit Aman federal police headquarters, the Jalan Travers police station, entertainment outlets and other strategic locations were among the targets.
Their aim: to create chaos and steal weapons caches.
However, their plans went up in smoke when two suspects were detained by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division recently.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the first militant, a 25-year-old teacher, was detained in Petaling Jaya on Dec 23.
He was working at a private religious school in Subang Jaya.
Fuzi said the man was arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) on Nov 9, 2015, and sentenced to 18 months’ jail.
He was released on Nov 9 the following year, but instead of reforming, became active again in Islamic State (IS) activities.
The suspect, said Mohamad Fuzi, was also planning to kill non-Muslims as his false beliefs told him the killings were warranted, and he also believed that their assets could be seized.
Sources said the teacher has been an IS militant since early 2015 and was also actively promoting IS ideology on Facebook with the aim of recruiting new militants.
“We also discovered that he has connections to former IS members and former Kumpulan Militan Malaysia members who were previously detained under the Internal Security Act,” said the IGP.
The second suspect, a 23-year-old Indonesian man, was arrested last Wednesday.
Mohamad Fuzi said the second militant had set his sights on Bukit Aman and Jalan Travers police station.
“We discovered that he already reconned both locations and recorded videos.
“We believe he was planning to raid the weapons storage at both locations along with other police stations in the city, as well as army camps,” he said.
Any weapons stolen would then be used to launch more terror attacks in Malaysia and Indonesia, he added.
It is learnt that once his plans were set, the suspect would have led the attacks, backed by five countrymen.
Authorities believe he managed to recruit some of his Indonesian co-workers.
Besides taking videos, the suspect also used a map application to pinpoint the locations of other police stations, a source said.
Other sources revealed that Bukit Aman was picked given its proximity to a nearby forest, giving the militants a good escape route.
The militants also saw Bukit Aman as the perfect symbol to attack as it represented the best of the Royal Malaysia Police, the sources added.
It is believed that the suspect had been doing reconnaissance for a few weeks but finally went out to shoot footage of the locations on Wednesday.
Based on credible intelligence, the police arrested him after he completed the recordings, a source said.
Mohamad Fuzi said the suspect had taken an oath of allegiance to a senior IS leader via WhatsApp.
The suspect had even waved the IS flag at the construction site where he worked to show that the terror group is still active in Malaysia despite defeats in Iraq and Syria.
It is learnt the suspect entered Malaysia via Stulang Laut in Johor Baru from Batam in 2016 and then moved to Kuala Lumpur.
Mohamad Fuzi said both men have been held under Sosma.