Malaysian police nab 11th terror suspect

KUALA LUMPUR - Police have detained another individual believed to be linked to a pro-militant group bent on committing terror attacks in Malaysia, bringing the number of those arrested to 11.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the latest suspect was arrested here while he was attempting to flee the country.

"We are tracking down the remnants of the group found in the Royal Malaysian Police's list," he told a media conference here yesterday.

On Monday, nine individuals, aged between 22 and 55 and believed to be involved in militant activities, were arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Division of the police's Special Branch based in Bukit Aman.

Three were arrested in Kedah and six in Selangor. The following day, another individual was arrested here.

Zahid said the government would not allow Malaysia to be used as a launch pad for terrorists.

"We want to stop this militant group from recruiting more members through social media, organisations or individuals."

On whether there was any militant group that used a political party as a cover in the country, Zahid said there were none so far.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the arrest of the 11th individual involved in militant activities, but declined to furnish details, Bernama reported.

The New Straits Times had reported that the new terror group being hunted down by Bukit Aman's Special Branch was ready to launch a terror campaign in the country, including bombings, against Western and American interests and anything else that stood in its way.

Sources close to the investigation had disclosed that the organisation had borrowed tactics from terrorist groups Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Kumpulan Mujahiddin Malaysia (KMM), and revisited foiled plans of attack and was ready to carry them out.

The group, claimed sources, was not averse to using violence to fight secularism. Its members are planning to target foreign embassies, entertainment outlets and places frequented by Westerners.

Its plans included a hit similar to the botched JI attack on Dec 31, 1999, in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar.

Back then, the JI members had planned to blow up six pipe bombs in the area. The plan was foiled after the explosives failed to detonate because of rain.