KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia police have heightened alert against foreign terrorist fighters infiltrating the country, following the arrest of nine terror suspects in February.
The inspector general of police Mohd Fuzi Harun, in a statement issued on Sunday (Mar 10), said the police viewed their presence seriously and will continue to cooperate with foreign intelligence agencies to weed out undesirable elements.
Nine terror suspects including six Egyptians and one Tunisian were arrested in Klang Valley and Sarawak between Feb 2 and Feb 9.
Two of them, a 21-year-old Egyptian and a 22-year-old Tunisian, are said to be members of Ansar Al Shariah Al Tunisia who entered Malaysia using false Syrian travel documents.
Based in North Africa, Ansar Am Shariah Al Tunisia is listed by the United Nations as an international terrorist group responsible for planning large scale attacks in several countries.
The other five Egyptians picked up by police special branch on counter terrorism are members of Muslim Brotherhood Al Ikhwanul Muslimin and functioned as facilitators to secure lodging, logistics and jobs including buying air tickets for members.
Two of them were students from institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, while another two were teachers, one at a religious school in Klang valley and another an Arabic teacher.
Also arrested were two Malaysians in Serian Sarawak who were charged with terror offences as facilitators to foreign fighters.
All seven foreigners were deported to their home countries on Mar 5 and blacklisted in Malaysia.
Since Islamic State was defeated in Syria and Iraq, Mohd Fuzi said foreign fighter elements are now trying to use Malaysia as a safe haven, transit and logistical hub to plan an attack in a third country.
When contacted, police counter terrorism assistant commissioner Ayob Khan declined to give details because it involved a third party. He added that Malaysia is working actively with foreign intelligence agencies.
The Malaysia police also outlined some of common methods used by foreign fighters to come in and operate in Malaysia including marrying locals in order to get a spouse visa. Others exploit their student visa or try to set up businesses in Malaysia.