Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Seven suspects, including two state lawmakers from Melaka and Negri Sembilan, were arrested by Bukit Aman(Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters) counterterrorism operatives today for their alleged involvement in promoting, supporting and sourcing funds meant for the now-defunct terror group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, confirmed during a press conference today that the two assemblymen were arrested for participating in an LTTE “Heroes Day” celebration in Melaka last year.
“They attended the celebration on November 28 last year and delivered speeches that contained elements that showed support towards LTTE.
“Both of them were also found to have leaflets and had distributed material at the event last year that were related to LTTE,” he said.
Ayob said the remaining five suspects were arrested at locations within the capital, Rawang and Sungai Buloh in Selangor, Sungai Siput in Perak, and Kulim Kedah.
Among those nabbed by counterterrorism personnel was a 28-year-old man who organised the annual “Heroes Day” celebration in Kuala Lumpur and works as a secondhand items seller in Rawang.
“This suspect was also convicted for an offence where he was found to have injured a Sri Lankan High Commissioner at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on September 4, and was previously fined RM10,000,” said Ayob.
Malay Mail today reported Penang Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy as confirming the arrests of two DAP state lawmakers, G. Saminathan, a Melaka state executive councillor, and Negri Sembilan assemblyman P. Gunasekaren.
Ayob said investigations showed the fourth suspect, a 37-year-old taxi driver arrested in Sungai Siput this morning, had also been convicted and fined RM10,000 along with a trader from Rawang for his involvement in causing hurt to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in 2016.
“The suspect had also attended a covert meeting that was held in Sungai Perak aimed at recruiting and spreading LTTE propaganda in Malaysia,” he said, adding how materials related to the terror group was also found in the cabbie’s possession.
Another suspect, a 38-year-old insurance agent, was arrested in the capital where investigations showed he was planning to stage an attack on the High Commission of Sri Lanka here. He also allegedly owned materials propagating LTTE ideology.
The two remaining suspects, Ayob said, were a 27-year-old technician from Kulim and a 57-year-old eatery owner nabbed in Sungai Buloh.
The technician was arrested for allegedly supporting the LTTE and owning materials related to the terrorist group, while the eatery owner was said to have supported and spread the group’s ideology through social media.
Ayob then explained how detailed investigations had begun last November following the ‘Heroes’ Day’ celebrations. He also did not rule out the possibility of more arrests being made.
“To the police, it does not matter who the individual is. Anyone found to be involved in terrorism activities, regardless of their political party, religion, race, if there is evidence that they are involved in terrorism activities, we will arrest them,” he said.
He added that all the suspects were arrested for offences under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
Possiblity of More LTTE Related Arrests Not Ruled Out by Malaysian Police
The police have not ruled out the possibility of arresting more individuals to facilitate investigations into the case involving the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group in Malaysia.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said the police had 28 days to conduct investigations on the seven individuals, including the two state assemblymen who were detained yesterday.
“The police are not ruling out the possibility of more individuals being arrested to assist in the investigations if there is enough evidence,” he told a press conference at the Bukit Aman monthly assembly, here today.
In this regard, he advised all parties to stop making statements that could affect the investigation process and public perception.
However, he pointed that there were no restrictions on individuals or parties who wanted to voice their personal views, but it would be a mistake to support, promote or raise funds for the LTTE terrorist group.
Commenting on the purpose of activating the LTTE in the country, Ayob Khan said: “From what we can see, the pictures shown are LTTE images, this is not a matter of the Tamil rights struggle in Sri Lanka and so on, it is a struggle for promoting the terrorist group.”
He reiterated that according to the laws of the country, the LTTE has been listed as a terrorist group since 2014, adding that it was also listed as a terrorist organisation in the United States, India and Sri Lanka.
Yesterday, seven individuals including the two state assemblymen from Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, were arrested in the operation carried out by Bukit Aman as they were suspected of promoting, supporting, possessing materials and channelling funds to the LTTE.
All of them were detained in operations around Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur.