Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated on Sunday (25 March) that the two Malaysians working as janitors in Singapore who were arrested by Malaysian police on 1 March for allegedly hatching terrorist plots did not pose a security threat to Singapore.
Seven suspected terrorists were arrested by the Malaysian police in the course of a two-week counter-terrorism operation between 27 February and 15 March.
Royal Malaysia Police stated that ix of the suspects were Malaysian members of an Islamic State (IS) cell who were arrested in Johor for allegedly planning attacks on non-Muslim places of worship in the Malaysian state and plotting to kill police personnel.
The seventh suspect was said to be a Filipino who is an Abu Sayaf member and was arrested in Sabah.
Among two arrested who worked in the country, one of the suspects was found to have acted as an intermediary in the purchase of firearms for the terrorist cell, while the other was arrested to help the police with investigations.
“Following information received from the Malaysian authorities, the Singapore authorities picked up the two Malaysians who were said to be involved in terrorist plots in Malaysia for investigations. Both men were handed over to the Malaysian authorities after our investigations showed that they did not pose a security threat to Singapore,” MHA stated.
According to the Malaysian police, three suspects between the ages of 30 and 49 were arrested in the first operation on 27 February.
The first suspect was believed to be the mastermind behind the planned attacks on the non-Muslim places of worship in Johor. The 37-year-old man was said to be actively recruiting new members to the IS cell. The second suspect is a 49-year-old security officer who acts as an adviser to the terror cell and was tasked with ensuring that cell members kept their activities a secret and that those who leaked their secrets were given orders to be killed. The third suspect is a 30-year-old security guard who was tasked with acquiring firearms from neighbouring countries and also allegedly conducted “recce” sessions on non-Muslim places of worship for potential targets.
According to the police, the three suspects had planned to escape from the country following the success of their mission and had wanted to seek refuge from other terrorist groups in the region.
On the same day, three other members of the IS cell, two of which the duo who worked in Singapore cell, were arrested in follow-up operations by the police.
On 28 February, a 25-year-old waiter was arrested. He was accused of receiving orders from the group to kidnap and kill members of the police force.
On 15 March, a 31-year-old member of an Abu Sayaf member was arrested in another operation in Sabah. He was accused of having a link to Malaysian militant Mahmud Ahmad who had joined an IS cell in southern Philippines. He is also in Philippines authorities’ wanted list for his involvement in a kidnap-for-ransom syndicate.