Asia Malaysia minister: 75 held for Daesh links up to April

Malaysia minister: 75 held for Daesh links up to April


Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

(AA) – Malaysia has detained around 75 suspects allegedly involved with Daesh for using the country as a transit hub up to April this year, the home minister said Thursday.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told parliament that the detainees were suspected of traveling through Malaysia on their way to fight in Syria and Iraq, while also serving as recruitment agents seeking to gather more Malaysians to join the cause.

“Six people had been charged and sentenced under Crime Prevention Act 2013, 25 individuals have been released and 13 foreigners have been chased out of the country,” he said.

Of the 75 detainees, around seven remained under investigation while another 24 are undergoing legislation processes to be charged under the country’s Security Offenses Act.

The Malaysian parliament passed a controversial anti-terrorism bill Tuesday, in a bid to contain Daesh and other terrorism-related ideologies in the country.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act includes a clause that reintroduces detention without trial, three years after it was revoked, and disallows judicial reviews on such decisions by a Prevention of Terrorism Board.

Under the law, suspects can be first detained for a maximum of 59 days – including the initial remand period – before being brought to the board, which can then order further detention of up to two years.

Following this, the detention period can be renewed if the board decides there are reasonable grounds. It can also direct a person to be set free if deemed necessary.

The bill does not allow any judicial review in any court, and notes that no court should have jurisdiction over decisions by the board in its discretionary power.

It has drawn strong opposition and been compared with the scrapped Internal Security Act, which was used by previous governments to detain individuals – including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng – without trial.

Hamidi has insisted that the new anti-terror legislation totally differs from the Internal Security Act.