Malaysia detains 8 terror suspects, foiling possible threats against king, PM, and others

Malaysian authorities arrested eight individuals after investigations showed suspected terror-linked threats to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the nation’s king.

Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said six men and two women with suspected links to Daesh and Islamic State were rounded up over the weekend in various parts of the Muslim-majority country, he said in a statement.

He said an initial investigation by the police “has also found that there are threats against His Majesty the (king), the prime minister, prominent figures and top leadership of the Malaysian police force”.

Their arrests followed several operations carried out in May, he said in a statement on Monday. The eight suspects included a housewife, an unemployed person and a well-educated professional, the minister said.

The arrests came just over a month after an attack on a police station in the southern Malaysian state of Johor killed two law enforcement officers and injured another. Authorities initially suspected the attacker was linked to Indonesia-based militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), but later said he had likely acted alone.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an interview with SCMP in his office in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Photo: Hadi Azmi

A day after the incident, Malaysian authorities arrested two men with a machete for attempting to enter the national palace and gain an audience with King Ibrahim Iskandar. The monarch hails from Johor and is currently serving as Malaysia’s king under its unique rotating monarchy system.

JI has been blamed for a series of deadly bomb attacks in the region, including the 2002 bombings in the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians

Saifuddin urged the public “not to be worried” about the country’s order, saying that the police would curb terror threats at an early stage.

Police inspector-general Razarudin Husain in March said that Malaysia would be scaling up security.

Additional reporting by Associated Press


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