WITH the knowledge that we had, the New Straits Times Special Probes Team spoke to Terengganu Islamic and Malay Customs Council (Maidam) commissioner Datuk Mohd Rozali Salleh to understand why Ayah Pin, who had been right under the authority’s nose all the while, was never taken into custody.

He told us then, “To tell you the truth, I had rushed back to Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur on three occasions after I was told that an ambush was going to be carried out and that he would be brought in.

“This was all supposedly after indisputable intelligence had been gathered on his position. But somehow, we failed every time,” he told the team. He refused to commit if he suspected that somehow, moles within the stakeholders planning the raids had compromised their efforts.

The team was told that subsequently, a pow-wow between the police and Maidam was held, where it was revealed for the first time that a warrant of arrest against Ayah Pin was never issued.

Not even when 45 of his followers were charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment for contravening the fatwa to avoid involvement in Ayah Pin’s teachings.

“It was clear that it was an oversight, in which there was little point rectifying.

“And later, when news hit that Ayah Pin was bedridden after his stroke, the relevant authority saw no point in taking him in,” said a source involved in the pow-wow.

The team was made aware on Saturday that the sect would continue to be closely monitored by the authorities. “There are those with potential who can keep the cult alive.”

“We are also monitoring them if they attempt to leverage the cult, as a money-making vehicle,” the source said.