Federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay speaks to reporters during the press conference in Kuala Lumpur. -NSTP/Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

KUALA LUMPUR: Police arrested seven men including two assemblymen for allegedly supporting, promoting, recruiting, funding and being in possession of items related to Sri Lanka based militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the arrests were made during a series of operations in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah and Melaka between 9am and 2pm today.

He said all seven suspects had been under their radar for alleged involvement in terror-linked activities since last November.

Ayob told a media conference that the Melaka state assemblyman and his Negri Sembilan counterpart were detained for supporting the ideology of LTTE, which had been classified as a terrorist group in Malaysia since 2014.

“Both the assemblymen had attended the Melaka LTTE Heroes’ Day ceremony on Nov 28. They both delivered speeches and openly supported the terrorist group and also found delivered brochures linked to the LTTE.”

Ayob said the third suspect was a 28-year-old scrap metal dealer from Rawang, who was the organiser for the KL LTTE Heroes’ Day event that was held annually in November.

“He was also found guilty of injuring the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sept 4, 2016. He was fined RM10,000 for the offence. He was also found in possession of items related to LTTE.”

The fourth person arrested was a 38-year-old insurance agent in Kuala Lumpur. Police believed he had planned for the Sri Lankan High Commissioner attack in 2016 and was also in possession of items related to LTTE.

“The fifth suspect is a 37-year-old taxi driver from Sungai Siput, Perak. He was found recruiting, promoting and in possession of LTTE related materials.

“He was also involved and found guilty of injuring Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia at the airport in 2016. He was fined RM10,000.”

Also arrested were a 27-year-old technician from Kulim, Kedah, and a 57-year-old eatery operator in Sungai Buloh.

The technician was suspected of possessing LTTE materials while the eatery operator was accused of supporting and promoting LTTE on social media.

Ayob reiterated that E8 was not prejudicial as claimed by certain parties, as police had launched operations against other militant groups such as Islamic State (IS), Jemaah Islamiyah and Sikh militant organisation, Babbar Khalsa.

“Between 2001 and 2012, we arrested 284 of Jemaah Islamiyah militant members; 512 IS members since 2013 and; 25 LTTE members since 2009.

“Police, particularly the E8, has constantly monitored and launched operations against militant groups. Similar actions were also taken against a Sikh militant organisation, Babbar Khalsa.

“Today's operation is against the LTTE supporters, we will take action on anyone who violates the laws.”

He also did not rule out that police would make more arrests on LTTE supporters in the country.

Ayob said the action taken was to cripple the expansion of LTTE in the country.

“Such movements must be stopped before it grows. We have received information that people are trying to revive LTTE not only in Malaysia. Four people were arrested in Europe days ago on suspicion of supporting LTTE.”

Ayob also lashed out at those who want to turn the arrest into a racial issue.

“Before this, why was there no noise made by any politician on the arrests of other terror groups?"

843 reads