KUALA LUMPUR: Most terror acts planned for Malaysia by followers of the Islamic State are hatched locally.
However, the terrorist threat has been contained for now due to the limited capabilities of the cell members and continuing police efforts to thwart them, according to a report in The Straits Times.
This was revealed by Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the police counter-terrorism division’s principal assistant director, during a briefing for foreign diplomats in Malaysia, said the report.
Saying “most plots were masterminded by local Daesh (IS) elements without instruction or coordination from Syria”, he added: “This threat to create chaos is very much contained.”
Ayob also told them local cell members had not mastered the skills to produce improvised explosive devices even though they had access to bomb-making materials.
Separately, Ayob told Malaysian media that the police, with the collaboration of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), would restrict websites that disseminate IS’ militant ideology.
The MCMC had stopped the circulation of a IS digital newspaper that was also produced in the Malay language.
Ayob had also said that police were closely monitoring the activities of former militant detainees in the country to ensure they did not join or rejoin the IS.
The ST report said IS leaders in Syria were encouraging followers in Southeast Asia to launch local attacks, as the group was losing territory in its stronghold.
Last week, the Indonesian police nabbed a group in Batam whose leader was planning to launch an attack on Singapore’s Marina Bay, using a rocket.
Their arrests came after collaborative intelligence efforts between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia,
In June, IS launched its first attack in Malaysia when two men threw a grenade into a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor, injuring eight people.
Since 2013 police have arrested 230 members of IS in Malaysia, with most arrests made this year, the ST report said. Of the total, 200 were Malaysians.
Police have secured 48 convictions and 77 were charged, while 59 others were released.
Ninety Malaysians were also found to have gone to Syria, with 21 killed, including seven suicide bombers. Eight Malaysians returned and were arrested, added the report.