Zahid: China praised us for nabbing 29 Uighur Muslims


BEIJING: Sharing biometric information with China since 2011 enabled Malaysia to arrest 29 Uighur militants involved with the Islamic State (IS) militant group and deport them to China for prosecution, says Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The deputy prime minister said China had praised Malaysia’s action over their arrests and bilateral cooperation in the security aspect has strengthened since.

“They were arrested after having entered Malaysia through neighbouring countries by using false passports and personal information,” he said to Malaysian journalists here yesterday.

Also present at the press conference were Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Malaysian ambassador to China Zainuddin Yahya.

The Uighur people are the majority ethnic group in China’s Xinjiang region which has a Muslim-majority population.

Zahid, who is also home minister, said Malaysia’s success in handling the issue of Uighur Muslims had prompted Meng Jianzhu, Secretary of the the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China, to convey at a meeting with him that China agreed to provide several pieces of equipment for the use of the Counter Messaging Centre (CMC) supervised by the Malaysian police.

He said the centre was responsible for tracking and solving terrorism related messages, including obtaining information on terrorist activities and groups financing such activities to plan attacks in the country, southern Philippines and southern Thailand.

Zahid said China also commended the proactive measures taken by Malaysia to address online gambling and fraud such as the Macau scam in which the country managed to arrest 416 of the republic’s nationals and had deported them from 2014 to 2016.

He said the fraud, involving Malaysian and Chinese victims, recorded a loss of 500,000 million Chinese yuan (RM317 million).

“This move was taken because such crimes destroyed the family institution and affected the family income of victims,” he said.

Hence, he said, cooperation between China and Malaysia would be intensified through the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) whereby both countries could deport nationals who are wanted for offences relating to trans-border crimes.