Malaysia is generally considered to be among the more moderate members of the Muslim world. Apparently, however, that hasn’t stopped terrorists from trying to use the country as a base of operations. Over the last two months 19 different people, some of them Malaysian citizens, have been swept up in terror sweeps. Over the last few days, two people have been arrested.
First Suspect Arrested on Firearm Charges
The two arrested suspects have been accused of serious crimes. The first suspect, a 46 year old male, was arrested in the norther state of Perak. Police accuse the man of manufacturing home made rifles, and supplying ammunition. Apparently, the subject was arrested with a home made rifle in his possession as well as 400 different rounds of ammunition.
Unlike the United States, Malaysia has very strict gun control laws. Few people own guns and ownership requires a demonstrated need and a license. If fond guilty of possessing and distributing fire arms and weapons, the man could face very stiff penalties. Malaysia is known for its harsh criminal code and is one of the few countries in the world to still use the death penalty.
It is unclear why the man had weapons in his possession. Given the low quality “home made” nature of the weapons, it’s less likely that he was working at the behest of a global network, such as ISIS or Al Qaeda, and possible that he was working for Muslim separatist elements in nearby Thailand, or perhaps terrorist cells in Indonesia.
Second Accused of Helping Filipino Separatists
The second suspect, a 29 year old male, was arrested in a separate case in Sabah, which is East Malaya, an on island separate from peninsular Malaysia. Apparently this suspect was arrested for aiding Filipino separatists who believe that a portion of Malaysia’s holdings actually belong to a disposed Filipino sultan.
In 2013 approximately 200 individuals claiming to represent the Sultanate launched a military invasion in East Malaysia. The Malaysian government initially tried to isolate the invaders and then negotiate their surrender peacefully. Talks broke down, however, and several dramatic fire fights ensued. In total, over 68 militants were left dead, a long with ten Malaysians.
Some believe that some of the militants escaped and disappeared into the jungle. These militants could still be out in the woods somewhere, planning their next attack. As a result of the attacks, thousands of immigrant workers were also deported.
House raided in Selangor, Malaysia
Selangor, which surrounds the capital and primary city of Kuala Lumpur, is generally considered Malaysia’s most developed state. That hasn’t stopped the state from being a base for militants, however, as apparently the police raided a home suspected of harboring terrorists. Details of this most recent raid have not been released.