Commentary Local

Little success from big anti-terrorist ops

The ops in Cyberjaya.

The ops in Cyberjaya.

Written by Aziz Hassan

August 14, 2017.

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

FROM the time of the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960, the police Special Branch has always been known to be very effective in what it does. Thus it was most unusual for three recent big-scale operations led by the SB should have resulted in very little success.

Among those roped in to be involved were the police Special Action Unit or UTK, Immigration and National Registration Department. Also brought along were radiation detectors.

The first operation was in the Masjid India area on August 6, especially a multi-storey condominium right behind the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.

News reports said every unit was thoroughly checked and photos showed that doors that were locked and where the knocks not answered were broken down.

The targets were people suspected of being involved with terrorism, especially foreigners who tried but failed to enter Syria through Turkey to join the Islamic State.

In total 409 foreigners were arrested but after thorough screening, only ONE was detained further as a suspect.

Of the others most were likely to have committed immigration related offences, especially for overstaying.

This was followed by an operation in Cyberjaya four days later, where 290 people, including 98 students, mainly from the Middle East were screened.

The result? None was found to be linked to terrorism. As in Masjid India, the most likely offences were immigration related. A total of 57 were detained for not being able to produce identification documents or for over-staying.

Yet another operation was led by the federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division under Datuk Ayob Khan in Nilai yesterday and this time most of the 429 people screened were from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Four Pakistanis and a Malaysian have been detained but so far there are no indications that anyone of those checked is linked to terrorism.

Malaysians appreciate what is being done to ensure their safety and that terrorists are not free to cause mayhem but the way the three ops had been conducted point to the lack of proper intelligence which our SB is renowned for.

It is as if the SBCT-D simply decided to cast its net as far and as wide as possible and then hope for the best.

It is said that the authorities are looking for 16 terror suspects but after the news on the first ops in Masjid India filtered out, all of them would have disappeared from their usual abode, maybe to go across the border too.

The last places they would want to be staying at are the hotspots – locations known to have a large concentration of foreigners.

A policy to ensure popularity?

Strange indeed this policy of the Penang government to allow anything illegal pre-2008 to continue operating so long as the factories or stalls do not block traffic or affect surrounding residents. But what about those that came to exist after 2008?

According to villagers living about a kilometre from a sawmill in Sungai Lembu, the pollution has been unbearable. There is also the suspicion that the many cancer-related deaths of young villagers may have something to do with the problem.

And in another strange mind-twisting logic, the state’s DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has come out firing by asking the people to blame the Barisan Nasional if action is finally taken by the state because it is the coalition that is demanding for this. So is this how a political party gains points with the electorate – by accommodating those who break the law?

Another strange decision, this time in Kulim

IT was reported too that the Kulim District Office has given a company until the end of September to remove 20 statues described as inappropriate from a Bali-themed park.

The decision was taken following a meeting on Wednesday on the removal of several statues, including those of deities.

“We have also instructed the developer to provide the district office with a written list of the statues and new ones which they plan to build for submission to the state mufti for consideration on its suitability,” Kulim district officer and administrator Mohamad Che Nai said.

Last Tuesday, the district office ordered the closure of the park and removal of two female-winged statues following complaints lodged by netizens.

But why should something like this be deemed inappropriate? Inappropriate to whom? What about non-Muslims who find the park attractive and want to visit it?

The park developed by ECK Sdn. Bhd. had attracted visitors with its display of more than 30 figures and sculptures.

 

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About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.