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Johor police station attack probe continues, suspect’s family detained under public security law SOSMA

The Malaysian Home Minister said the authorities need more time to thoroughly investigate the family members of the Ulu Tiram police station assailant, following the 17 May attack that resulted in the deaths of two police officers. Earlier investigations revealed that the deceased suspect was not a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, though his father had past associations with the terror group.



JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA: Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on Tuesday (28 May) stated that authorities need more time to thoroughly investigate the family members of the Ulu Tiram police station assailant, following the 17 May attack that resulted in the deaths of two police officers and the assailant.

Saifuddin explained that the arrest of the suspect’s five family members under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) is justified, as killing security force members is a severe offence and poses a threat to public safety.

He noted that Singapore has also tightened security controls at their entry points in response to the incident.

“Several initial measures, such as those under the Penal Code, with their limited detention periods, are insufficient for comprehensive investigations.”

“Due to the gravity of this case, the police need more time to complete their investigation and ensure public safety and order,” he added.

He made these remarks to the Malaysian media on Tuesday after attending a special committee meeting to address congestion at the Johor Causeway and visiting the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex.

On 17 May at 2:54 am, the 34-year-old assailant, identified as Radin Romyullah Radin Imran, attacked the Ulu Tiram police station on Jalan Kota Tinggi, killing two policemen and injuring another.

The slain officers were identified as Constable Ahmad Azza Fahmi Azhar, 21, and Constable Muhamad Syafiq Ahmad Said, 22.

Corporal Mohd Hasif Roslan was wounded during a shootout with the suspect, whom he subsequently shot and killed.

Investigators recovered a Walther 9mm automatic pistol and a Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun belonging to the police from the scene, indicating a physical altercation with the suspect.

Suspect was not a member of extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah

Initially, Malaysian police suspected Radin had links to the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

However, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain stated on 18 May that the suspect was not a member of JI.

The initial suspicion that Radin was linked to JI was based on information indicating that his 62-year-old father was a member of the terror group.

However, further investigation revealed that Radin had no connections with any terror group.

On 24 May, the police chief announced that five of the suspect’s family members were held under SOSMA after their remand period ended the same day.

Seven individuals, including the suspect’s five family members aged between 19 and 62, were detained to assist in the investigation under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

However, two students from higher learning institutions were released unconditionally last Wednesday.

Police Chief Razarudin stated that none of the four children in Radin’s family completed their education.

The suspect only studied up to primary four, his younger sister was not sent to school, the eldest sibling, a woman, studied until primary six, and the second child, a male, was educated until primary five.

“The beliefs and ideology within this family are radical,” Razarudin added.

Based on police interviews with community members and individuals with links to JI, Home Minister Saifuddin stated that the family had isolated themselves and held beliefs that negatively impacted others.

Malaysian authorities have used SOSMA for internal security issues, including public order, acts of terrorism, sabotage, and espionage.

Under SOSMA, the police may detain a person for up to 28 days, and bail shall not be granted to those arrested. If charged, the offences will be tried by the High Court.

Earlier, Minister Saifuddin described the 17 May Ulu Tiram police attack as a ‘lone wolf’ incident, noting that the assailant did not interact with others.

Following the incident, Singapore stepped up its security measures, including increased patrols and enhanced checks at checkpoints.

As a result, motorists entering Singapore experienced heavy traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint due to the enhanced security checks.

In a positive development, Corporal Mohd Hasif Roslan, the 38-year-old policeman who was seriously injured during the attack, was discharged from the hospital on 26 May.

JI’s persistent threat in Malaysia

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) is a militant Islamist group established in 1993 by Indonesians Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar.

With historical ties to al-Qaeda, JI has orchestrated numerous high-profile terrorist attacks, notably the 2002 Bali bombings, claiming 202 lives.

Abu Bakar, imprisoned in Indonesia since his 2010 arrest, was released in January 2021 after serving 11 years of his 15-year sentence.

In Malaysia, JI’s presence has been notable, serving as a sanctuary and operational hub for its leaders in the 1980s and 1990s.

Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun stated that if Abu Bakar Bashir were released, Bukit Aman’s Counter Terrorism Division would closely monitor him due to ongoing threats from JI activities in Malaysia.

Abdullah Sungkar, the other founder, passed away in October 1999. In the early 2000s, Malaysian authorities apprehended several senior JI members, disrupting their networks.

Despite these efforts, JI remains a threat, sustaining its ideological sway and recruitment capabilities through Islamic schools and personal connections.

The previous incident of a Malaysian police officer being brutally attacked

The most recent incident of a Malaysian police officer facing a brutal attack occurred at the Pinggiran USJ police station in Subang Jaya, Selangor, in August 2017.

In this tragic event, Lance Corporal Valentino Mesa was discovered deceased by his colleagues at 3:30 am upon their return from a routine patrol.

The victim suffered severe head injuries from being slashed before being fatally shot.

It is suspected that the assailant utilized Valentino’s own service weapon to carry out the shooting.

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Do not even think of coddling terrorists.

But if you do, do not be surprised when the snake decides to bites you.