Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Man to 350 church leaders: Stay cautious against terrorists!

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https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/165935

CHURCHES in Malaysia have been advised to step up security measures as the threat of extremist attacks is still present, although the situation is under control.

The advice came from Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (CTD) principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay at a briefing for Christian leaders from all over the country, held at a church in Subang Jaya, Selangor, earlier this week.

He told the gathering of some 350 church leaders that the threat of attacks by extremists is still present, but under control.

Police have thwarted several attempts to attack houses of worship, he said, but urged churches to continue exercising caution nevertheless.

Ayob told The Malaysian Insight that his speech to Christian leaders touched on the issues of terrorism and national security.

“My briefing was to serve as a reminder, as there have been arrests and intelligence reports on plots to attack houses of worship.

“I spoke about the importance of having security measures at churches. There should be functioning CCTVs and enough lights, for example. They need to report to the cops if there are suspicious individuals in the vicinity.”

The briefing was organised by the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, an alliance of evangelical churches in Malaysia.

Chairman Reverend Eu Hong Seng said he is thankful to police and the government for taking the initiative to keep churches informed of the situation in the country.

“This whole thing (briefing) started because of a spate of violence recently. They advised us on steps to improve security,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Police recently revealed a plot by terror suspects to attack houses of worship in Malaysia, following the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka that claimed more than 150 lives.

Another Christian leader who attended the meeting said the measures recommended by police are “common” ones, such as installing CCTVs and ensuring good lighting at churches.

He said Ayob described houses of worship as “soft targets” as many do not take such precautions.

“He shared information on possible threats, and said police have been able to prevent incidents from happening. He was telling churches about being prepared,” said the leader, who declined to be named.

In April, Ayob said the CTD had foiled 24 attempts to launch terrorist attacks in the country, and that police were constantly monitoring “lone wolves” and “wolf packs”, referring to cells that operate independently and are not necessarily linked to the Islamic State.

The following month, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the force was hunting three terror suspects who allegedly plotted large-scale attacks on houses of worship.

The trio were named as Syazni Mahzan and Nurul Azim Azizan, both from Bedong, Kedah, and Indonesian Fathir Thir, whose last known address was in Banting, Selangor.

Hamid said they were part of an IS cell.

Also in May, police arrested four men from the same group for plotting the bombings of houses of worship and an entertainment outlet, and assassination of a number of high-profile individuals.

Hamid at the time said those arrested had wanted to “avenge” the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim by attacking the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple. – July 6, 2019.

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https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/165935

CHURCHES in Malaysia have been advised to step up security measures as the threat of extremist attacks is still present, although the situation is under control.

The advice came from Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (CTD) principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay at a briefing for Christian leaders from all over the country, held at a church in Subang Jaya, Selangor, earlier this week.

He told the gathering of some 350 church leaders that the threat of attacks by extremists is still present, but under control.

Police have thwarted several attempts to attack houses of worship, he said, but urged churches to continue exercising caution nevertheless.

Ayob told The Malaysian Insight that his speech to Christian leaders touched on the issues of terrorism and national security.

“My briefing was to serve as a reminder, as there have been arrests and intelligence reports on plots to attack houses of worship.

“I spoke about the importance of having security measures at churches. There should be functioning CCTVs and enough lights, for example. They need to report to the cops if there are suspicious individuals in the vicinity.”

The briefing was organised by the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, an alliance of evangelical churches in Malaysia.

Chairman Reverend Eu Hong Seng said he is thankful to police and the government for taking the initiative to keep churches informed of the situation in the country.

“This whole thing (briefing) started because of a spate of violence recently. They advised us on steps to improve security,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Police recently revealed a plot by terror suspects to attack houses of worship in Malaysia, following the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka that claimed more than 150 lives.

Another Christian leader who attended the meeting said the measures recommended by police are “common” ones, such as installing CCTVs and ensuring good lighting at churches.

He said Ayob described houses of worship as “soft targets” as many do not take such precautions.

“He shared information on possible threats, and said police have been able to prevent incidents from happening. He was telling churches about being prepared,” said the leader, who declined to be named.

In April, Ayob said the CTD had foiled 24 attempts to launch terrorist attacks in the country, and that police were constantly monitoring “lone wolves” and “wolf packs”, referring to cells that operate independently and are not necessarily linked to the Islamic State.

The following month, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the force was hunting three terror suspects who allegedly plotted large-scale attacks on houses of worship.

The trio were named as Syazni Mahzan and Nurul Azim Azizan, both from Bedong, Kedah, and Indonesian Fathir Thir, whose last known address was in Banting, Selangor.

Hamid said they were part of an IS cell.

Also in May, police arrested four men from the same group for plotting the bombings of houses of worship and an entertainment outlet, and assassination of a number of high-profile individuals.

Hamid at the time said those arrested had wanted to “avenge” the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim by attacking the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple. – July 6, 2019.

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