ISIS 'planned to kidnap Najib'

Malaysian PM Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur yesterday observing a moment of silence to mark the second year since the disappearance of Flight MH370.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur yesterday observing a moment of silence to mark the second year since the disappearance of Flight MH370.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and some of his Cabinet ministers were targeted for kidnapping by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last year, his deputy and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has revealed.

But the police managed to foil the plot and others aimed at creating disorder in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Zahid said in Parliament yesterday.

"On Jan 30, 2015, a total of 13 people with ties to Daesh (ISIS) had planned to kidnap the leaders, including the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister (Hishammuddin Hussein)," he said.

While ISIS has no branches in the country, many Malaysians have been influenced by the militant group's ideology, he said.

The kidnapping was planned by Malaysians with suspected links to ISIS. The same group also plotted to rob a security firm's van transporting money from the Genting Highlands in order to fund its extremist activities, he added.

The minister told Parliament that, besides the kidnapping plot, Malaysian police also foiled three other plans.

In September 2014, there was a plot to test improvised explosive devices in Alor Star in preparation for attacks on places of worship. The police also uncovered a plot last April to blow up Putrajaya and another in May to bomb the Freemason Lodge building in Bukit Jalil.

To tackle the ISIS threat, Mr Zahid said the government has stepped up information-sharing with other intelligence agencies, especially those in Asean. Malaysia has been able to track down the suspects with ISIS links as a result of the intelligence exchange.

The names of the suspects have been given to the Immigration Department for blacklisting and inclusion in the Suspect List to restrict their movements at the country's entry and exit points, Mr Zahid said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'ISIS 'planned to kidnap Najib''. Print Edition | Subscribe