A father and his son were given long prison terms yesterday for planning attacks aimed at installing an Islamic regime in Malaysia.
Murad Halimmuddin, 49, and Abu Daud, 25, pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Murad was given 18 years' jail and his son 12 years.
Murad is believed to be the leader of a group called "Fisabilillah".
Both men "admitted in court that they planned to kidnap politicians, raid army camps for weapons and overthrow the government", said prosecutor Shukor Abu Bakar.
Four others, including two airforce personnel and an Indonesian, pleaded not guilty to similar charges and will appear in court again on Aug 28.
All were part of a group of 17 men nabbed in April when the authorities said they had foiled terror attacks in Kuala Lumpur and the administrative capital in Putrajaya.
"We are lucky we have good intelligence. If not, bombs would have exploded in Kuala Lumpur," Datuk Ayub Khan, Special Branch counter-terrorism principal assistant director, told The Straits Times.
Malaysia and Indonesia have stepped up security, fearing calls by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for "calamity" during Ramadan could lead to further bloodshed after last week's killings in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.
"We are very aware of ISIS' (Ramadan) message. We have tightened security as Ramadan is when ISIS followers believe it's the best time to die as a martyr, as it is a holy month," said Indonesian national police spokesman, Inspector-General Anton Charliyan.
Last week, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani told followers to turn Ramadan into a time of "calamity for the infidels... Shi'ites and apostate Muslims".
"We have tightened security since April, not just since Ramadan," said Datuk Ayub. "We have given clear instructions to all states in the country to increase security."
Tunisia saw the most bloodshed last week when a lone gunman shot and killed 39 people, most of them foreign tourists, at a beach resort.
Insp-Gen Anton said Bali, which was bombed twice, in 2002 and 2005, has been deemed a "high-risk area". "Terror attacks are nothing new to us. We are closely monitoring various groups," he said.
ISIS has set up a unit called Katibah Nusantara (Malay Archipelago Combat Unit), noted counter-terrorism analyst Jasminder Singh.
"Symbolically, it represents the Muslims of South-east Asia. Substantively, the Malaysians and Indonesia have been active supporters of ISIS through manpower, social media," says the research analyst with Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.