Malaysia's anti-terror chief targeted by ISIS

The head of Malaysian police force's counter-terrorism division Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, seen as the main threat against the terror group in the region.
The head of Malaysian police force's counter-terrorism division Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, seen as the main threat against the terror group in the region. PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -Indonesian ISIS militants have issued a new threat against Malaysia and its security forces, putting their main target on the Malaysian anti-terror chief.

The Star news website reported that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have been calling on their comrades in Malaysia to eliminate the head of the Malaysian police force's counter-terrorism division Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, who is seen as the main threat against the terror group in the region.

A message in Malay circulating on social media read: "In Malaysia, which is now under the Caliphate, there is a policeman by the name of AYOB KHAN ... he is working with the infidel government. He is also responsible for the arrests of the soldiers of the Caliphate in Malaysia. All the soldiers of the Caliphate, awake now and finish off AYOB KHAN who dares to challenge the CALIPH ABU BAKAR AL BAGHDADI."

Intelligence sources told The Star that such a direct threat by Indonesian militants is highly dangerous.

"It is definitely very serious as Indonesian IS militants are very committed and have a wide network in the region and globally," a source told The Star on Friday (June 23), referring to the group which is also known as the Islamic State (IS).

"Their ties to militants in Malaysia are also quite close and the Indonesian militants have expertise in making electronic devices."

When contacted, Datuk Ayob said he was aware of the threat made by the Indonesian militants.

"Initial investigations revealed that the threat was circulated on social media since last week," he said.

"I have received many death threats over the years but this is the first time Indonesian militants have issued a clarion call to fellow militants in Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries to have me killed," he added.

He added that the timing of threat coincided with the month of Ramadan as the militants believed they would receive more blessings if they attacked him during the holy month.

"It is their own twisted beliefs. The chances of a collaboration between Malaysian and Indonesian militants to have me killed are high given their close relations," he said.

"In Syria, Malaysian and Indonesian militants formed a squad called Khatibah Nusantara operating in Raqqa. Furthermore, there is a rise of militants in Syria returning to South-East Asia given the onslaught on the IS strongholds in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria," he said.

He said the threat from Indonesian militants was more serious after several of them were detained in Slim River, Perak and Sandakan, Sabah recently.

"The suspect in Slim River detained on June 13, was an administrator for a Telegram app group that has almost 200 militants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman and European countries."

The suspect labelled the Malaysian Prime Minister as a leader who did not practise Islamic laws, and the police and army as lapdogs of a secular government, he said.

The same suspect also called on attacks on a casino in Genting Highlands and Batu Caves, he added.

Despite the threats, Ayob said the police were committed to ensuring the safety and security of the country and the people.

Since February 2013, the division has detained 310 militants, including 21 Indonesian militants.

The division also thwarted 18 terror plots, except for the Movida night club bombing last year.