Malaysia's PAS sacks three members over militant activities

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has sacked another three of its members who were believed to have joined militant movements in other countries.

One of them, Dr Mahmud Ahmad, is a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya (UM), Malaysian Insider news website reported on Monday.

The other two sacked from PAS were Mohd Najib Husen or Abraham, 36, and Muhammad Joraime Awang Raime or Abu Nur, 39, Malaysian Insider reported.

"All three have been dropped as PAS members in a central committee meeting on Sunday," the news portal quoted PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali as saying.

The three men were among the five Malaysians whom police were hunting for, according to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid.

Local media have said that Mahmud is believed to have arranged for four Malaysians to travel to Syria in March, including Malaysia's first suicide bomber, Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki. Mahmud is a lecturer in UM's Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought.

Najib is a stationery and photocopy shop owner in UM, while Joraime is a Selayang Municipal Council employee, the Malaysian Insider reported.

Two others identified were Mohd Amin Baco, 31, and Jeknal Adil or Jek, 30.

The police inspector-general had said that the five were identified following investigations on 19 militant members arrested by the Bukit Aman Counter-Terrorism Division since April 28. Police believe they are hiding in the southern Philippines.

"Three of them are suspected to be involved in the recruitment and arrangement of militant members from this country to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is also known as ISIS in Syria," Khalid had said, in what is believed to be a reference to Mahmud and his two friends.·

"Two more are Darul Islam Sabah members, who have now joined Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines," the news website quoted him as saying.

On May 11, PAS dismissed the membership of Lotfi Ariffin, one of those who had joined the armed movement in Syria.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, in a July 11 statement, said that PAS would not allow any of its members to join radical or armed groups in or outside the country, the Malaysian Insider reported. He said that PAS would not hesitate to take action against anyone found to be involved with radical groups, including removing them from the party.

"PAS is carefully examining the latest developments taking place in Iraq and Syria and ask our members, supporters and all the people to understand the current situation," he said, adding that PAS had always supported a peaceful and democratic process.