The Malaysian authorities, some equipped with radioactive detecting devices, have detained nearly 700 people as they broke down doors and cut off locks in the last two days in large-scale sweeps on foreign terror suspects just ahead of the SEA Games next week.
They nabbed 290 migrants in the second leg of a major terror swoop on Wednesday just outside Kuala Lumpur, as the police chief delivered a strongly worded message to another country for dumping in Malaysia "high-risk" individuals suspected of militant acts.
Led by the police, the authorities nabbed 290 people in Cyberjaya town, near the KL airport, on Wednesday, after detaining 409 in downtown Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
The foreigners from countries such as Syria and Iraq underwent a screening process at the Sepang district police headquarters, near the airport. So far, none of them has terrorism links, police told reporters yesterday.
Malaysia had previously filed an objection with Turkey for allegedly deporting foreigners arrested for security reasons to Malaysia, with their entry helped by bilateral visa-free access.
"We deserve to know who's being deported to our country - we're not a dumping ground for unwanted individuals who pose security threats. Why should our country's security be left to chance?" Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told The Straits Times.
"If anything happens to our country, no one is going to claim responsibility (for contributing to it). Be fair to us," he said.
Wednesday's raids were targeted at Cyberjaya township, about an hour away from KL.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said last week that the authorities were searching for at least 16 militants deported from Turkey.
The 16 were detained by Turkey allegedly just before they crossed the border to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group. KL has protested against Turkey's procedure of allowing suspected militants to choose their destination for deportation without informing the receiving country.
For the first time in carrying out security operations in Malaysia, police deployed personal radiation devices, or the RadEye, to detect radioactivity.
Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the devices will help the authorities detect radioactive materials and neutralise an area.
"Before this, we wouldn't know if we entered a premise that had radioactive material, but with these devices, my men will not be exposed," he said.
The devices will also be used during the SEA Games, which kicks off on Aug 19.
The police have deployed about 7,000 personnel in the vicinity of the games village and venues till Aug 31.
KL police chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh said athletes would be escorted by police to and from the competition venues.