KL police chief defends decision to deport suspected Egyptian militants

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's police chief defended himself yesterday for deporting five Egyptians on suspicion of being militants who supported the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, after senior lawmaker Anwar Ibrahim questioned the move.

Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said Malaysia's security was at risk and the police were merely carrying out instructions from the deputy public prosecutor (DPP).

"We received orders from the DPP to deport them, so we immediately had to get things going as this is a serious threat to the country," Tan Sri Fuzi told reporters after officiating at an event, as quoted by the Malay Mail news site.

"Some of them entered using a fake passport. So don't tell me we need to tolerate such an obvious crime while jeopardising the country's security?" he said.

"We don't want these foreign fighters to make our country a safe haven to carry out attacks. We have the information on that. That's why we took drastic action," he added.

Mr Fuzi had issued a statement on Sunday saying the five men were among seven foreigners who were recently deported after being arrested last month in a series of raids.

Two of the foreigners, a Tunisian and an Egyptian, were said to be members of Ansar al-Sharia al-Tunisia, a North African-based organisation listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations.

The five Egyptians, the police chief said, confessed to being supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egypt-based Islamist group banned in Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Datuk Seri Anwar, president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat - the party with the most number of Members of Parliament - said he found out through his checks that the police deported the men without consulting relevant ministers or Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Anwar, who has made comments supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood in the past, said Malaysia must not depend on claims by foreign intelligence agencies and that it must be wary of countries that do not follow due process of the law.

QUICK ACTION NEEDED

We received orders from the DPP (deputy public prosecutor) to deport them, so we immediately had to get things going as this is a serious threat to the country.

INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE MOHAMAD FUZI HARUN

He was alluding to comments by rights groups that fear that the men deported to Egypt would be tortured, as the group is branded a terrorist organisation in the country.

Deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man of Parti Islam SeMalaysia, a party that supports the Muslim Brotherhood, also railed against the government for the deportation of the Egyptians, who he said were believed to be "opposition political activists".

Malaysia's decision to deport the Egyptians contrasted with its decision to send 11 Uighur men to Turkey last October, though China demanded their return.

The group had escaped jail in Thailand to enter Malaysia.

Malaysia had said then that there were fears they could face torture in China.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'KL police chief defends decision to deport suspected Egyptian militants'. Print Edition | Subscribe