KUALA LUMPUR - Military grade hand grenades were used in a blast at the popular shopping district of Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, but there is no link to terrorism so far, say authorities.
Prime Minister Najib Razak condemned the attack and vowed to bring the culprits to justice, The Malay Mail Online reported on Thursday.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the violence that occurred this morning in Bukit Bintang," said Mr Najib in a brief statement. "Such lawlessness will not be tolerated. The police investigation is underway, and the perpetrators of this crime will be found and brought to justice."
Deputy Kuala Lumpur CID chief Khairi Ahrasa said the hand grenades were likely to have been sourced overseas for the attack in the early hours of Thursday morning outside Cherry Blossom club. Police received a call on the case at 4.25am.
Kuala Lumpur CID Chief Gan Kong Meng said the blast, which killed Malaysian car jockey Tiong Kwang Yie, 36, and injured 12 others, was the work of more than one person and may have involved a business feud. He said police have identified the suspects.
Datuk Ayub Khan, a senior counter-terrorism official in the city, also ruled out terrorism.
"It was a gang rivalry," He told Malay Mail Online.
Among those injured were a Singaporean named Wong Kim Teng, two from China and one from Thailand.
The victims were injured by the shrapnels from the grenades. An eyewitness told reporters that the grenade blast left people lying wounded and bloody on the streets.
They were admitted to the nearby Tung Shin Hospital for treatment, The Star newspaper said.
New Straits Times reported that one hand grenade was believed to have been thrown from the second floor of the Sun Complex. The second grenade, which did not explode, was found under a Toyota Camry and was detonated on Thursday morning.
Four vehicles were damaged in the blast - a Toyota Vellfire, a Toyota Camry, a Mazda 2 and a BMW.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi called on the public to remain calm, The Star reported.
He said police were investigating the incident and he was still waiting for the updated report from the police on the incident.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said police will take swift action against those involve in the bomb blast.
He said he has yet to get information on the motive behind the explosion and those who were behind the crime.
"We have yet to have information on the motive behind the explosion or who was behind it.
"It could be done by locals or immigrants,'' he said. "It could also have been due to business rivalry between the clubs in the area."
AFP reported that such incidents are rare in Muslim-majority Malaysia. But concern has been growing over the potential for militant violence, after authorities said scores of Malaysians are believed to have gone to join the bloody civil war in Syria.
Security officials have expressed fear that such recruits could become radicalised there by the ISIS group, importing their extremist views after returning home or inspiring violent anti-Western attacks by supporters in Malaysia, where a moderate brand of Islam prevails.
Police said in August they had arrest 19 people in an amateurish plot to carry out a wave of ISIS-inspired bombings in Malaysia.