Norian alleged that the eight had undergone holy war or military training in Afghanistan and that the Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia was linked to the murder of Lunas assemblyman Dr. Joe Fernandez last year and believed to be responsible for bombing a church and a Hindu temple and the attack on the Guar Chempedak police station on Feb. 4.
Norian said the militant religious group was exposed in May when nine of its members were arrested after a foiled robbery at the Southern Bank branch in Petaling Jaya on May 18, in which one robber was shot dead.
In early June, when he announced the arrest of the nine - six of whom are presently detained under the ISA and three facing charges under Firearms Act - Norian said the nine militants belonged to a group who wanted to create a “purist” society, who may have links with Osama ben Laden, an Arab wanted for several international terrorist acts as well as behind the murder of Joe Fernandez.
"These were not mere criminals involved in murders, attempted murders and robberies. They have links with a greater motive.
"From what we have obtained so far, we believe they are influenced by foreigners who promote militancy in the name of jihad (holy war). They are a threat to national security and we are on the lookout for others."
Norian also said that the nine had served with militant movements in Afghanistan and Ambon, two hotspots which had captured international media attention.
However, up to now, no one has been charged with the murder of Joe Fernandez.
The government should present a White Paper in Parliament next week on Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM) to demonstrate that the police allegations about the local militant religious group with international terrorist links are more substantial than the earlier one against the ISA reformasi activists for being involved in a militant plot for violent overthrow of government
In April, Norian had justified the use of the Internal Security Act against reformasi activists which led to the formal detention of Ezam Mohd Nor, Saari Sungib, Tian Chua, Hishamuddin Rais, Dr. Badrul Amin and Lokman Adam on the ground of a militant plot for the violent overthrow of the elected government, which began in September 1998 by adopting various measures such as: (I) taken steps to obtain explosives including bombs and grenade launchers; (ii) used molotov cocktails, ball bearings and other dangerous objects to attack security forces and create disturbances during street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur in October 1998; (iii) acquired the assistance of silat instructors and influenced a number of former security forces personnel to join their movement.
But up to now, the police has not been able to produce one iota of evidence to justify the ISA crackdown against the reformasi six.
As I said at the time, if the reformasi six had committed offences of plotting the violent overthrow of the elected government, they should be charged in open court for treason giving them an opportunity to defend themselves, and not incarcerated under the detention-without-trial ISA which allows for frame-ups and baseless allegations.
Similarly, if the government has evidence of the eight arrested under the ISA yesterday for being members of a militant religious group with international terrorist links to destabilise Malaysian society, including murders and mayhem, they should be charged in court and put through an open trial - and not be detained under the ISA.