A man had attempted to kill several senior officials of the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration last year, including ex-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a police anti-terrorism unit disclosed in an online forum today.
Special Branch Counter Terrorism assistant director Azman Omar said the man had planned to execute the assassination in January 2020, but was arrested before he could carry them out, The Malaysian Insight reported.
“He wanted to stab them with a knife in a lone wolf attack. We managed to stop him from committing the crime in January 2020 a few months before the country was put under lockdown,” Azman was quoted saying.
Apart from Dr Mahathir, the man was targeting former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, former minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa, and former attorney general Tommy Thomas.
The news portal did not report if the senior policeman disclosed further information about the would-be assassin, including the age, nationality, whether he was a hired killer or otherwise, and whether he is still under detention or if charges have been filed in court.
Azman was reported to be speaking about how the police had thwarted several terrorism plots last year.
He said the counter-terrorism unit, also known as E8, had made only seven arrests last year, including the would-be assassin.
Five of them were supporters of the Islamic State (IS) in Malaysia. The sixth who was arrested in Singapore with the help of local police, was also a supporter of the global terror network.
In comparison, Azman said the E8 made more than 10 raids and arrests in 2019 and 109 raids and arrests in 2018.
Azman gave an assurance that the E8 is continuing to monitor all those known to sympathise with the IS.
“The sympathisers became demotivated after the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi as well as the death of many Malaysian fighters in Syria.
“The mood has flattened and the death of Abu Bakar has affected many. It is now a lost cause for them,” he was quoted saying.
Azman disclosed that to date, 56 Malaysians who went abroad to support the IS are now stranded in Syria, 19 of them men, 12 women and 25 children.
He said the men are placed in two prison camps while the women and children are placed in refugee or humanitarian camps.
While efforts are being made to bring these Malaysians back, he said the problem is those controlling the camps are not affiliated with the Syrian government.