KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The police will continue to monitor the activities of Taufik Abdul Halim, the Malaysian national who was a bomb expert for the militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), who returned to the country on Wednesday after serving a jail term of more than 12 years in Indonesia.
Principal Assistant Director of the Counter Terrorism Division, Bukit Aman Police, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police would constantly get in touch with him and monitor his activities from time to time to ensure that he was no longer a threat to national security and the public.
Upon his arrival at the KL International Airport at 11.30pm, Taufik, 39, was taken by police for an interview and given advice, and he was also reminded not to be involved again with militant activities, said Ayob Khan.
“The discussion was a rather lengthy session,” he told BERNAMA at the Federal Police Headquarters in Bukit Aman.
Asked why no follow-up action was taken against Taufik, he said although Taufik was detained following the case on the explosion at the Atrium Plaza shopping complex in Jakarta on Aug 1, 2001, the Malaysian police had no evidence to detain him because he was not involved in any violent activities in Malaysia.
“So far, what we do is to advise him to be no longer involved in matters that went against the law,” said Ayob Khan.
The local media had earlier reported that between 300 and 350 JI detainees had been released in stages from Indonesian prisons including Taufik, who lost his right foot due to the bombing incident in Jakarta.
Explaining further, Ayob Khan said that in view of Taufik’s expertise in making bombs and his ideology, there was still a possibility that the JI members would try to contact him again.
“We fear that there might be matters that they would discuss among themselves. There is also a possibility that he would train members of the public who are keen to be involved in violence. He is not only a bomb expert but had in fact been involved in two church bombing cases in Indonesia,” he said.
Asked whether the release of hundreds of detainees related to the so-called IS militant group’s activities, he said there was no difference between the JI or the Al-Qaeda because they shared the same ideology, that is to be involved in terrorism activities.
“If they are released, there will be a high risk, they will possibly be involved in the activities of the IS militant group,” said Ayob Khan, adding that the Malaysian police always worked closely with the regional and global police in the context of tackling anti-terrorism.
He said that from 2001 until now, the police had detained 294 individuals, whether locals or foreign nationals believed to be involved in militant groups.
Taufik, who is now reported to be in his original village in Kluang, Johor, had previously undergone training with the Al-Qaeda group in Afghanistan in October 1995 until February 1996.
He was also linked to the bombing incidents on two churches in east Jakarta city.
In fact, he was a member of the Malaysian militant group, Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM), and had been involved in violent activities in Ambon, Moluccas in 2000.
Taufik was a former student of architecture at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and was involved in terrorism after he was believed to have been influenced by his brother-in-law, Zulkifli Abdul Khir, the most wanted individual in Southeast Asia who was being tracked down until today.
Zulkifli or Marwan is now believed to be in southern Philippine together with the Abu Sayyaf group.
Taufik was also previously detained by the Malaysian police in October 1996 until November 1996 under the Internal Security Act (ISA).