Self-radicalized Malaysian who had access to Changi Airfreight Centre detained under ISA

file photo
file photo

A Malaysian man was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) last month after investigations revealed that he had been planning to take up arms in Syria or Palestine.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 33-year-old Muhammad Nur Hanief bin Abdul Jalil had been prepared to join any militant group available — including the Islamic State, Free Syrian Army or Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — and get involved in armed conflict, believing that said groups would unite at the “end-of-times”.

The man had worked in various jobs here since 2011, including being a driver with a local airfreight company that enabled him access to the Changi Airfreight Centre, which is a restricted area.

Since 2008, Hanief was exposed to online materials of foreign extremist preachers such as Imran Hosen and Zakir Saik, and was influenced by the teachings of Mufti Menk and Haslin bin Baharim — both of whom were previously banned by the MHA for teaching “divisive doctrines”.

It was only in 2017 following setbacks in work and personal life that the Malaysian decided to act on his plans after seeking advice from Haslin.

“He contacted Haslin bin Baharim and sought his advice on whether he would become a martyr if he was killed in a conflict zone in Syria,” wrote MHA in their statement.

“Haslin’s response was that it was God’s will if one should die as a martyr, which Hanief interpreted as an affirmative reply. “

Though he didn’t show any indication of attempting to radicalize others or plan terrorist attacks in Singapore, MHA still deemed him to be a security threat to Singapore. With his work pass canceled, Hanief was repatriated to Malaysia sometime this month.

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