Terrorists using fake Malaysian IDs to sneak in, get jobs: Report

This article is more than 12 months old

Suspected foreign terrorists entering Malaysia using fake identity documents

KUALA LUMPUR Suspected foreign terrorists are using forged Malaysian identification documents to enter Malaysia without being detected, the New Straits Times reported yesterday.

Several suspected foreign terrorists had crossed the country's borders using assumed identities, the paper reported, citing police and an enforcement agency source.

They included those from the Philippines, who have sneaked into the country from Sabah through illegal sea lanes.

Once in Sabah, the men would obtain their identification documents and move on to peninsular Malaysia.

The suspected terrorists then used the documents to apply for jobs, even working as security guards, or to register for local mobile phone numbers.

One of the men who was arrested by counter-terrorism operatives has been identified as a Filipino named Nurhan Sahi Hakim. He got a job in the country with an identity card under the name of "Yusof Attang". Using the new identity, the 33-year-old allegedly recruited another individual into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group.

Charged over the alleged offence, he confessed to buying the card for only RM350 (S$117).

Police identified another of the men as a 22-year-old named Dahwan who bought a forged identity card in Sabah for RM1,000 and later worked in Kuala Lumpur.

"The availability of fake Malaysian identification documents is worrying, especially when we don't know who bought them and where they are," the paper quoted the enforcement agency source as saying.

"The worry is these people could make their way to sensitive areas."

South-east Asia regional director for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals Andrin Raj said foreigners who hold fake Malaysian identification documents pose a national security threat.

"Terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, in the past had established Malaysia as the 'centre' for securing fake documentation in South-east Asia," the paper quoted him as saying.

Authorities, he said, needed to go beyond arresting terrorists and look into the supporting links that help to fund transnational criminal groups.

Last month, authorities arrested a 52-year-old Malaysian woman in the east coast of Sabah, who was allegedly behind a fake identity card syndicate, The Star reported.

Authorities also seized bank savings books, fake birth certificates and marriage certificates among other incriminating documents when they raided the woman's house on Jan 31.