Monday, June 13, 2011

Biometric system foiled JI agent

The biometric system that Malaysia has implemented is working well and was instrumental in the re-arrest of Jemaah Islamiah sleeper agent Agus Salim.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said because of the biometric system the authorities were able to detect Agus, who was using an Indonesian passport with a false name to enter the country.

Hishammuddin said there was no problem at airports and ports in using the biometric system but there were some hiccups at the Johor and Singapore entry points.

“The matter is being resolved,” he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of the Libaran Umno division here yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the system was good for the country and could go a long way in checking criminals as well as militant or terrorist groups trying to enter the country.

Asked about two Malaysians detained in Manila for suspected involvement in a militant group, Hishammuddin said the Government was investigating the claims by the Philippines authorities.

“We have met with family members of the two detained.

“If it (the terrorist claim) is not true, we hope, through our good relations with Manila, they will be released soon,” he said.

The Malaysians, Abdul Aziz Usman and Omar Abu, were arrested in Davos on May 28.

Officials in Manila claimed that Usman is suspected of working as a finance officer for a terrorist group that is associated with the Abu Sayyaf group and the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.

On another matter, Hishammuddin said the Government would extend the Second Hand Dealers Act 1946 to Sabah and Sarawak to check rampant thefts of cables and scrap metal in the two states.

The Act is currently applicable only in Peninsular Malaysia.

“For me, the extension of the Act to Sabah and Sarawak is greatly needed in view of the high incidences of thefts involving (electric and telephone) cables and metals,” Hishammuddin said.

He said police statistics showed there were 159 thefts involving cables and metals worth RM1.1mil last year but within the first four months this year there were 116 cases involving losses of RM2.4mil.

In Sarawak, there were RM3.2mil losses due to theft of cables and metals last year. In the first four months of this year, 80 thefts involving RM1.3mil in losses were reported.

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