Kuala Lumpur, 4 July: The government has no plan to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) on followers of the “Ayah Pin” deviant sect, Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar said Monday [4 July].
The sect was small in number and was not a threat to the country’s security, he told reporters at the Parliament House lobby.
“We will use the existing legal provisions under the Terengganu syariah enactment to prosecute them because the Ayah Pin teachings have been ruled as deviationist by the Terengganu Fatwa Committee in 1997,” he said.
He was commenting on a 7-1/2-hour operation conducted by religious department officers and the police on the sect at Kampung Batu 13 in Besut Sunday.
Some 21 suspected followers, among them a police inspector and a member of a popular local rock group, were arrested and later released on police bail. They would be prosecuted in the Besut Syariah Court on Sept 23.
However, Ayah Pin or Ariffin Muhamad, 62, himself evaded arrest.
Noh said the government knew where Ayah Pin was and was monitoring him, including when he visited a temple in Batu Caves and in Bali, Indonesia.
He said the government would not compromise with the sect and would charge the followers in court as previous efforts to advise and rehabilitate them had in vain.
On the arrest of a police officer during the raid, Noh said the ministry was investigating his involvement in the sect.
In Kuala Terengganu, State Chief Police Officer SAC I Hussin Ismail said the police viewed seriously the involvement of members of the force in any deviant group and would take action against them.