The two are Hambali @ Nurjaman @ Riduan Isamuddin and Abu Bakar Bashir @ Abdus Samad, who were given PR status by the Home Ministry about ten years ago.
Both Abu Bakar and Hambali had been described by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai last Friday, when announcing the latest batch of 13 KMM arrests under the Internal Security Act between Dec. 9, 2001 and January 3, 2002, as two of the three “directing figures” of the KMM.
The third figure, Mohammad Iqbal Rahman, is at the Kamunting Detention Camp in Perak serving a two-year detention order under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Norian Mai said Abu Bakar is the leader or Amir of the Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia and Hambali is his deputy.
Berita Harian report yesterday said all the three figures are also leaders of the terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiah, which is active in Singapore.
The Home Ministry should explain why it had not taken action earlier to revoke the permanent resident status of Abu Bakar Bashir and Hambali when they had been on the police wanted list since August last year for Islamic militant activities in Malaysia.
DAP also calls for a full inquiry and satisfactory explanation from the Home Ministry as to why permanent resident status was granted in the first place to two Indonesian criminal fugitives, Abu Bakar Bashir and Hambali some ten years ago.
The three figures, Abu Bakar, Hambali and Mohammad Iqbal, were among the many Indonesian religious activists who fled Indonesia in the late 70s and early 80s following a government crackdown on Islamic militancy.
In 1978, Abu Bakar was sentenced by an Indonesian court to nine years’ imprisonment for involvement with the separatist Komando Jihad, which was fighting for the establishment of an Islamic state in the republic.
His jail term was reduced to four years following an appeal to the Central Java High Court. Abu Bakar was to spend the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, but he fled Indonesia in 1985 and headed for Malaysia instead.
He was followed by Hambali and Mohammad Iqbal, and the three established themselves in Malaysia as freelance religious teachers.
Abu Bakar obtained permanent resident status two years after his arrival in Malaysia.
Abu Bakar currently resides in Solo, Central Java and operates openly while Hambali has gone into hiding, implicated by a man recently convicted of a series of church bombings in West Java.
The Home Ministry should explain how it could have granted permanent resident status to convicted Indonesian criminal fugitives.
The Beritan Harian report yesterday quoted the Director-General of Immigration, Datuk Mohd Jamal Kamdi as saying that his department had rejected Abu Bakar and Hambali’s application for permanent resident status and that their application could have been approved on subsequent appeal to the Home Ministry.
This is most shocking and highlights a grave lapse in the entire security nexus of the Home Ministry where convicted Indonesian criminal fugitives could be granted permanent resident status to extend their Islamic militant activities in Malaysia.
A full public and independent inquiry must be held to ascertain as to how and who were responsible for overruling the objections of the Immigration Department in granting permanent resident status to Abu Bakar and Hambali, and the number of other criminal Indonesian fugitives who were able to find refuge in Malaysia to continue their criminal activities both in Malaysia and Indonesia by being granted permanent resident status or even Malaysian citizenship.