KUALA LUMPUR: It was a case of biting the hand that feeds – a senior government official allegedly approving a tender contract for Hambali, the leading terror suspect in South-East Asia.
The Indonesian preacher, who migrated to Malaysia in 1985, used the company, Al Risalah Trading, to obtain government contracts after he obtained a Class E contractor’s licence.
Among the tenders, said to have been awarded to him, were the installation of water pipes in Selangor by a senior Water Supply Department engineer.
Hambali was also believed to have been awarded the tender to supply stationery to a school in the state, with the help of a headmaster.
Although the two were government servants, they were suspected to be Jemaah Islamiah (JI) members and are now detained under the Internal Security Act.
According to Malaysian police, Hambali, in turn, helped other JI members from the profits he made through business ventures.
“He gave RM25,000 to Feri Muchlis bin Abdul Halim, the son-in-law of Abdullah Sungkar, as investment in Muchlis’ company, which was awarded two projects.
“The company was given contracts to build two smart schools in Selangor,” a police source said.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai said police were still investigating the claim because they viewed it seriously.
Muchlis, 46, an Indonesian welder with Malaysian permanent residence status, was arrested under the ISA on April 17 last year, for his involvement in the Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM).
Abdullah Sungkar is the founder of JI, a militant group suspected of several terror activities, including the Bali blast last October.
Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir took over the leadership after Abdullah’s death in 1999.
According to police sources, the awarding of contracts was now under investigation to find out whether procedures were adhered to.
”We view this seriously and we certainly want to find out whether the contracts were given just because they had links with JI,” the source added.