KUALA LUMPUR : Eight suspected militants, including five with links to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), were detained following a major swoop in three states, said Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
The Inspector-General of Police said the suspects were nabbed by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Sabah, Selangor and Perak between Sept 27 and Oct 6.
In the first series of arrests, two Malaysians, two Filipinos and another Filipino with a Malaysian Permanent Resident status were arrested in Sandakan, Sabah on Sept 27.
"We believe they were making travel arrangements for ASG militants into Malaysia.
"This is a follow up to the arrests of ASG militants on Sept 14," Mohamad Fuzi said in a statement on Saturday.
The IGP said a 35-year-old Albanian man, who is a guest lecturer at a local public university was also detained in Selangor on Oct 1.
"Intelligence indicated that he has connections with Islamic State (IS) militants overseas," he said.
The remaining two suspects detained were those previously arrested over terror connections in February 2013.
The country's top cop said one of the suspects - a 53-year-old man- was also a former Internal Security Act detainee.
"We believe he has been recruiting inmates in Tapah Prison and planned to launch attacks at places of worship belonging to Muslims, Christians and Hindus.
"His aim was to incite religious and race conflicts in the country," he said, adding that the suspect is said to have protected one of Tandzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia (TAQM) militants, who is still at large.
Mohamad Fuzi said the other suspect - a 37-year-old man - is believed to have recruited two Malaysians to join TAQM with the help of the first suspect.
Both suspects were detained on Oct 6, he added.