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Mas Selamat’s return not part of POA with M’sia: PM Lee

By Terence

By Ion Danker – September 26th, 2010

Mas Selamat

Mas Selamat

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Mas Selamat Kastari’s return to Singapore was not part of the recent Points of Agreement (POA) discussions with Malaysia.

Speaking on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN Leaders meeting in New York, PM Lee told Channel NewsAsia, “We are grateful for their co-operation and help throughout this operation. And we hope that through this co-operation, we will be able to work together and make both Singapore and Malaysia in the region, a safer place from extremist terrorists like Mas Selamat and his crew.”

“We have good bilateral ties with Malaysia, we have many areas of co-operation including the POA we just settled earlier this week…. We’ve always had a good relationship (with regards to security co-operation),” he added.

Netizens had linked Mas Selamat’s release to Singapore to the historic land deal with Malaysia, where six prime parcels of land in Marina Bay and Ophir-Rochor will be jointly developed by the two countries’ investment arms and as part of the agreement, Singapore will gain six plots of Malayan Railway land – three in Bukit Timah, and one each in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands.

However, PM Lee also warned that the terror threat has not gone away even though the republic’s most wanted terrorist Mas Selamat is back in Singapore’s custody and urged Singaporeans to continue to be vigilant.

“Now that we have got him back, I think we continue to need the support of Singaporeans to tackle the question of extremist terrorism and keep Singapore a safe society. The problem hasn’t gone away. Mas Selamat is one but there are others out there in the region around us,” he said.

Mas Selamat, 49, is the Singapore cell leader of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network. He was held at the Whitley Road Detention Centre under the Internal Security Act (ISA) before he escaped on February 27, 2008 by climbing out a bathroom window. After a year on the run, he was captured in Malaysia in April 2009 and was detained there.

According to news reports, Malaysian authorities lifted his detention order, which was to expire next April, on Friday morning before deporting him back to Singapore. He was then arrested under the Singapore ISA and is currently under investigation.

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