Everything About the Johor Police Station Attack & Their Suspects That is Known So Far


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In Malaysia’s Johor state on Friday morning (17 May 2024), a man suspected to be part of the militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) attacked Ulu Tiram Police Station, killing two officers and injuring another.

The 21-year-old suspect, wearing a mask and armed with a machete, entered the Ulu Tiram police station shortly after 2AM, according to Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain.

When a police constable approached the suspect, he was subsequently killed by the suspect with a machete and had his pistol taken.

This led to a firefight at the carpark area of the police station, in which a second officer was killed and a third was injured, as reported by Mr Razarudin in a televised press conference.

The suspect was also killed during this fight.

Here’s everything we know about this violent crime so far:

What Happened Before and After

Mr Razarudin explained that the incident commenced when two students, a 22-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, arrived at the Ulu Tiram Police Station around 2:30AM on 17 May.

He informed local media that the pair sought advice from the police concerning a sexual assault case that occurred two years ago.

Shortly after, the masked and armed suspect arrived on a motorcycle and proceeded to the rear of the police station. A police officer approached him, and during the encounter, the officer was slashed in the neck.

The bodies of the two police officers and the suspect have been transported to Hospital Sultan Ismail for autopsy and further investigations.

The injured officer has also been admitted to the same hospital for treatment.

What Were the Attacker’s Alleged Motives?

After the attack, police officers searched the suspect’s home and found evidence confirming his membership in Jemaah Islamiah (JI), according to Mr Razarudin.

“We also discovered that the suspect had prepared for this, padding his bag with zinc sheets and other materials to use as a shield during a firefight with police,” Mr Razarudin had said.

“He appeared to come to the police post to acquire a gun for his unknown agenda. I have directed the Special Branch to identify all JI members in Johor and summon them for questioning,” he added.

When asked by reporters about the motive for the attack, Razarudin stated, “They are JI members… we suspect it was to obtain weapons, but further investigation is needed.”

It is also revealed that the suspect had no criminal records prior to this attack.


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What Exactly is Jemaah Islamiah (JI)?

Mostly based in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiah (JI)—Arabic for “Islamic Congregation”—is a Southeast Asian Islamist militant group committed to establishing a pan-Islamic caliphate through violent means.

JI is behind some of Indonesia’s deadliest terror attacks, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed over 200 people.

Reports indicate that JI’s spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, established a religious school or madrasah in Ulu Tiram called Luqmanul Hakiem in the early 1990s.

This school was attended by Noordin Muhammad Top, the suspected mastermind of the 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings, as well as Mukhlas, another JI militant involved in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Following the attack, experts felt the need for Malaysian authorities to enhance security in Johor, which borders Singapore, and across the entire country.


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One expert pointed out that while Malaysia has been focused on the threat from the Islamic State (ISIS), they now also need to address the threat from JI.

He also suggested that authorities review old records and account for ex-detainees and former members of JI, as well as the presence of Malaysian students studying in JI-affiliated schools in Indonesia.

There are also speculations that the police killings might have been executed by a JI splinter group, noting that the last JI terror attack occurred on 16 September 2014, with the Rizal Park Monument bombing in the Philippines, which resulted in one death and seven injuries.

Seven Other People were Subsequently Arrested

In the press release, Mr Razarudin disclosed that authorities are actively tracking down over 20 individuals suspected of having connections to JI for questioning.

He also revealed that all five members of the suspect’s family, aged between 19 and 62, have been taken into custody. Among them is the suspect’s father, a 62-year-old who is a known member of JI.

It was reported by neighbours that the arrested family kept a low profile and mostly kept to themselves, stating that they lived deep within the village, and although they were occasionally seen coming and going, there were no indications of extremist or terrorist affiliations.


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Moreover, the aforementioned two people who were at the police station filing a report right before the attack were also detained.

Mr Razarudin noted that their report, which concerned an incident occurring two years ago, appeared suspicious and might have been intended to divert police attention away from the attack.

He additionally announced that security measures have been heightened at police stations, the state’s palace, and the official residence of the Johor chief minister to ensure safety and prevent further incidents.

Singaporeans Advised to Exercise Vigilance While Travelling in Malaysia

Ulu Tiram is a suburban town situated approximately 20KM from Johor Bahru and is about half an hour drive from the causeway to Singapore.

It is also in proximity to Mount Austin, a well-known shopping destination favoured by Singaporeans.


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As such, the Singapore government has issued advice for Singaporeans in or travelling to Malaysia to remain vigilant.

In a press release on Friday evening, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) urged individuals to exercise caution and ensure personal safety.

The MFA is closely monitoring the situation in Johor Bahru alongside the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru.

Additionally, it recommended that Singaporeans travelling to Malaysia register with MFA through its website for emergency assistance. The MFA also encouraged travellers to purchase comprehensive medical and travel insurance before heading abroad.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently in Kazakhstan, expressed determination to address the situation.

Emphasising the need for strong measures to counter such acts of violence, Anwar urged the public to remain vigilant and cooperate with authorities to prevent further incidents.