Malaysian police have detained three terror suspects under a tough security law for allegedly trying to revive the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militant group in Kuala Lumpur, a report said on Friday.
The trio, aged between 43 and 53, are believed to have met with Singaporean militant Mas Selamat bin Kastari, who was captured in Malaysia's south in April after escaping from detention in Singapore, the Star newspaper said.
Mas Selamat is said to be the head of the Singapore cell of JI, an underground group linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for the 2002 Bali bombing and other bloody attacks in Southeast Asia.
"I confirm the arrests, but I cannot reveal anything further," police chief Musa Hassan told AFP. "They are arrested under the preventive laws."
The news report said the three men, believed to be ordinary JI members, were picked up by police last week in southern Johor state after months of investigation.
It said an investigation was under way into whether they recruited any more members in recent months.
Rights groups condemned the arrests, made under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite detention without trial.
"We completely condemn the arrests and demand the detainees be put on trial or release (them) immediately," the Abolish ISA Movement coordinator E Nalini said in a statement.
The ISA, which dates back to the British colonial era, when it was used against communist insurgents, has been used against suspected terrorists as well as government opponents.
Prior to the latest arrests, the Home Ministry said in parliament last week that there are 12 people being held under the ISA for alleged militant activities and falsifying documents. Half of them are foreigners.
The 12 were among 100 people who have been detained under the security law since 2004, according to the ministry.