Eleven suspected terrorists being held in Malaysia are being investigated over their alleged links to Syria, and not over the probe into missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, the Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.
A top government official reportedly said they were being interrogated for planning to send guerrillas to fight in Syria's civil war, among other things.
"If this is not nipped from the beginning, we are worried that it will involve the political stability of Malaysia," Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters on Friday.
"We are taking this action because we do not want Malaysia to be a training nest for terrorists. We do not want Malaysia to be considered as the launchpad for terrorists in Southeast Asia, or even the entire world."
The suspects, aged between 25 and 55 years of age, are being held under a new Malaysian security law which allows police to hold suspects for up to 28 days without charge.
'Nothing to do with the plane'
It was reported on Sunday morning that the 11 suspected terrorists with links to al-Qaeda were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the disappearance of Flight MH370, which vanished from radar screens in the early hours of March 8, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.
But Malaysian police swiftly rejected the report linking the missing flight with al-Qaeda, describing it as "rubbish.”
"That’s rubbish! This has nothing to do with the plane,” Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told The Star on Sunday.