Police: Ayah Pin Still A Threat

Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia - The Terengganu police still consider "Sky Kingdom" cult leader Ayah Pin or Ariffin Muhamad, 65, as a threat as the influence of his deviant teachings have yet to be removed completely.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said, however, his arrest would depend on the Terengganu Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAT) as the police could not defy any decision of the department which had jurisdiction in matters pertaining to Islam.

"In the near future, there may be an arrest," he told reporters when asked to comment on the statement by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan yesterday instructing Terengganu police to get clarification from JHEAT on why it had yet to permit the police to arrest Ayah Pin though he was reported to have returned to the state recently.

Mohd Shukri said that during a meeting with JHEAT yesterday, police were informed that the department was trying to get Ayah Pin's one-time followers back to the Islamic faith.

"Police have been informed that some of the followers now perform Friday prayers and have begun to mingle with the community," he said.

In KEMAMAN, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said instructed JHEAT to submit the latest report on Ayah Pin to him soon.

Meanwhile, a check by Bernama on what was once the site of Ayah Pin's Sky Kingdom at Kampung Batu 13, Hulu Besut in Besut found it unattended and abandoned.

The places where a large hall, a giant replica of a teapot and so-called Noah's Ark stood were covered with bushes and undergrowth. The burnt shell of Ayah Pin's four-wheel-drive vehicle, torched by a group of masked men four years ago, lay near the barricaded main gate to the village.

Twenty families, believed to be Ayah Pin's followers, still live in the village. Among them are three of Ayah Pin's wives -- Zaharah Awang, Ruzilan Mokhtar and Nik Kamariah Nik Pah.

Che Minah Remeli, 64, the first wife, is believed to have gone abroad with Ayah Pin when the village was demolished by the Besut District office on a court order on July 31 2005.

Then, 49 followers of Ayah Pin, among them a New Zealand woman, were detained to assist investigations.