Cops arrest eight for cutting TM cables in Melaka, causing losses worth RM500,000

The Telekom Malaysia logo is seen on the TM Tower in Bangsar November 22, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
The Telekom Malaysia logo is seen on the TM Tower in Bangsar November 22, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

MELAKA, Aug 5 — Police have arrested eight men on suspicion of deliberately cutting Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) fibre-optic cables which caused a telecommunication outage on July 30 and losses amounting to RM500,000.

It affected government buildings — like the courthouse — and banks in Ayer Keroh, the Bukit Baru housing area, Kandang and Merlimau.

Melaka Tengah district police chief, ACP Afzanizar Ahmad, said the suspects were arrested at different locations in Melaka Tengah and Jasin, as well as Muar and Batu Pahat in Johor between 12.50am on Aug 3 and 7pm on Aug 4.

Investigations are still ongoing, but he does not discount the possibility that the suspects — aged 24 — 42 and former TM contractors, including a supervisor — may have acted maliciously because of business rivalry over contracts.

“A 36-year-old TM technician made four police reports at the police station in Kandang on July 31, Merlimau on August 1, and Bukit Baru on August 1 and 3.

“Subsequently, a special team was assembled and suspects 1 — 6 were arrested in Muar and Melaka Tengah, while two more gave themselves up at the Melaka Tengah District Police Headquarters (IPK),” Afzanizar said at a press conference after a recovery movement control order (RMCO) standard operating procedure (SOP) briefing today.

He added that two of the suspects aged 26 and 27 have an arrest record for drug- and car theft-related crimes, and that everyone is on remand for four days for investigation under Section 427 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum two years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

He said three vehicles, a manhole key and pliers believed to have been used in committing the crime were also confiscated.

In a separate development, Afzanizar said 82 compound fines totalling RM82,000 were issued to members of the public, business operators and customers since April 8 for not adhering to the National Security Council (MKN) and Ministry of Health SOP.

“Some 30 people have paid the fine, with the main offence not having a designated person at the entrance of F&B premises recording customer temperature and details, as well as operating beyond the permitted hours,” said Afzanizar.

At the same time, business or entertainment premises operators are not allowed to ask for or keep a visitor’s identification card and should actually be using the MySejahtera app or manually recording particulars as per SOP, he said. — Bernama