: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has gazetted a total of 72 organisations as unlawful after they were found to be linked to secret societies, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
He said the action was taken with regard to threats that could be triggered by the organisations involved, including activities that may threaten peace and raise ''fear of crime'' among the people.
"These organisations whether registered or unregistered, usually carry out underworld activities such as organised crime, gangsterism, murder, attempted murder, racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.
"Taking into account the threat they pose, we have taken measures to curb the activities of these organisations," he said when winding up the debate on the royal address at the Dewan Negara today.
Nur Jazlan said any individual who joined these organisations could also be prosecuted under Section 43 and 52 (3) of the Societies Act 1966.
MOHA, through the police department has also conducted the ''Ops Cantas 1 and 2'' operations to curb the activities, he said.
Meanwhile, on the abduction cases of pastors Raymond Koh Keng Joo and Joshua Hilmy and his wife in February, Nur Jazlan said the police were still trying to locate the victims and suspects responsible.
In Raymond Koh''s case, a suspect had been arrested but found not to be the mastermind, but was rather taking advantage of the situation, and accused with committing extortion, he said.
In the case of Joshua, he said the police were still trying to get new leads, since no party had provided any information or come forward with any ransom demand, and no arrests had been made so far.
On the issue of local newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau publishing caricatures deemed insulting to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Nur Jazlan said the ministry was monitoring the situation to ensure the newspaper''s management took appropriate action against the individuals involved.
"Investigations have been conducted based on the reports received. The newspaper has been issued a letter of stern warning and urgent action to be taken against the editor, sub editor, and cartoonist such as suspension from work or other internal retribution," he said.