Minister maintains defence assets in Mid East not to aid Saudis

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Hishammuddin said troops deployed in the Middle East were strictly for humanitarian purposes. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today reiterated that Malaysian military personnel and equipment in the Middle East will not be involved in the Saudi-Yemen conflict.

The defence minister said these were strictly for humanitarian purposes, and repeated Malaysia's stance on non-interference in foreign conflicts.

"I have stated just now, that our troops are present there to save our students, including the son of Kelantan Mentri Besar himself, and at the same time, they were still there (Arab) because the situation in Yemen was still turbulent,” he said during Question Time in Parliament.

Hishammuddin was responding to an additional question by Parti Amanah Negara's (Amanah) Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who asked the minister to address foreign reports that Malaysia may be involved in the conflict.

On joint military drills, Hishammuddin said Malaysia conducted these with 14 countries including Saudi Arabia, India, the United States (US), Indonesia and France.

Last year, AFP reported that Malaysia was part of the military exercise in Arab Saudi that was carried out by the kingdom to battle the insurgency in Yemen.

News agency SPA reported that the armed forces from around 20 countries, including Pakistan and Malaysia, are gathering in northern Saudi Arabia for “the largest, most important military manoeuvres” ever staged in the country.