KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Malaysia has never been involved in any military cooperation to combat extremist groups in Yemen and Syria led by Saudi Arabia, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Malaysian Armed Forces’ (ATM) initial participation in the recent Thunder of the North Exercise (Raad al Shamal) was by invitation of Saudi Arabia in view of the close ties between the two countries.
“The training was held in northern Saudi Arabia, while Yemen is located at Saudi Arabia’s southern border. Obviously, this exercise had nothing to do with the current military campaign in Yemen.
“Malaysia supports efforts to combat militancy, but ATM is not willing to be directly involved with military operations in Yemen. This is different from the North Thunder exercise,” he said in reply to Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) in the Dewan Rakyat here today.
Hishammuddin said to be a credible military force in this region, ATM was always looking for opportunities to train its personnel in various multi-terrain situations.
Meanwhile, in a press conference at the Parliament lobby, Hishammuddin said Malaysia’s participation in the North Thunder exercise was not tabled in Parliament for discussion as it was a normal exercise and ATM has planned to conduct 41 more exercises this year including joint-exercises with the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) nations.
“This is not something new, we had always been consistent in our stand, the exercise will not involve our military operations,” he said. — Bernama