Malaysian troops to withdraw from Saudi, defence minister confirms

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu confirmed today that the government is pulling out its security forces from Saudi Arabia. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu confirmed today that the government is pulling out its security forces from Saudi Arabia. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu confirmed today that the government is pulling out its security forces from Saudi Arabia.

He said the Cabinet made the decision last week.

“This is a Cabinet decision. Already discussed, already taken decision.

“The army will discuss this, with regards to the time and everything, but the Cabinet already made decision last week,” Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, told reporters in a select media interview at his ministry here.

He said that his ministry will further discuss with the Foreign Affairs Ministry on a suitable time frame to bring the troops home.

Mohamad was reported by national news agency Bernama as saying the government is reviewing its security forces in the Middle East who were ordered there by the previous Barisan Nasional administration to help evacuate Malaysians in war-torn Yemen.

He had asserted then that Malaysia could be dragged indirectly into the Saudi-Yemen conflict by dint of its military forces being stationed there.

Mohamad’s predecessor Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had sought to assure Malaysians in March last year that the country would not be affected by the Saudi-Yemen conflict, insisting that the troops were there for strictly for humanitarian purposes.

Malaysian troops have been in Saudi Arabia since 2016 and were reported by international news wire AFP to be part of the kingdom’s military exercise with 20 nations against the insurgency in Yemen.