KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today he may leave for Turkey tonight to show support for the country that was hit by the earthquake last week.

He told the Parliament that it would be timely for him to leave for Turkey now as various leaders from other countries have also arrived at the scene.

“I’m considering leaving for Turkey tonight as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has asked if it is possible that I could be in Turkey in person,” Anwar told the Dewan Rakyat during the Prime Minister’s Question time.

Anwar was responding to questions in relation to relief efforts carried out by Malaysia’s Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) that was among the first to arrive in Turkey.


He would later tell a press conference that he was initially reluctant to go, but would try to make it for the end of the Parliamentary session tomorrow.

“I have decided due to the President’s appeal, and the second time receiving his message, I see that he is very affected and I feel that friends should be around to offer support especially to him as president and to the people, although we can’t offer anything.

“Initially I was reluctant to go considering that we have sent SMART and the hospital has also been built. I will be going with the Foreign Minister and NADMA," he told reporters, referring to the National Disaster Management Agency.


“So it means that I leave tonight, I will arrive tomorrow morning and will be back [in Malaysia[ by evening as Parliament is still ongoing and there are a few prior appointments made that cannot be postponed. Before Thursday I will be back [to Parliament],” he added.

Previously in the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar was also requested by Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid to furnish more details of the costs incurred for the earthquake assistance provided by Malaysia.

“The cost for SMART was greatly reduced since all flight fares were born by Turkish Airlines. So that’s why so far only RM4 million was spent for SMART,” he said.

He added that the Malaysian government has so far deployed two teams and one more will be deployed tonight — these include army personnel and a hospital facility — which are ready and is in operation.

“Meanwhile, we have prepared close to RM20 million [by tomorrow evening], a collection from a few local companies and including US$1 million from the government and US$1 million from the Johor Sultan,” Anwar said.

Meanwhile, when asked about relief efforts to Syria, Anwar said Putrajaya had from the very beginning decided to send aid inclusive of medical supplies, even when the US had yet to give sanction clearance.

“It is a question of humanitarian and aid for [Syria], we don’t care about US policy. The Malaysian government in a meeting, we decided since a week ago to send a team and aid as soon Syria is ready to receive us.

“What we have decided is to contribute in funds and medical supplies and finally, the Defence Ministry had clarified that they will bring along hospital facility to be set up in Syria,” he said.

It was reported that the US Treasury had last Thursday announced a 180-day exemption to its sanctions on Syria for all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts.