Malaysian defense minister: We don’t want to be involved in Saudi aggression on Yemen

Malaysian defense minister: We don’t want to be involved in Saudi aggression on Yemen

“Why would we want to be involved in attacking Yemen, another Islamic nation?” Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu, told The Malaysian Insight.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Putrajaya is considering pulling back Malaysian troops from Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in air strikes against Yemeni Houthi fighters, said Mohamad Sabu.

The defence minister said the government is not interested in being involved in conflicts in the Gulf region, and is reviewing the deployment of army personnel to Saudi Arabia.

“Why would we want to be involved in attacking Yemen, another Islamic nation?” Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu, told The Malaysian Insight.

“We don’t want to be involved in such conflicts.”

Popularly known as Mat Sabu, the new defense minister said the involvement had "indirectly" mired Malaysia in the Middle East and hurt its neutral policy in the region.

He insisted that Malaysia has never side with the political ideology of any of the world’s superpowers either.

Saudi media have named Malaysia as one of the 34 countries that have been working with the kingdom in "fighting terrorism."

In April, Malaysian army forces took part in a joint military exercise called “(Persian) Gulf Shield 1” in Damman, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have been pounding targets across Yemen in an unprovoked war that began in March 2015 and has so far killed over 13,000 Yemenis without yielding any meaningful results.

Sabu's remarks follow a call by the local human rights body, Lawyers for Liberty, to end Malaysia's involvement in the wake of a ruthless attack by the Saudi-led coalition on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah.

The body called Sabu to explain the presence of Malaysian troops in Riyadh and their involvement in the deadly war.

“Malaysia has no business being involved in the war in Yemen,” Eric Paulsen, Lawyers for Liberty executive director, said Tuesday.

He added the excuse that Malaysian troops are in Yemen to carry out humanitarian work is “absurd”.

“If it is indeed true that our troops were deployed to assist in evacuation efforts, then the work should have been done by now, and there is no need to remain deployed for over three years.”

Sabu's predecessor, Hishammuddin Hussein, had previously denied Malaysia's involvement in the Saudi-led operations and said its military officers were there to evaluate the situation.


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