KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian soldiers in Saudi Arabia will be brought home soon, said Defence Minister, Mohamad Sabu.
He said the decision was made during last week's Cabinet meeting, following Malaysia’s foreign policy of non-alignment and non-intervention of the world's major powers.
“The Cabinet made the decision (to bring soldiers home) last week. We are waiting for the preparations carried out by the Armed Forces.
“We are also waiting for the cooperation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry that will assist in the move,” he said in an interview at the Defence Ministry today.
Human rights body, Lawyers for Liberty had previously urged the ministry to stop all military involvement in the Yemen conflict and recall Malaysian soldiers deployed in Riyadh since 2015.
Mohamad said Malaysia was committed in its neutral foreign policy and maintained diplomatic ties with the Western Asian countries especially Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and other countries in the Arab nation.
“Malaysia remains a friend of the countries as well as their neighbours. We don’t want to be part of the conflict with Saudi Arabia’s neighbouring countries,” he said.
He added that about 800 members of the Malaysian Battalion (Malbatt) 850-5 have also been deployed under the United Nations (UN) Interim Force peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
On a separate matter, Mohamad said the ministry would continue with the mission and vision drafted by the previous government.
“As of now, we will carry out (programmes) agreed by the previous government. We will improve any weaknesses and improve the quality of services provided by the Defence Ministry to the people,” he said.
On leakages of funds in the ministry, Mohamad said the special investigation committee on procurement, governance and finance chaired by Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, would probe into allegations of misconduct and malpractices.
Report by Mohd Anwar Patho Rohman , Mohd Azam Shah Yaacob , Ayisy Yusof
Get the latest World Cup 2018 scores, highlights and updates from our dedicated news page. Click here