KUALA LUMPUR: The previous cabinet did not sanction the army’s role to provide logistical support for the Arab military pact.
Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong said the then defence minister did not receive approval from the cabinet on such a role for the troops under “Ops Yaman 2.”
Liew was answering a question by Chang Lih Kang (PH-Tanjung Malim) who wanted to know the army’s role in Ops Yaman 2 and the cost involved.
Ops Yaman 2 was originally carried out in 2015 to evacuate Malaysians in Yemen following a civil war between the then-incumbent Yemeni government led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the Houthi militia.
“In terms of standard operating procedure, I understand that the then defence minister did not receive approval for troops movement under Ops Yaman 2.
“In terms of cost, the overall expenditure of Ops Yaman 2 up until the 12th mission is RM14.6 million. The estimated expenditure for each management series for three months is RM1.5 million,” Liew said.
He said the government decided to withdraw the country’s troops from Yemen after it moved to end Ops Yaman 2 on Sept 4.
Liew said the decision made was in line with Malaysia’s neutral stand between warring countries.
Liew said Ops Yaman 2 was repurposed to assist the Arab military pact.
“This is against our foreign policy which prohibits us from interfering with foreign conflicts. Malaysia’s involvement in such affairs is only undertaken through United Nations.
“Malaysia has no agreement with Saudi Arabia on the placement of Malaysian troops in Yemen. It is estimated that 700 Malaysians are still in Yemen until today.”
Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) then rose to confirm that the cabinet was not informed of Ops Yaman 2.
“I would like to thank the deputy minister on the important clarification (on Ops Yaman 2). It confirms that no Malaysian soldier was involved as a combatant in Yemen.
“I would like to confirm what was said by the deputy minister, that the cabinet then was not informed of a second phase or the operation (Ops Yaman 2). I myself was following discussions on the matter because it concerns the deployment of our military assets,” he said.