Malbatt 850-5 to continue with UN peacekeeping mission
PORT DICKSON: Malaysian soldiers on peacekeeping mission in Lebanon will not be recalled, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday.
The 850-member Malaysian Battalion (Malbatt) 850-5, which is serving under the United Nations Interim Force peacekeeping mission, will remain in Lebanon, where tensions are high because of a stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri had announced his resignation last week, stoking fears of escalating tension in the region.
Hishammuddin said the ministry was following the development in Lebanon closely to ensure the safety of Malbatt 850-5 members who were sent on the mission in September.
“A day after Saad announced his resignation, Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor had contacted our Malbatt commander in Lebanon to get details of the current situation in the republic.
“At the moment, the situation is under control and there are no suspicious incidents reported so far.”
He said the ministry would continue to monitor the situation in Lebanon on a daily basis.
Hishammuddin said this after launching the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM)-Celcom special call and data packages (TigaTiga package) and Deepavali celebration at the Army Basic Training Centre (Pusasda) here.
The package was part of the latest initiative by the ministry aimed at alleviating the cost of living faced by servicemen and veterans, especially in telecommunication-related matters.
On another issue, he said the Federal Government and armed forces sprung into action when massive floods struck Penang on Nov 4.
“Together with the armed forces chief, I went to Penang to check on the flood situation there.
“I am proud to say that the army went beyond what was expected of it by assisting victims even before instructions were given out.
“They had done their best regardless of political affiliation, race and religion.”
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (centre) cutting a cake at the Malaysian Armed Forces’ Deepavali celebration at the Army Basic Training Centre in Port Dickson yesterday. With him are Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor (second from left) and Army chief Tan Sri Zulkiple Kassim (third from right).