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Tuesday May 4, 2010

Zahid explains encounter with Barak in Paris

DEFENCE Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has explained to the Dewan Negara that his meeting with Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak last year was an unplanned encounter.

It was Barak who sought the meeting when both of them were attending the 48th International Aeronautic and Space in Paris on June 16, 2009, he said.

He told Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali that their 20-minute encounter took place during a cocktail reception hosted by the French defence ministry during theair show.

Zahid said an Israeli officer met his defence adviser and told him of Barak’s intentions to hold a discussion with Zahid.

Upon being informed about this,

Zahid said he immediately imposed several conditions, stipulating that Barak should be the one to come and see him without being accompanied by his bodyguards or pressmen.

“Barak, who is of Moroccan descent, apparently knew that I can converse in Arabic. He said to me ‘my brother, we are sons of Adam’,” Zahid recounted.

“I replied ‘yes, we both are.’ But you practise double standards – your right hand offers peace, but your left hand kills the brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

“I told him that if he just wanted to meet me to offer his hand, then as Malaysian Defence Minister, I will never recognise Israel,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof has stressed that there was no involvement of Israeli intelligence agents in a project to upgrade the information and communication system of the police force.

He told Dr Syed Husin it was untrue that two Israeli ex-soldiers named Iszhak David Naskar and Ido Schechter were involved in the RMPnet programme to upgrade the secured radio network of the police from analog to digital system.

Abu Seman also said no foreigners were involved in another project called the Police Reporting System (PRS) to facilitate electronic exchanges of reports among police stations.

The RMPnet project was jointly carried out by Motorola Technology and Masterplan Consulting Sdn Bhd.

“It was done based on a standards system called the Association of Public Safety Communications Of­­ficials or Apco Inc, an international standards body,” he said.

“Masterplan Consulting’s sub-contractor is Asiasoft (M) Sdn Bhd.” Asiasoft Malaysia is partly-owned by Asiasoft (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

“However, all workers involved in the PRS project are Malaysians.”

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