KUANTAN: There are not enough international medical and relief efforts at a time when the fault lines exist across the board globally.
In a world where geopolitics often gets in the way of rational thinking, the Asia-Pacific Military Health Exchange (APMHE ’16) and the Pacific Partnership are initiatives that can build bridges among nations, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“My presence here is just one example where you can get so many people here with different national interests and consideration but when they are looking at medical best practices, I think they can find common ground to move forward,” he said during his visit aboard the United States Navy’s hospital ship USNS Mercy off the coast of Kuantan yesterday.
The San Diego-based vessel is visiting Malaysia as part of the two-week Pacific Partnership programme that runs concurrently with APMHE ’16.
The partnership is an annual deployment from the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy, in cooperation with regional governments, military forces, humanitarian and non-government organisations.
During its time in Malaysia, various programmes, including a symposium, subject matter expert exchange and community relations projects would be held.
Also planned are field training involving vessels from the Royal Malaysian Navy and US Navy held together with the Pacific Partnership’s partner nations.
Hishammuddin said he did not want to see the programmes being a one-off event.
“I look forward to receiving a report from our military’s medical corp on how we can continue with this, maybe on a smaller scale but it has got to be continuous,” he said.