SUBANG: The Malaysian Armed Forces is mulling humanitarian relief for conflict-ridden Marawi city in the Philippines, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
The Defence Minister said aid is desperately needed by civilians caught in the fighting between the Filipino armed forces and militants.
“Our Joint Force Commander is in Manila today to speak to the Filipino government on how we can help.
“The situation at Marawi is something that we are looking at very closely because we do not want anger from those who could be neglected to turn to militancy,” he said at Subang Air Base here yesterday.
Hishammuddin said the conflict in Marawi concerns everyone in the region, especially the possibility of Islamic State fighters joining the battle.
“Foreign fighters in Marawi is my biggest concern. We have had Malaysians who have been shot and killed there. It is not only Malaysians who join the militants there that we have to worry about.
“With the IS fighters fleeing formerly IS controlled places like Aleppo, Mosul and Raqqa, we do not know where they are fleeing to,” he said, adding that it was also imperative to make sure the militants do not cross over to Sabah.
“That is why we have placed increased military assets in Tawau, Labuan and Lahad Datu,” he said after opening the new Armed Forces Trading Corporation of Malaysia (Pernama) complex here yesterday.
The RM3mil complex, with several convenience stores, cafes and other amenities, is designed to improve the quality of life of those staying on the base.
During the launch, Pernama also handed over a cheque for RM55mil in dividends for 2016 to the Armed Forces Fund Board, as well as a yearly contribution of RM500,000 to the Armed Forces Welfare Fund.
Hishammuddin also responded to allegations by a foreign portal that “Ketua Pengarah Perisikan Pertahanan” (director-general of the Defence Staff Intelligence Division, BSPP) was paid RM7mil on April 8, 2013.
“I think the core business of the Defence Ministry has always been very clear which is security. Not political.
“So if there are moves to investigate, let the relevant agencies investigate. I have nothing to hide anyway,” he said.