Mat Sabu: Timing on withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia depends on Foreign Ministry, Army


KUALA LUMPUR: The Foreign Ministry and Malaysian Army will decide the best time to bring back troops from Saudi Arabia, said Mohamad Sabu (pic).

The Defence Minister said the Cabinet had already made the decision to pull our troops out of the country last week.

“We do not want to be involved in any conflict among neighbouring nations in the Middle East.

“We want to make friends with all the countries except Israel,” he told reporters during a special session with the media on Thursday.

He said Malaysia wants to maintain its neutrality and good relations with all nations.

Meanwhile, on issues related to the South China Sea, Mohamad Sabu said the Government wanted the area to be a zone of peace and neutrality.

“We do not want to be involved in any war with other countries.

“The South China Sea is an economic area for us. We do not want to place warships there but we need patrol boats to ensure security, especially from pirates,” he said, adding that they wanted ships to journey through the Strait of Melaka and South China Sea safely.

When asked how the Government felt about China setting up military bases on islands within the South China Sea, Mohamad Sabu said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be visiting China soon, and would discuss the matter.

“We don't want them to bring conflict here.

“We want warships to avoid being present in the South China Sea,” he said, adding that he understood that ships were free to sail in international waters, but should not be involved in show of strength.


   

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