Mat Sabu: Pulling out of military exercise in UAE saved us RM36mil

BANGKOK: The Defence Ministry (Mindef) has saved RM36mil as the country’s military personnel are no longer involved in the Desert Eagle military exercise in the United Arab Emirates.

According to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (pic), the withdrawal of troops, who were stationed in Saudi Arabia since 2015, reduced the ministry’s expenses.

“We will only focus on sending our troops at the request of the United Nations only.

“If there is a clash between countries, we will try to avoid (sending troops),” he told Bernama in an interview here.

Malaysia had placed troops in Saudi Arabia to bring home Malaysians stranded in Yemen following the conflict that began there three years ago.

Mohamad said the country could play a vital role through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), comprising 57 countries, in finding a peaceful solution for Yemen, which he described as “catastrophic”.

Mohamad was here on a two-day introductory visit beginning Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Mohamad paid a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha and his deputy General Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also the country’s defence minister.

Meanwhile, Mohamad stressed that the country’s decision to pull out of UAE did not affect diplomatic relations with the nation.

He said Malaysia would instead enhance relations in fields such as education and health. It would not involve sending troops to engage in warfare. — Bernama