‘Ties with Indonesia strong’

  • Nation
  • Monday, 24 Dec 2018

Congratulations: Mohamad presenting a the Perhebat Best Trainee award to Suhaimi Zakaria at the veterans’ group convocation. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The incident where five Malaysians were abducted allegedly by Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI) in the Wong Rang­kai forest near the Serian-Kaliman­tan border on Dec 11 will not affect military relations between the two countries.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said Malaysia and Indonesia had built strong bilateral relationship in all areas, especially defence, and should there be any problem they would be discussed at the negotia­ting table.

“Cooperation between the two nations have always been good and we will not allow the incident to jeopardise our relationship,” he said in a press conference after yesterday’s 52nd Armed Forces Ex-Servicemen Affairs Corporation (Perhebat) convocation ceremony.

Mohamad was commenting on a report that five locals aged between 15 and 64 were kidnapped in the forest located about 400m from the Serian-Kalimantan border.

It was reported that the Malay­sians were held up by several arm­ed men dressed in military fatigues who claimed they had cut down trees in the forest area.

They were, however, released a few days later following negotiations at the border.

Malaysia has sent a protest note to Jakarta condemning the mistreat­ment and detention of its citizens by the Indonesian security forces.

Earlier, Mohamad presented cer­ti­ficates to 400 soon-to-be military retirees and veterans who com­pleted the Diploma Programme in Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning, Aircraft Maintenance Tech­nician Training and Perhebat Transitional Training.

At the event a memorandum of understanding was signed between Perhebat and Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Perbadanan Perwira Niaga Malaysia, 7-Eleven and Port of Tanjung Pelepas.

Earlier, Mohamad also read out Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s speech at the event.

In his speech, Dr Mahathir called for the private sector’s involvement towards the well-being of the Ma­­lay­sian Armed Forces (ATM) veterans, especially in job placement to qualified individuals.

He said such a move would not hurt the private sector as the new generation of ATM veterans had vast experience and expertise in various fields – from the food manufacturing sector to aerospace.

He said job placement of the veterans and their child­ren would help reduce the country’s depen­dence on foreign workers.

Dr Mahathir said the govern­ment hoped the private sector, es­­pecially multinational companies, would be willing to offer special training programmes to ATM personnel who were about to retire as well as the veterans. — Bernama

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