KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to come clean on whether Malaysia has joined the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen following a report by the United Nations that included Malaysia.
Kuala Terengganu MP Raja Bahrin Shah said Malaysia’s involvement is mentioned in the document submitted by the UN’s Panel of Experts on Yemen to the Security Council on Jan 11 and adopted for use on Jan 27.
“Malaysia cannot claim to not know and not acknowledge the panel report as Malaysia is also a member of this UN committee,” he said in a statement today.
The defence ministry had before this denied Malaysian armed forces were involved, describing the allegations as untrue, slanderous and baseless.
It said the deployment of armed forces personnel to Saudi Arabia was first to prepare themselves to face any possibility, including moving remaining Malaysians in Yemen, if the need arose.
“This is because there are Malaysians who are still in Yemen at this point.”
The ministry added that the armed forces had been invited by Saudi Arabia to take part in its Northern Thunder military exercise, which was meant to foster unity among Muslim countries, not focus on military operations in Yemen.
According to the UN report, air operations in Yemen are under the operational control of a joint headquarters, led by Saudi Arabia and based in Riyadh, with a targeting and control cell for the targeting and tasking processes.
“United States officers are present to support logistical and intelligence activities,” the UN report said.
“The chief of Joint Operations of Operation Restoring Hope, led by Saudi Arabia, told the panel that officers from France, Malaysia and the United Kingdom were present at the joint headquarters,” it added in an annotation.
Malaysia was also listed among the countries that had been contacted by the UN panel during its investigations.
Raja Bahrin, who is Amanah’s international bureau chairman, said the UN report had stated that several Saudi-led attacks had blocked supplies of medicine and food from being sent to people in Yemen.
He said many attacks of the Saudi Arabian alliance involved civilian targets like hospitals as well as halls where many of those who perished were children and ordinary people.
Raja Bahrin called on the government to give a clarification on Malaysia’s actual involvement in the campaign.
The war in Yemen escalated in March 2015 following the military operation led by Saudi Arabia in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Yemeni rebels.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that more than 7,500 people have been killed in the war and 40,000 others wounded by the end of February. These include 4,667 civilians who lost their lives and 8,180 who were injured.