Zahid: We support any move by Saudis to protect Mecca, Medina

zahid-mecca

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia fully supports Saudi Arabia’s move to increase security in Mecca and Medina following the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels toward the Muslim holy city of Mecca last Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia also supported the military effort taken by Saudi Arabia’s allies against Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, following the attack.

“In this matter, we are supporting the Saudi Arabian government, especially King Salman who is very concerned about the safety of haj pilgrims in the two holy cities right now.

“They may have some disagreements, but destroying the two holy cities and killing haj pilgrims should not be the way to handle it,” he told a press conference after the closing of the Kelana Jaya Umno division delegates’ conference here today.

The deputy prime minister said the missile attack, which was successfully intercepted by the Saudi Arabian defence forces, was indeed worrying as pilgrims from all over the world had begun flocking to the two holy cities for the haj pilgrimage.

He said any two fighting countries should not make Mecca and Medina their target.

Zahid also reiterated Malaysia’s stand that the two holy cities, as well as Jerusalem, should always be protected, and that, if needed, Malaysia is prepared to give a helping hand to Saudi Arabia to ensure security in Mecca and Medina.

“We are ready to help Saudi Arabia in any situation and hopefully we are not alone,” he said.

The Saudi Arabian defence forces on Thursday (July 27) intercepted a ballistic missile, known as “Burkan-1”, at the Al-Wasliya area of Yaif Province, 69km from Mecca.

According to international media reports, the Houthis confirmed the launch of a Burkan-1 ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia, but said it targeted King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the kingdom’s busiest airport.

No casualty was reported as a result of the attempted attack.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also said Malaysia will work together with the Saudi Arabian government to defend the sanctity of the two holy cities from any terrorist threat.

“Malaysia’s stand on security and stability in Saudi Arabia is clear, especially in helping them protect and defend the sanctity of Mecca and Medina from terrorist threats.

“Comprehensive planning to resolve this conflict must continue, especially when Muslims are performing the haj,” he told a press conference after opening the Bandar Tun Razak Umno division delegates’ conference here today.

Hishammuddin, who is also special functions minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said he had been in touch with Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman yesterday, to share information on the attempted attack.

“Alhamdulillah, Malaysia has close relations with the Gulf states, and they do not mind sharing the details with us.”