PETALING JAYA: The National Patriots Association (NPA) has condemned Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s call for Malaysia to be ready to send its troops to Jerusalem over the recent declaration by the United States recognising the city as the capital of Israel.
Yesterday, Bernama had reported the Umno vice-president as saying that the country should be prepared to face any eventuality.
“As the defence minister, I am confident that we will carry out any order from the supreme commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V.
“Armed Forces chief General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor and his troops are definitely ready,” Hishammuddin was quoted as saying by Bernama.
NPA president Brig-Gen Mohd Arshad Raji (Rtd) said such a move would be “unwise”, saying it was not a military issue to begin with.
“The international conflict in Jerusalem is a political issue. It is best left to diplomacy to sort out this historical mess. If diplomacy fails, the next course of action can be international condemnation.
“Blindly making a declaration to commit our troops is unwise,” he said.
Arshad, who once served as deputy commander of the army’s 5th Brigade in Sabah, further questioned Hishammuddin’s mention of a “mission that has remained mysterious for the moment”.
“To date, not a single statement has been made by the Armed Forces leadership regarding troops deployment to Jerusalem, or at least to confirm the declaration made by the defence minister,” he said.
Arshad added that NPA takes a very cautious view on the deployment of Malaysian troops overseas, especially into Jerusalem where it is considered a zone of conflict between Palestine and Israel.
“The armed forces had dispatched troops overseas, but in missions that are sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council.
“In the case of Jerusalem, the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise, whether directly or indirectly, the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, is unilateral.
“It is not sanctioned by the UN and as such, Jerusalem remains legally Palestinian territory.”
Arshad said there are several questions that need to be answered.
“Under whose command will our troops be placed? What would be the force level needed for such a mission, and how will the force be structured?
“Which authority makes the final decision to deploy troops in a mission that is not sanctioned by the UNSC?” he asked.
He also questioned if the approving authorities are willing to accept full responsibility for placing our troops in harm’s way and the casualties that will arise?
Arshad also questioned if the government will take this issue to parliament for debate.
“Whatever reasons the government has to deploy our troops to serve in a zone of conflict in a land that is alien to our troops, it must be given serious thought and consideration.”