KUALA LUMPUR: Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein today skirted questions on the Ops Yemen 2, carried out during his watch purportedly without Cabinet approval, telling Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong to seek clarification from the National Security Council (NSC).
Hishammuddin did not respond to media questions on whether the operation in support of the Saudi-led Arab coalition offensive in Yemen needed Cabinet approval.
“He (Liew) should know what the NSC is. I think he has forgotten the NSC. He said the operation was not brought up in Cabinet, so what about NSC? Ask NSC, ask them what we actually did.
“However, the information must be declassified as it is of national importance,” he told reporters at Parliament.
Liew told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday that Malaysian Armed Forces aided the Arab coalition under Ops Yemen 2 which had no prior Cabinet approval.
He said Malaysia’s involvement was limited to tactical and logistical support for Saudi Arabia.
Amanah’s international bureau chairman Raja Kamarul Bahrin then accused the previous Barisan Nasional government of conspiring with the Arab coalition to “commit sin” against the Yemeni people.
He said Malaysia’s action to provide logistical support for the war in Yemen was no different from the US’ supply of weapons to the Israeli military to kill Palestinians.
“Our hands are stained with the blood of the Yemenis killed by the bullets and explosives we supplied,” he said.
Hishammuddin said he was prepared to be investigated over whether his actions were appropriate or had contravened provisions in the Federal Constitution.
“I don’t fear anything. There are those who say there is blood on our hands, but these people don’t talk about our troops rescuing Malaysians in Yemen,” he added.
He said he was puzzled as to why this issue was still being raised even though he had explained it many times as the defence minister in the previous administration.
“Maybe this (deputy) minister still has the opposition mindset, unable to change, pointing fingers, finding fault.
“I believe they are trying to divert attention from their weaknesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, when approached by reporters, Liew reiterated that the Cabinet must approve all matters requiring government funding.
“This matter definitely was not decided in Parliament or the Cabinet, and it was a major decision that involved an expenditure of RM14 million over three years.
“It also involved a large number of Armed Forces personnel,” he said.