Parliamentary select committee to probe sending of troops to Yemen

Deputy Defence Minister Liew Ching Tong has urged former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein to make himself free to discuss the issue in the Dewan Rakyat. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong has revealed that there was no written directive from the Cabinet or the National Security Council (NSC) to carry out Ops Yemen 2.

Therefore, he said, a parliamentary select committee would begin an investigation into what happened.

Liew added that the committee would investigate if procedures were followed and recommend how the system can be improved.

“We need to bring this up because it is not right,” he said, urging former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein to make himself free to discuss the issue in the Dewan Rakyat.

Liew said this while wrapping up the debate on his ministry’s allocations under Budget 2019 at the Dewan Rakyat today.

“When an operation is carried out, an initiating directive is needed. But there was none from the Cabinet or NSC in writing for this operation.”

On Dec 3, Liew dropped a bombshell in the Dewan Rakyat when he said Malaysian Armed Forces personnel were deployed to assist military operations in Saudi Arabia, called Ops Yemen 2, in relation to the conflict in Yemen, without Cabinet approval.

However, Hishammuddin later claimed the matter was handled by the NSC.

He was reported as saying: “Liew said the matter wasn’t brought to the Cabinet. He should ask what happened in NSC.”

Liew today read out two letters on what had happened from the defence ministry’s Strategy and Policy Unit.

He said any procedure with financial implications must be discussed in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara or at least in the Cabinet.

Liew added that according to the foreign affairs ministry, it was not right for Malaysian troops to be involved in military exercises anywhere, including Yemen, other than under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Liew told the Dewan Rakyat it was not necessary to carry out any evacuation of the remaining 198 Malaysians in Yemen as they had stated they want to remain in the war-torn country and provide aid for now.