No Israeli spies in Bukit Aman, just an engineer, says deputy minister

(File pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman today dismissed the suggestion of Israeli agents in Bukit Aman, a claim made by Anwar Ibrahim during his time as the opposition leader.

Anwar, who is now Port Dickson MP, said at the time that this was confirmed by the Special Branch.

Azis said the person in question, an engineer, was indeed an Israeli. However, he said the man was an expert on the communications system installed at Bukit Aman in 2012.

“He is a technical expert who was sent by a Singapore-based company, not just to maintain the system, but to provide training as well based on the agreement when purchasing the communications system.

“He is not an agent, but an engineering expert sent by the company to install the system,” he said, adding that a police representative had been present at the time of installation.

Azis (Warisan-Sepanggar) was responding to Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (PAS-Pengkalan Chepa), who claimed the person had been in the Bukit Aman computer server room during a communications system upgrade.

He asked if this was true, and how the person had entered Bukit Aman.

Anwar made the claim nine years ago when he was MP for Permatang Pauh. He also furnished documents on the company involved, which is said to be based in Israel.

He said this proved that the country had been sold to foreign agents.

To Marzuk’s initial question on how many Israeli citizens had entered Malaysia and for what purpose, Azis said Malaysia does not recognise Israel as a sovereign nation.

He said any travel to or from Israel is prohibited unless with special permission for specific purposes.

Previously, he said, Israeli citizens were allowed into the country for conferences organised by international bodies. This took into account Israel’s membership of those bodies as well as people relations where Israelis and Malaysians working in multi-national companies (MNCs) are allowed to attend meetings, training and work visits.

“The basis for entry considerations is that it benefits the country in terms of politics, economics, technology, education, defence, social and manufacturing,” he said.

“The ministry also receives applications from Malaysians who wish to visit the holy site of Jerusalem, which requires passing through Israeli security checkpoints before entering.”

Between 2016 and March 2019, he said, 105 Israeli citizens had been allowed to enter the country.

In 2016, 33 Israeli citizens were allowed to enter on MNC trade considerations to attend meetings and provide training to Malaysian workers on microchip engineering.

In 2017, he said, 35 Israeli citizens were allowed in – 18 on MNC trade relations affairs and 17 to attend international conferences, meetings and programmes.

Last year, 34 Israeli citizens were allowed to enter – 32 on existing trade affairs and the remaining two to attend an international conference.

“This year, only three Israeli citizens were allowed in on the basis of existing trade relations. No more permission is given to Israeli citizens to attend international conferences, meetings and programmes.

“This is in line with the government’s new policy of no longer allowing Israeli representatives to enter Malaysia to attend international conferences, meetings and programmes organised by international bodies,” he said.

Azis said the ministry has given approval for 7,870 people to visit Jerusalem from 2016 until this year, with 2,000 approved in 2016, 2,186 in 2017, 3,183 in 2018 and 501 as of March 2019.