The National Security Council (NSC) did not initiate the move to involve Malaysian military personnel in Ops Yemen 2, says Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong.
He said he was disappointed that former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was not in Parliament to address the issue.
On Wednesday, Hishammuddin claimed that the controversial operation was handled by the NSC.
“He said that the NSC had made a decision but after checking, the NSC did not produce any initiating directive.
“When an operation has to be carried out, it needs the initiating directive from the NSC or in this case, a directive from military top brass.
“However, there was no written directive from the Cabinet or NSC,” said Liew in his winding-up address for his ministry for Budget 2019 yesterday.
He said the matter was serious and he had asked the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs to investigate.
On Monday, Liew revealed that Ops Yemen 2 was carried out without approval from the Cabinet.
Under Ops Yemen 2, which was from June 11, 2015, about 27 officers and 62 rank-and-file troops were deployed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on a rotational basis every three months.
The troops were withdrawn following a decision by the Pakatan Harapan government on Sept 4 this year.
Earlier, Hishammuddin said he welcomed the government’s decision to establish a Special Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Internal Affairs to investigate Op Yemen 2.
He said the committee would be able to call all the relevant agencies for a clearer picture on the deployment of Malaysian troops under the operation.
He said this when asked to comment on Liew’s announcement yesterday that the committee would be formed to investigate if asset-backed operations to Saudi Arabia under Op Yemen 2, were in compliance with standard operating procedures.
“He (Liew) is referring the matter to a parliamentary committee…I totally agree. Call all the agencies…the National Security Council (NSC), the External Intelligence Research, Special Branch and also Wisma Putra,” he said in a WhatsApp reply to the New Straits Times.