August 27, 2021

Hishamuddin Hussein should be dropped from Defence Ministry

I would like to express my grave disappointment on the new cabinet lineup announced by the Prime Minister. We understand there are limited choices for Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri since he is choosing ministers from the same pool of candidates that Tan Sri Muhyddin had. However, there is no sign of downsizing the cabinet, as many would have expected. Worse still, ministers with awful track records are being appointed to the very same positions they were holding in previous cabinet.

For instance, Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali and Datuk Radzi Jidin had both failed miserably in managing their ministries during the pandemic. But both of them are back to their respective ministries, and maintain their senior minister-ship. Another minister who had invited numerous criticisms during her tenure was Datuk Seri Rina Harun. Unfortunately, she is being restored to the very same Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

Besides, an appointment that raises eyebrows is Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein. He is being appointed as Defence Minister, a position he held in the previous Barisan Nasional administration. During his tenure, Hishamuddin Hussein had gone against our country foreign policy of non-interference by sending troops to Riyadh during Ops Yemen 2 in 2015. Malaysian troops were deployed to assist Saudi Arabia in its military operations in Yemen.

According to official reply in the parliament by Defence Ministry, Ops Yemen 2 did not get initiating directive from the cabinet. The ministry has also confirmed that our Armed Forces were involved in logistical operations carrying ammunition, spare parts and explosives for the Arab Alliance. In short, the Malaysian troops were involved in “combatant activities” without mandate from the United Nations and knowledge of the cabinet.

This is a matter that should be seriously looked into, as the reckless decision had risked our soldiers’ lives. I would like to reiterate my call to investigate Ops Yemen 2 and take stern action against those who are responsible. Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein should be dropped from helming the Defence Ministry and stay away from defence matters, unless and until he proves his innocence in the controversial Ops Yemen 2.

MP for Tanjong Malim
Former Member of Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs

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