Defence ministry must review policies relating to troop deployment overseas

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Patriots

Patriot supports the decision by the Ministry of Defence to carry out an investigation into the decision-making process. 

The controversy relating to the deployment of armed forces troops to serve alongside the Saudi coalition force in their war against Yemen since 2015 must be taken as a lesson for the armed forces leadership today ie troops must not be placed in harm’s way and that their deployment overseas must be legally justified.

From the unsatisfactory and confusing explanation given by the ex-Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein – that the National Security Council (NSC) had a role in that decision-making – Patriot urges the chief of defence forces and come forward to explain whether the statement by Hishammuddin was correct or otherwise.

It is important to put right the standing operating procedures (if any) relating to the deployment of forces overseas, other than those assigned on missions under the auspices of the United Nations.

The National Security Act 2015 states that the primary role of the National Security Council is to formulate policies and strategic measures on national security. Its role is also to monitor the implementation of the policies and strategic measures on national security. The act does not empower the council to declare war or to deploy our troopsoverseas.

Patriot supports the decision by the Ministry of Defence to carry out an investigation into the decision-making process of sending troops to Saudi Arabia, which was deemed illegal, and to reconcile the wrongs committed.

Patriot encourages all generals and senior echelon officers in the ministry to be well schooled in international law and UN conventions, in particular the international rules governing military operations.

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The formulation of a clear policy, procedure and process of troop deployment overseas, which all generals would fully comprehend, is necessary.

Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.

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