Last Updated: 2017-11-14
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PORT DICKSON, Malaysia Nov 14 (NNN-BERNAMA) -- Malaysia will continue monitoring the development in Lebanon after the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri suddenly announced his resignation during his visit to Riyadh early this month.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, however, said no worrying incidents involving Malaysians in Lebanon had been reported so far.

“Yes, I’m giving extra attention to what is happening in Lebanon than that in Yemen and Qatar because our Malbatt 850-5 (Malaysian Battalion peacekeeping team) members are there (in Lebanon).”

He said this to reporters after attending the Army’s Deepavali celebration and the launch of Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) Special Call and Data Package here today.

Also present were ATM chief General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, Army chief General Zulkiple Kassim and Celcom Axiata Bhd chief executive officer Michael Kuehner.

Elaborating, Hishammuddin said soon after learning about Hariri’s resignation, Raja Mohamed Affandi had contacted his Lebanese counterpart to obtain details about the current situation in the country.

A total of 850 military personnel, including 30 from the Brunei Royal Armed Forces and one Ministry of Defence (Mindef) staff, are currently in Lebanon under the United Nations Interim Team mission.

The Saudi Arabian government, however, was reported to have asked its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country immediately.

On Nov 4, Hariri suddenly announced his resignation by reading a statement on live television from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was stepping down because the rising Iranian influence in his country had made him fearful he would suffer the same fate as his father, Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.

The sudden announcement had fuelled major concern that Lebanon might face the prospect of a new conflict.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin lauded Celcom’s move in offering three special telecommunication plans for the Mindef staff and ATM veterans.

“This cooperation with Celcom is indeed meaningful for the benefit of ATM veterans and Mindef personnel.

“This package is expected to bring about major impact in the long run, especially in reducing the expenses incurred by Mindef personnel and ATM veterans,” he added.--NNN-BERNAMA