Deployment, assignment of MALBATT troop in Lebanon to continue - Mohamad

02 Nov 2023 08:43pm
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan - BERNAMA PIX
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan - BERNAMA PIX

PETALING JAYA - The deployment and assignment of MALBATT troops in Lebanon for peacekeeping missions will continue until further notice from the United Nations (UN) amidst the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

He said the MALBATT peacekeeping mission is running as usual, even though Lebanon shares a border with Israel.

"Any pull-out order will be decided by the UN and, right now, the MALBATT 850-10 troop in Lebanon is in in good and safe conditions.

"The assignment for the MALBATT troop, this time around, has been seen as more challenging than ever following the Israel-Hamas conflict, which had escalated since Oct 7...resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and the destruction of property due to airstrikes, as well as rocket, artillery and mortars attacks.”

Mohamad said this to reporters after the UN Beret and Malaysian Flag presentation and the sending-off ceremony for the first batch of MALBATT 850-11 troop to Lebanon at the Subang Air Base here today.

The minister said the Palestinian-Israeli conflict had indirectly affected the security situation in southern Lebanon and would hamper the operations of both MALBATT 850-10 and MALBATT 850-11 contingents if it continued to persist.

"I'm afraid that if this conflict spreads and involves other countries in the region, the security situation in Lebanon will also be affected. This will make it difficult for UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) and MALBATT to carry out their peacekeeping missions," he said.

Mohamad said even though Lebanon shares a border with Israel, the MALBATT peacekeeping mission area is far from the Israeli-Hamas battlefield.

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In fact, he said MALBATT troops involved in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon do not operate in areas near the Lebanon-Israel border as security personnel from other UN member states are responsible for those border areas.

"Nevertheless, the MALBATT contingent can still see the rockets and hear the explosions," he said.

Mohamad said the MALBATT troops had also conducted numerous drills to enter the bunkers (emergency protection areas) in case of tense situations.

Meanwhile, Mohamad advised the MALBATT 850-11 troop which will replace MALBATT 850-10 in Lebanon to remain non-aligned, vigilant and prepared for any contingencies.

He stressed that MALBATT personnel should maintain a disciplined approach, prioritise safety, and adhere to all rules and procedures established by UNIFIL.

Earlier, Mohamad, accompanied by the Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Mohammad Ab Rahman, sent off the MALBATT 850-11 troop, consisting of 82 officers and 772 rank-and-file personnel, including three officers and 27 personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, as well as one civilian financial officer from the Ministry of Defence.

MALBATT 850-11 troop led by its Commander, Col Burhan Sagoni, is deployed to Lebanon in four stages and will be stationed at the Ma'rakah and Tibnin camps to carry out operational tasks assigned by UNIFIL. - BERNAMA