KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (Bernama) — Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has denied allegations that Malaysia has offered its naval base in Sabah to house a US-owned aircraft P-8A Poseidon.
In fact, he said, the base did not have the facilities and ability to accommodate the aircraft. Poseidon is a maritime patrol aircraft.
“The United States must first apply to the Malaysian authorities through the Foreign Ministry to get permission to house any aircraft in Sabah.
“Approval is granted on a case by case basis, as was done, during the search-and-rescue operations for MH370 in the Straits of Melaka and the South China Sea,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.
Hishammuddin was responding to a question from Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri) who wanted to know whether Malaysia had offered naval facilities to house the P-8A Poseidon following a statement made by the US Chief of Naval Operations.
He said there had been joint training programmes between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United States based on a memorandum of understanding signed on June 22, 1990.
He said that under the agreement, seven types of joint training was held each year to raise the level of professionalism, skills and expertise, and sharing of knowledge and the latest military technology.
“Cooperation on joint military training is also not done on an ad-hoc basis, but has to go through certain processes including the signing of MoUs between the two countries involved.
“The Malaysian army and US Army Pacific Command took part in the Keris Strike Exercise 2014 held in and around Kota Bharu last month.
“In fact, this is the 18th Keris Strike Exercise held involving 795 army personnel from Malaysia and the US,” he said.
On information and national security secrets, Hishammuddin gave the assurance that there was no indication of the presence of foreign military intelligence in Malaysia who had come into the country through these joint exercises.
“All Malaysian military personnel and foreign troops involved are briefed on the dos and don’ts on matters related to national security to prevent the country’s secrets from being leaked,” he said.