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Taufiq Wan

Malaysian troops are 'ready' for Jerusalem orders: minister

Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein described Trump's announcement as a slap in the face [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2017

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Malaysia's defence minister has said the country's military must be prepared for all eventualities after Trump's controversial Jerusalem announcement.

Malaysia's armed forces are readily prepared to receive "any order" over Jerusalem, Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said, adding that the Southeast Asian nation should be prepared to face all eventualities.

"As the defence minister, I am confident that we will carry out any order from the supreme commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V," Hishamuddin said, referring to Malaysia's monarch, who is the official head of state.

"Armed Forces chief General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor and his troops are definitely ready," he added.

The Malaysian minister's comments come amid a global backlash against US President Donald Trump's recent announcement that Washington will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Hussein described Trump's announcement, which broke with years of US precedent over the city, as a slap in the face for the entire Muslim world.

On Friday, thousands of protesters converged on the United States' embassy in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to protest against Trump's announcement.

In neighbouring Indonesia, which is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, protests continued through to Sunday, when around 10,000 demonstrators rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside
the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur [Anadolu]


Both Malaysia and Indonesia have no official diplomatic ties with Israel.

Marred by mud-slinging

The show of solidarity with Palestine in Malaysia's capital, however, did not escape the ongoing political mud-slinging between government and opposition groups in the run-up to the country's upcoming election.

On social media, supporters of the country's opposition coalition accused the ruling United Malays National Organisation [UMNO] party of using the protests for political gain.

UMNO supporters dismissed the allegations of political grandstanding, with one party official saying that the opposition should have held a seperate Palestine protest "on another day".

Friday's protest took place as UMNO held its annual conference in Kuala Lumpur, where defence minister Hishamuddin made the remarks about Malaysia's military being "ready".

The conference, which is gthe party's last major conference before next year's election, saw several teary-eyed speeches and on-stage prayers for Jerusalem delivered by party heavyweights.

Palestinian representatives also attended the conference, including Hamas politburo member Osama Hamdan.

Despite having no ties with Israel, Malaysia has maintained good relations with the US administration of Donald Trump, which has resulted lucrative bilateral trade deals.

Trump's Jerusalem announcement prompted opposition figures to call on Prime Minister Najib Razak to rescind a $3 billion aircraft deal agreed with the US earlier this year.

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