Hisham: Jets issue to be resolved through diplomatic channels

The incident involving a Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 aircraft and two Indonesian Air Force F-16 jets in the air space near Natuna Islands last Saturday will be resolved immediately through the diplomatic channel, said Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said he had held discussions twice on the incident with Indonesian Defence Minister Gen (Rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu.

“At the discussions, he stated that there was no issue, including military, that the two countries could not resolve amicably. Thanks to the good relations between Ryamizard and me.

“Ryamizard had also stated his commitment to resolve the issue immediately without undermining the good relations between Malaysia and Indonesia,” he told a press conference after a visit to military camps in Tasik Banding yesterday.

Hishammuddin had said that the two Indonesian aircraft had conducted “a visual identification” of the RMAF C-130 plane in air space close to the Natuna Islands of Indonesia last Saturday.

The defence minister said that about 6,000 Malaysian Armed Forces personnel would be on duty at the nation’s borders during Aidilfitri to keep out encroachers.

“I appreciate and am thankful to the MAF personnel for their sacrifice in safeguarding the border from any external threat,” he said.

On the Malaysia-Thailand border, Hishammuddin said the MAF had deployed four army battalions to patrol the 646km-long common border.

“Besides, the MAF has also added 24 observation posts and deployed personnel for the Op Wawasan in Kelantan and Op Kota in Perak and Kedah,” he said.

Hishammuddin also said that the MAF would acquire more assets at the end of this year, such as an additional 50 armoured vehicles and two MD530H light attack helicopters.

- Bernama

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