Fahad Abdullah Al-Rashid says Malaysia's strength in its intelligence unit is highly welcome in the Saudi Arabia-led alliance of 34 Muslim nations combating terrorism.

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities’ recent success in detaining terror suspects and Daesh supporters, received praise from Saudi Arabian envoy Fahad Abdullah Al-Rashid, who felt that in this regard Malaysia could somewhat contribute towards the Saudi Arabia-led alliance of 34 Muslim nations in combating terrorism.

The ambassador to Malaysia said the country was an important and advanced Islamic nation, not only in terms of its military but also its intelligence unit.

“Malaysia’s strength in the intelligence unit is highly welcomed in this alliance,” he told Bernama in a recent interview.

Speaking through an interpreter, Al-Rashid said that every member of the alliance would participate and contribute in various ways, depending on the capability and expertise of each country.

In December last year, Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) chief General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, told the media that Malaysia’s participation in the alliance was limited to information sharing and not military operations.

Al-Rashid said that the joint operations centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will help eliminate any obstacle that might exist among the countries, such as in terms of logistics and distance.

“According to the initial plan, every country (in the alliance) will have a representative in Riyadh for better communication,” he said.

The alliance, first announced by Saudi Arabian Defence Minister Mohammad Salman Al Saud in December last year, also includes Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

On another note, the ambassador said that the usage of Daesh to identify the terrorist group, also known as the so called Islamic State (IS), did not help to distance the group from the religion of Islam.

“It’s like a coin, with two faces on it. No matter what you call them, they are still one and the same.

“It is more important that Muslims work together to fight them (IS) to show that we do not agree with the group and this can be done through the alliance of the 34 nations,” he added.

Asked about the Haj quota for Malaysia, Al-Rashid said that Saudi Arabia was open to discussions on the matter after the completion of the ongoing expansion project surrounding the Kaabah, which is expected to be completed before the next Haj season.

The envoy also said that the Saudi government, especially, King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was serious about ensuring the safety of pilgrims to avoid a repeat of last year’s crane collapse and stampede incident.

“All ongoing projects are meant for the pilgrims’ comfort. There is no basis for any party to doubt our seriousness in dealing with the pilgrims’ safety and well-being,” he said.

He said that immediately after the two incidents, the Saudi Arabian government formed committees to investigate the matter.

Asked on the latest developments in Syria and Yemen concerning refugees, Al-Rashid said that currently there were more than 2.5 million refugees from both nations in Saudi Arabia and they were given access to education and medicine.

The Saudi government also allocated USD700 million (RM2.9 million) last year for refugees and humanitarian aid, he added.

Asked about Iran-Saudi relations following the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy and consulate in Iran, the envoy said bilateral relations had always been “up and down”.

With the recent attacks, relations became strained again, he said.

Saudi Arabia’s embassy and consulate in Iran were attacked early this year after the execution of Saudi’s Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges.

After the incident Saudi Arabia and several of its allies severed ties with Iran.

Source from FMT NEWS

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