Malaysian Defence Minister says Asean may launch joint air patrols to tackle terror threat

Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence, Malaysia at the Third Plenary Session on "New challenges for crisis management in the Asia-Pacific".
Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence, Malaysia at the Third Plenary Session on "New challenges for crisis management in the Asia-Pacific".ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

KUANTAN, Malaysia (The Star/Asia News Network) - A joint air patrol between Asean countries is on the cards due to the increasing terror threat in the region, Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday (June 13).

"We have to go all out to prevent the Islamic State from landing here. Asean countries are committed in this effort and we will begin a maritime patrol in the region in the nearest time," he said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

"Following this, we may launch a joint air patrol, probably within our airspace," he said.

Hishammuddin added that Singapore and Brunei would be invited as observers and said that other countries have to be convinced about the ISIS threat.

"If left unchecked, it is not only the Asean region that will be affected, but other neighbouring countries like China, New Zealand and Australia as well," he said after breaking fast with officers and crew of the KD Lekiu off the coast of Kuantan on Tuesday.

Also present were Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin and Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor.

Hishammuddin said the template which they wish to apply in the Sulu Sea has been proven to be effective in combating piracy in the Straits of Malacca.