JOHOR BARU, May 31 — Johor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) today pressed the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government to clarify the country’s stance on Israel after Putrajaya confirmed permission was given for a civil aircraft to enter Malaysian airspace.
Amanah vice-chairman Sulaiman Mohd Nor wants the federal government to be firm with the Zionist state as the use of Malaysia’s airspace was directly related to national security interests.
He said the issue was important because Israel had previously made it clear that Malaysia was their enemy after a majority of Malaysians supported the Palestinian people’s struggle in the recent conflict.
“The government must be firm on the issue regarding Israel that previously warned Malaysia and later categorised our country as an enemy due to our support for the Palestine cause.
“The Israeli aircraft may only be a commercial flight and not a military or combat plane, but what is important is our determination in managing relations with the country,” Sulaiman told Malay Mail.
An Israeli civilian flight that took off from Malé in the Maldives that was bound for Paya Lebar in Singapore on May 19 passed into Malaysian airspace at 2.55am the same day.
Malaysia’s Transport Ministry confirmed last Saturday that an Israeli plane flew overhead but said it did not display abnormal flight patterns nor did it hover within Malaysian airspace on its way to Singapore.
Sulaiman also questioned why the Transport Ministry only issued a statement five days after the incident.
He questioned if the government was trying to conceal anything after the disclosure was made.
Sulaiman, who is also the Kemelah assemblyman, also reminded the federal government to not be hypocritical about Malaysia’s support for Palestine.
“Earlier in a speech, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had clearly criticised Israel and said Malaysia needs to prove this with firm action.
“However, may I remind all that this is not just about condemning and criticising Israel’s actions, but such must also be translated by practice or action.
“Do not deceive the people, but at the same time the government does not act in line with their previous commitment,” said Sulaiman.
In last Saturday’s statement, the Transport Ministry acknowledged concerns regarding the Israeli registered aircraft but said the civil aircraft had followed a commercial flight path used by any civil aircraft overflying Malaysian airspace according to the rules stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Within the ICAO rules, Malaysia must ensure that overflights are approved based on no reasonable grounds on the threats to the safety and security of sovereignty.
The Transport Ministry said the approval for overflight was granted to the civilian Boeing 737-400 aircraft registered to Israel Aerospace Industries-Elta (IAI-Elta) strictly did not allow for landing or loitering over Malaysian airspace.