Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Students not in danger in Egypt

Supporters of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, protesting in the compound of Raba Al Adaawyia mosque in Cairo on Monday.

National Security Council official in Cairo to assess situation

MALACCA: A NATIONAL Security Council (NSC) representative is in Egypt to assess the situation there, after which the representative will report to the council.

Only then will the decision whether or not to evacuate Malaysians there be made.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday the Royal Malaysian Air Force was on standby to send its aircraft to Egypt, should the need to evacuate Malaysians arise.

However, he said it was too early to say whether this would happen.

"We are assessing the situation in Egypt before a decision can be made on the evacuation of Malaysian students.

"We will know whether to bring our students back only when the report on the situation there is obtained by the NSC, which is chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak."

There are 8,898 Malaysian students in Egypt.

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"As far as I am concerned, we are ready for deployment at any time. We have two RMAF C130 transport aircraft on standby.

"We are also working closely with the Education Ministry and agencies that are sponsoring our students there."

Hishammuddin said it would be better for Malaysians there to fly back on commercial airlines, should they feel the need to do so.

"It is not that we do not want to help fly back civilians, but it would be easier if they opt to return on commercial airlines."

He said this after visiting the Army's 10th Para Brigade at Terendak Camp and the Special Service Group at the Sungai Udang Camp here.

At the 10th Para Brigade, Hishammuddin was awarded an honorary maroon beret and wings by armed forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin in military fashion at Dataran Parawood.

Earlier, Hishammuddin said his visit to the army camps was not only aimed at fostering closer ties with members of the armed forces, but also to meet them and listen to their problems, in terms of welfare and equipment.

"We expect members of the armed forces to sacrifice for the peace and stability of the country.

"In return, we have to ensure that their needs are looked into."

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