- Advertisement -

Putrajaya defends presence of firms aiding Israel as protest erupts outside KL expo

Putrajaya will not interfere in the business affairs of these companies, says defence minister.

2 minute read
Protesters display banners and mock body bags representing Palestinians killed in Israel's offensive in Gaza, outside Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Protesters display banners and mock body bags representing Palestinians killed in Israel's offensive in Gaza, outside Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Putrajaya has defended the participation of defence companies supplying military equipment to Israel at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) and National Security (Natsec) Asia in Kuala Lumpur, saying Malaysia practises "free trade" and will not interfere in their business affairs.

"Ties that some global defence companies have with certain countries are their business and Malaysia will not interfere," said Defence Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

It comes as scores of people gathered outside the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre today to protest the presence of companies whose military equipment has been used by Israel in its current campaign in Gaza, where more than 30,000 Palestinians mostly women and children have been killed.

The companies include Lockheed Martin and MBDA (BAE Systems) as well as Aim Point, Colt, L3Harris, Leupold, Shield AI and Leonardo.

The protesters held banners and chanted slogans such as "Lockheed bangsat" and "Free Palestine".

Yesterday, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Putrajaya must immediately expel companies with ties to Israel from participating in the exhibition as their presence was an insult to the Palestinian struggle.

"Let them know that there is no place in Malaysia for anyone who supports or conspires with Israel to commit genocide against the Palestinians," Mahathir said in response to protests against the participation of companies that supply military equipment to Israel.

Protest_Natsec_3_20240507_110921Earlier, a pro-Palestinian group had questioned Putrajaya for allowing the companies' participation "to come here and proudly display their weapons products".

"These are the very people supplying equipment to carry out the genocide, and the genocide is still ongoing to this day," said the Palestine Solidarity Secretariat.

On its website, Lockheed Martin says it is "proud" of its role in defending Israel's security.

"Our C-130 and F-16 aircraft have been faithfully serving the Israel Air Force since the 1970s and 1980s, and when a letter of agreement was signed in October 2010, Israel became the first country to select the F-35 through the US government's foreign military sales process," it said.

Lockheed's F-16s and F-35s were used by Israel to bomb Gaza, while its C-130 Hercules aircraft were used for ground attacks.

"They also supplied missiles such as AGM-114 Hellfire and Hellfire R9X, which Israel used to bomb the Al-Shifa hospital," SSP said.

Last week,  MalaysiaNow revealed that an Israeli ship had recently docked in Port Klang, despite a ban announced by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in late December.

Protest_Natsec_2_20240507_110921The ZIM Rotterdam, a cargo ship owned by Israeli company Zim Integrated Shipping Services, docked in Port Klang on April 29 before sailing on to the Chinese port of Shantou a day later.

The transport ministry and the Port Klang Authority have not responded to MalaysiaNow's enquiries.

Khaled, meanwhile, said the DSA and Natsec exhibition was privately funded.

"The Malaysian government does not incur any cost in
organising it," he said.

He said Mindef would still consider Malaysia's position on the Palestinian conflict when procuring military equipment.

He also said Muslim countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Pakistan were also represented in the exhibition.