ALOR GAJAH, July 9 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) are prepared to take the Malaysian students out of the conflict-stricken Egypt if the situation worsens and can pose threats to their lives, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said.
He said two Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF) C130 aircraft had also been put in full preparedness state for the operation.
"However, we have to take into consideration that the travel time for the C130 aircraft will be longer than that of commercial flight, it's difficult to get the diplomatic clearance for air space and the operation will also be costly. So, commercial airlines is preferred to give a better comfort for our student.
"Nonetheless, if we cannot take our students out by commercial flights, or if the safety level of our students is critical, ATM will launch the mission to take out the students," he told a press conference after visiting Terendak and Sungai Udang camps today.
He was accompanied by ATM chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron.
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During the visit, Hishammuddin was conferred the Maroon Beret and Honorary Parachute Wing of the 10th Brigade (Para). They were also entertained with a military demonstration mounted by 2,000 members of the 10th Brigade (Para), some of whom were involved in the military operation in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
Hishammuddin said if the government decided to take the students out of Egypt, they would be flown directly home without having to go to Jeddah.
However, he said at present, the Malaysian Embassy in Cairo had informed that there was no need for Malaysian students and citizens to return home.
"We are monitoring the situation in Cairo closely and we will take immediate action if the situation worsens. We have also advised all students to report to the embassy and their respective sponsor's office about the latest situation there," he said.
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