Subject: Malaysia Dissolves Pkeeping Force for E Timor


Bernama - Port Klang, 6 September: Malaysia Wednesday [6 September] officially dissolved its special operations mission that had served as a peacekeeping force in Timor Leste earlier this year to quell unrest there.

The dissolution and completion of mission ceremony was held at South Port here and was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

A total of 663 officers and men of the Malaysian armed forces had served in Timor Leste since 25 May, along with soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and Portugal.

Unrest broke out in Timor Leste after some 600 soldiers were sacked following complaints of discrimination. This led to rioting which began in March, followed by clashes between rival factions of security forces, and degenerated into fighting between rival gangs, looting and arson.

The unrest led to the deaths of 21 people and the displacement of some 150,000.

At the ceremony Wednesday, Najib said the experience and knowledge gained by the Malaysian soldiers who had served in Timor Leste should be recorded to help upgrade the service of the troops in general and for future missions.

He also said that the excellent service and effective role of the Malaysian soldiers in maintaining peace was a piece of history that had to be treasured.

Najib, who is also defence minister, paid tribute to the Malaysian soldiers who he said had discharged their duties with courage and determination, and added that this should be recorded as historical material for future generations.

He also said that the contributions of the Malaysian peacekeepers had earned praises from the Australian troops as well as the government and people of Timor Leste.

Najib told reporters later that an excess amount of about 28m ringgit [approximately 7.7m US dollars] of the National Disaster Fund had been returned to the Treasury and that any query of a delay in returning the funds should not have arisen.

He said that based on data from the National Security Division, the total amount was 78.8m ringgit and 51.4m ringgit of it had been distributed to state governments, ministries, government agencies and other bodies such as the Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, with much of it going to victims of the tsunami.

The Auditor-General's report for 2005 had stated that an excess amount of RM6.7m had not been returned to the Treasury.

"I can confirm that all the money that had to be returned has been returned," said Najib, adding that he would seek details from the attorney-general on the matter.

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