NZ should suspend planned military exercises with Malaysia

The Green Party wants the government to suspend forthcoming military exercises with Malaysia in the wake of the six year jail sentence on Anwar Ibrahim.

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said the charges, trial and sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim amounted to a clear travesty of justice and called on the New Zealand government to stand up and be counted on the issue.

“Suspending future military exercises is one way of showing Prime Minister Mahathir that we abhore the show trial of his former deputy. Don McKinnon’s few gentle words of criticism are simply nowhere near enough,” he said.

“We need to back the words with action. The New Zealand Defence force is due to participate in a major air and naval exercise in Malaysia in August/September. This exercise, Stardex, is organised under the Five Power Defence Arrangement.”

“Planning is underway for some of those travelling to Stardex to also participate in bilateral exercises with Malaysian forces. At the very least we should be refusing to participate in any bilateral exercises,” said Keith Locke.

“We shouldn’t be exercising with Malaysian armed forces, particularly when considering their involvement in quashing dissent in Kuala Lumpur,” said Mr Locke. “The Greens do not want our military associating with them.”

“Suspending exercises would also boost the morale of Malaysia’s democrats who must be extremely disheartened by the sentencing of their leader,” said Keith Locke.