SEPANG: The third batch of volunteers on the Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M) humanitarian aid mission to Gaza, left for Cairo, the Egyptian capital today to assist the Palestinians besieged by Israeli forces.
This brings the number of volunteers on the special mission to 71, including 35 medical specialists who are expected to deliver foodstuff and medical supplies, and perform surgeries on victims of Israeli military assault.
The team will be led by KP1M Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim on the mission which is expected to take about seven days, making Malaysia the first country to enter the conflict-stricken zone since the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) began pounding the city last month.
The attacks have spurred outrage in Malaysia in an event which has killed over 2,000 Palestinians, mostly innocent civilians, and women and children make up a majority of those on the death toll.
The 43 volunteers who left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here, today also received a rapturous send off by hundreds of supports, among them deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamed, who is also Perdana Global Peace Foundation chairman.
Abdul Azeez said the mission will attempt to bring back to Malaysia some 100 injured Palestinian children orphaned by the conflicts to be placed at the National Heart Institute (IJN) and other public hospitals.
He said this would be the most dangerous humanitarian mission ever undertaken by KP1M due to the uncertainties of the on-going war.
“Although we have been on dozens of missions, this one would be the toughest because we are unsure whether any ceasefire would take place while we are there,” he told reporters when met after the official sending-off ceremony at the airport, here, yesterday.
Also present were Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism minister Datuk Hasan Malek, Deputy Finance minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, Palestine Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Anwar Hamadto Kaseem al-Agha.
Anwar said the mission had shown Malaysia’s deep concern to the plight of the people of Gaza who were being oppressed by the Israeli government.
“We have always kept Malaysia close to our hearts and we hope that one day we will be free from this oppression and Malaysians can come to visit Palestine,” he said.
Melaka chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, who was also present at the ceremony, had recited a “Doa Selamat“ prayer for the volunteers’ success in the mission and safe return.
The mission will distribute some 40 tonnes of foodstuff, medicines and other necessities, of which 20 tonnes of the items were brought from Malaysia while the rest would be bought in Egypt.
The first team of eight volunteers is left on the mission last Wednesday to survey the needs of the Palestinians there (Gaza) before the following team left on Saturday.
Muhyiddin, in his speech said, Malaysia will remain firm on its stance on the conflict in condemning the atrocities committed by Zionist Israelis on innocent Palestinians.
This, Muhyiddin said, was why the government was moved to provide assistance to Palestinians who were suffering.
“We have stated clearly stated our disdain for what is happening there and we oppose every form of cruelty being committed against those in Palestine, especially in Gaza who do not deserve to be treated inhumanely,” Muhyiddin said, adding the recent conflict had cost thousands of innocent lives.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s action did not only come in the form of condemnation, but it was also sincere in helping Palestine by sending volunteers to help them in whatever way possible to reduce their suffering.
He added Malaysia will continue to find ways to provide help to Palestinians as Malaysians we highly committed in alleviating their plight.
Mahathir, when met by reporters, said the Israeli-Palestine conflict would only end after the United States government ceases to provide military assistance to Israel.