Mat Sabu: Training with live bullets will continue

24 Oct 2019 / 13:09 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of live bullets will continue in military training despite a recent tragedy that saw an army commando killed during a live demonstration, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the incident involving Lt Colonel Mohd Zahir Armaya on Sept 4 was an anomaly and was the first such case in 15 years, and that there was no necessity to review the use of live bullets.

He stressed that such training involving special military forces like the commandos was important to create capable soldiers who were brave and combat-ready.

“The ministry doesn’t deny the risk that the use of live bullets in training poses to our soldiers, but it commensurates with the need to produce army personnel who are highly motivated and confident.

“This is important for them to carry out specific missions, and as such, these training will continue. This is the view of the armed forces themselves, including the commandos, that there is no problem with using live rounds.

“I have seen for myself close-combat training conducted with the use of live bullets, and like I said, the case involving Mohd Zahid is a training accident,” he said.

Mohamad, or Mat Sabu as he is better known, also pointed out that the use of live bullets during training and demonstrations was a common practice by special forces worldwide to prepare soldiers for specific tasks.

He was responding to questions from Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk) on whether the ministry plans to review its policies pertaining to the use of live bullets during training and if there would be a change to the ministry’s standard operating procedures (SOP).

Answering specifically on the SOP, Mohamad said the armed forces would review it to ensure that such an incident does not recur.

Mohd Zahir, who is the son of veteran actor-comedian A. R. Badul, was shot during an army exhibition in conjunction with the launching of the 13th army brigade and 5th Infantry Division, before succumbing to his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu.

Following the incident, several quarters have called on the Defence Ministry to review the use of live bullets in training to avoid a similar incident happening again.

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