Masjid Tanah (Malaysia) (ANTARA News/Bernama) - Defence Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Sunday joint military exercises between Indonesia and Malaysia must continue to be held although a senior Indonesian military commander had reportedly called for a review of the war games.
He said such exercises had been going on for years in the common interest and should not be discontinued due to an isolated maritime incident which resulted in protests by a small group in Indonesia.

"I hope the military commanders of both countries would not adopt an emotional approach to the joint exercises," he told reporters after an Aidilfitri open house at his in-laws` house in Kampung Empang Batu, here.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was asked to comment on an Indonesia media report quoting a senior military commander calling for a review of the joint exercises.

There were anti-Malaysia protests in Jakarta recently after seven Malaysian fishermen were arrested by Indonesian maritime authorities for allegedly trespassing in Indonesian waters near Bintan island on Aug 13, and the subsequent detention of three Indonesian maritime officers by Malaysian marine police. All the fishermen and officers have since been released.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Malindo Darsasa 7AB/2010 exercise in Melaka last April involving the three wings of the Malaysian and Indonesian commando units was beneficial to both countries.

"By rotation, a similar exercise is scheduled in Indonesia in 2014, this time involving tactics and up-to-date arms," he said.

Melaka Head of State Mohd Khalil Yaakob and Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam were among the hundreds of people who attended the open house hosted by Dr Ahmad Zahid.(*)