Malaysia contributes RM5m for Palestine to rebuild Al-Rimal clinic in Gaza

Housing Palestine’s only Covid-19 testing laboratory and Health Ministry, the clinic was destroyed by Israeli attacks in May

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic source: Wisma Putra

THE Malaysian government has contributed RM5 million to Palestine for the reconstruction of the Al-Rimal Clinic in Gaza.

The clinic which houses the one and only Covid-19 testing laboratory was destroyed by the Israeli attacks in May this year.

The Exchange of Notes (EoN) on the contribution was signed by Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (picture; left) and Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali (right) at the Foreign Ministry, Wisma Putra yesterday.

According to Saifuddin, the contribution was funded by allocation from the National Disaster Relief Trust Fund, under the National Disaster Management Agency, Prime Minister’s Department.

He noted that the contribution reflects Malaysia’s unwavering support for the government and people of Palestine.

“The incessant Israeli attacks have destroyed public infrastructures in Gaza, including healthcare facilities providing critical healthcare services to the Palestinians amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said at the EoN signing ceremony in Putrajaya.

Saifuddin added that the government has also decided to extend a predictable long-term contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in support of the Agency’s efforts to assist Palestinians.

In addition to the previous financial contributions to UNRWA, the government has allocated US$1 million (RM4.15 million) to be disbursed annually in the amount of US$200,000 from 2021 until 2025.

“The contributions from the government complement humanitarian efforts and assistance from Malaysia, including those undertaken by the private sector, non-governmental organisations, as well as private individuals.

“Malaysia will continue to support the Palestinian cause at the national, regional and international levels, and extend humanitarian assistance and capacity building to Palestine,” he said.

Apart from financial aid, Malaysia is also looking into ways of facilitating the Palestinians in terms of education and employment.

Saifuddin emphasised that there are many Palestinian students in Malaysia, in which some are on scholarship and some are not.

“We would like to discuss this matter with certain quarters to look at the possibility of assisting Palestinian students in Malaysia and have more of them to come study here with financial assistance.

“When it comes to employment, Palestinians who are staying here are only using the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees card and we want to ensure that they are not being exploited in any way,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, Walid said the clinic, which was damaged in the 11-day Israeli attack in May, is crucial for the two million residents of the coastal enclave, as it is also used as the headquarters of the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

He acknowledged that Malaysia was among the very few countries that provided urgent financial assistance to Palestine.

“We are grateful to Malaysia for the contribution to rebuild what has been damaged by the Israeli airstrikes,” he said.

Walid also expressed his appreciation to Malaysia for always supporting the Palestinian cause since their struggle started over seven decades ago.

Previously, as a sign of Palestinian friendship with Malaysia, the Gaza Municipality has named a road in the western district of Gaza city as “Malaysia Street” on Aug 31 this year in commemoration of Malaysia’s National Day.

The gesture was a sign of appreciation for the strong solidarity shown by Malaysia to Palestine over the years, especially through its convoys, humanitarian missions, humanitarian aid and political stand.