: An economic growth centre along the lines of the pasar malam
(night market) is to be established in an area in the Ma'rakah district in Lebanon that is under the watch of Malaysian peacekeepers.
The centre, to be set up next year under the Rest & Service concept following discussions with the local authority, is intended to boost business and foster closer relations with the community in the vicinity.
Malaysian Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Baharum, who disclosed this to Bernama
and RTM, said the centre, about 80km south of Beirut, might be named "Pasar Malaysia".
The Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Unit of the Malaysia Battalion (MALBATT) 850-4 peacekeeping force, which has taken over from MALBATT 850-3, would develop the trading site, he said.
Mohd Johari also said Malaysian peacekeepers had won the hearts of the local people through the Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) that incorporated educational aid, skills training and medical assistance.
Elaborating on medical assistance, he said it involved health and dental examinations by doctors in the peacekeeping force.
"We have doubled the number of doctors to four. Health examination in certain cases will be referred to nearby hospitals or the UNIFIL (United Nations Interin Force in Lebanon) Hospital," he said.
On education, Mohd Johari said infrastructure and other amenities had been provided, such as playgrounds and computers for schools and colleges.
He said since the participation of MALBATT in UNIFIL, various programmes had been implemented for the benefit of the Lebanese people besides the routine peacekeeping duty.
Mohd Johari has been in Beirut since last Wednesday. He had come with the first batch of 215 peacekeepers of MALBATT 850-4 led by Col Nazim Mohd Alim to see for himself the operations of the country's peacekeeping force.
MALBATT 850-4 also comprises 28 personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
MALBATT 850-3, led by Col Reizal Arif Ismail, comprised 820 officers and personnel of the Malaysian Armed Forces and 29 from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and a civilian.
They had served as peacekeepers since Sept 14 last year.
The Malaysian government approved the MAF participation in the UNIFIL mission in 2007. -- Bernama