Malaysian defence procurement is expected to perk up starting this year following a military operation against terrorists in the Sabah region and the government’s focus on renewed modernization.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who opened the 12th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2013) in Lankagwi island hinted that procurement might see an upward trend. "Military modernisation programmes continue to drive defence spending in ASEAN. The acquisition of ships and aircraft, drones and armoured vehicles will continue to be the focus of procurement within the region and form the majority of defence procurement spending until 2020", Najib said.
Though Najib’s comments were in the context of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), it is no secret that Malaysia is among the top spenders on defence within the ASEAN community.
The terrorist threat faced by Malaysia comes from the Sulu rebels which originate from the southern Philippines. What began six weeks ago has become the biggest internal security threat since the end of the communist insurgency, he said. Malaysia launched an all-out military operation against what it calls, “the invading force” which had earlier killed eight policemen and one soldier. The "Ops Daulat" offensive against the Sulu terrorists which was launched on March 5 this year has resulted in 65 of the terrorists being killed.
The terrorist situation will lead to increased procurement and training for the military. Already there are signs that talks are afoot with major defence companies to procure equipment with the intent to increase the rapid response and precision-strike capability of the Malaysian armed forces.
This includes surveillance systems, helicopters and precision-guided munitions besides armoured vehicles fitted with the latest communications and command and control systems.