Malaysia Defence & Security Report Q1 2014
Published by Business Monitor International
on Nov 14, 2013
, 85 pages
PDF - Download Now with 3 Quarterly Updates format - Download Now
The domestic security agenda continues to be dominated by the fallout of a remarkable incident in February 2013, when Sabah in East Malaysia was invaded by a force of 200 armed men, who claimed the territory on behalf of the Sulu Sultanate (the Sulu Archipelago now being a part of the Philippines). The action resulted in an assault on the area by the Malaysian military, which left at least 31 of the militants dead. It also strained Malaysian-Philippine relations, and may yet have implications for the ongoing peace process in the southern Philippines. While there is every reason to hope that this event was a one-off, the government has established a new East Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE), and the military command has begun outlining organisational changes and procurement objectives with a view to significantly boosting its capabilities in the East of the country.
Major defence procurements were put on hold in the months preceding the election, but these are now expected to resume in the second half of the year. A new defence minister, Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein - a cousin of Prime Minister Najib - is now in place following the election, and his arrival should lend new impetus to Malaysia's defence programmes.
In particular, the Air Force is keen to press on with the procurement of a new multirole fighter aircraft (MRCA). Although the requirement is relatively small at around 18 aircraft, would-be suppliers have already begun lobbying fiercely for the contract. Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter and Saab are all interested in fulfilling the Malaysian requirement. As of mid-2013, the air force leadership appeared to be leaning towards the Saab Gripen, which the Swedish firm has offered to lease to Malaysia, reducing costs and enabling rapid delivery of the aircraft. A formal RfP is anticipated before the end of 2013.
The Air Force is also planning to acquire a new airborne early warning and control aircraft in the near future. As with the MRCA, a tender is expected to be issued in 2H 2013, with Saab and Northrop Grumman seen as the companies likely to be competing for the order.