SHAH ALAM: 2018, A Year in Review. With 2019 knocking the door already its time look wind back the clock and review what had happened in the last 12 months or so. Good or bad, the first thing to come into mind of 2018 was the May 9 general elections. Pakatan Harapan led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad beat the odds and overcame the Barisan Nasional government.
The result of the GE led to the swearing in of Amanah President Mohammad Sabu as the Defence Minister replacing Hishammuddin Hussein. Even though Mat Sabu is a better politician than Hishammuddin, the evidence so far revealed that he is no better the minister than the son of the former PM.
The change of government also saw the Armed Forces chief being abruptly replaced by a former Army chief. There were also changes to the Army and navy but both were expected as they had reached their retirement age.
Anyhow despite the momentous changes in the government, the military remained the same, in the fringes. Even the budget had to be redone weeks after it was announced.
A month before the changes, at DSA 2018, several contracts like the Nexter 105mm, M109SPH and NSM were signed though the upgrades for the Hawks, Hercules and Nuri were left out. Other notable events in 2018 that comes to mind include the first public firing of the Ingwe ATGW, acceptance of the Thales Forceshield VSHORAD system and the air-to-air refuelling of RMAF fighters with the A400M. RMN also finally put into service its two training ships, after almost four year delay.
As of 2019, RMAF is not getting any new aircraft, used or even leased ones. The upgrades of its Hercules, Hawks and Nuri fleet remained unclear despite what had been claimed by the previous minister.
The Army is getting more Gempita like in the previous few years, trucks and 4X4 but not really new stuff. It is unclear whether it is getting the MD Helicopters MD530G light attack helicopter by year end or not despite what the new chief said.
MD Helicopters on Oct 1, 2018 announced that it
new MD 530G will receive a U.S. Army Airworthiness Release (AWR) by December 2019
Hopefully by March, we will find out more the direction of the national security sector though the outlook is cloudy. Anyhow, Happy New Year!
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