The National Defence Policy; Dasar Pertahanan Malaysia

SHAH ALAM: For those who wished to read full text, please do so here. Its in Bahasa Malaysia only at the moment so I guess who cant read Malay has to bear with my analysis.

Since its 54 pages long, I had to take some time to read it before I could make any comment on it. For a document that is very important, the silence is deafening. I guess thats what happened when the unveiling was held on the same day as a visit from someone as important as the US Secretary Defence. Perhaps those in Mindef will be more careful when planning the Defence Minister’s schedule. The Indonesian trip can wait…

Any how back to the NDP. It is the first comprehensive defence policy ever published in Malaysia so claimed Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his successor at Jalan Padang Tembak, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi. The NDP was formulated I believed in 2006 when Pak Lah was the Defence Minister cum PM. I believed there is a classified version of the NDP as the link on the Mindef website stated its DPN-Terbuka.

Since its 54 pages long I do not wish to comment on everything just what I believed is important.
From the foreword:

“Malaysia has set that maintenance of the national interest is the core to its sovereignty and independence. In connection thereto, the main objective of the National Defense Security is to protect and secure Malaysia’s area of interest from any threats either from abroad or domestic.

Malaysia’s areas of interest are as follows :

• The main area
• Offshore economic zone
• Strategic routes waters and air space

The main area covers Malaysia’s land area i.e. Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak including its territorial waters and air space. These areas must be protected and secured best from any form of external invasion.

Offshore economic zone is the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the country’s continental shelf. This area is located at the South China Sea which is rich with fishery resources and hydrocarbon, and major contributor to the country’s economy.

Malaysia’s strategic routes waters and air space are as follows :

• water and air routes linking the Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak;
• Straits of Malacca and accessibility; and
• Straits of Singapore and accessibility.

The physical separation of Peninsula Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea requires the country’s main attention towards water and air space routes between both the territories. Any threats and interference at the water and air space routes will affect the integrity of both territories and Malaysia as a whole.

Based on the national interests that need to be maintained, Malaysia must have a level of defense capability that can ensure the key areas can be protected in any way. Malaysia also has to maintain and increase the capability to protect the sovereignty rights on the land and water territory including EEZ, continental shelf and all its strategic maritime and air space routes. Thus, capability development of MAF has to be based on the main purpose to protect the national interest of the three regions. In the meantime, the national defense is not limited to preparedness to face any conflict that might occur but a guarantee of independence and sovereignty, defending national interest and catalyst for national development programmes.”

The foreword sets the stage for the rest of NDP which stated the Malaysian defensive posture is based on deterrence and forward defence, which sounds pretty much like what our southern neighbour had been advocating for some time now.
The NDP however failed to pinpoint what kind of threats that Malaysia should deter and defend for apart from the now ubiquitous terrorist threats.
It does say that with a Forward Defence posture MAF need to develop a quick reaction force to response to such a crisis. Dominating the air, sea and land battle is the core strategy in winning such crisis, the NDP stated.
So what kind of force structure then? The NDP is silent on this issue just stating that we must have the capability in all three areas. Again, maybe and could be are not good enough.
So how many fighters we need to be able to defend the whole of Malaysia? How many ships to prevent any intrusions? Perhaps they have it in the classified NDP. Its a big mystery to you and me.
But as the NDP politely point out that since we are heavily involved in “peace time engagement” I am guessing that the powers that be feels that current MAF equipment is good enough during this hard times.
As usual the requirements do not match our funding reality. Its an open ended mission statement, a carte blanche, to spend money on defence without rhyme or reason, when money is available not because we have to to but because we are able to.
What is wrong with buying a few Super Hornets or a submarine? “Hey the NDP says we need to develop our forces to defend our interests….

Reading the NDP my impression is that the Army need to be down size to match the our new defensive posture. However I believed Mindef will not downsize the Army as it is eyeing an internal security role for the soldiers. Under the Internal Security chapter, the NDP warn that country while peaceful and prosperous still faced threats which could erupt at any time if not curbed from the beginning.
The threat according to the NDP is “The country current political climate showed a huge gap between the races. The unpredictable political situation has the potential to threaten the social stability and peaceful co-existence of the various races in the country.
It went to state that the situation was being exacerbated by leaders who played up sensitive issues to the point that they can disrupt harmony and public order. The situation it claimed was further fanned by NGOs which made various claims which can disrupt the racial harmony and endanger the national security.
However, the NDP did not make any recommendations on how to tackle the issue but when on instead to focus on the issue of illegal immigrants which it claimed was also a national security issue.

The NDP was also silent on how the government to set up a network centric operation infrastructure and cyber warfare which it stated were an important part of the national defence strategy. The requirements are identified but the five Ws and one H remained missing (What, where, why, when, who and how).

What does that all mean for MAF then? In reality nothing. After reading through the pages, one can make certain assumptions based on his or her understanding on the matter but one cannot be certain. One may surmised that the Army’s role has been marginalised by the NDP. Yes, it remained an important element of the MAF’s posture but advocating forward defence meant that funding should be focused on the air force and the navy. We cannot be funding MBTs when it is already decided that any fighting must be done as far away from the country. The boys in green must be livid…..

Budgetary wise, the NDP also failed spectacularly. It failed to state why the country need to allocate a certain amount of the budget for the MAF, even for the sake of maintaining current operations and equipment. There must be a minimum amount we need to spent every year or is that too hard to calculate?
Stating requirements and needs is one thing but being silent on mandatory allocation and allowing the government to dictate it on its whims, to me is dishonourable.

As the MAF is expected to be above politics, the NDP as a mission statement for the armed forces, it must state categorically how much its needs annually for it meet to the strategic needs of the nation instead of shying away from it. As it is the government will be under pressure to reduce defence allocation whenever the economy goes south, especially it cannot readily identify threats that necessitated a spending spree in spree. For example, why do need to buy a Super Hornet when the threat is a few men armed with rifles and suicide vests?
Implying that conventional crisis , could or may happened due to unresolved regional issues, will not inspire sympathy for MAF needs

As stated in the final chapter of the NDP, the budget, the government admitted that affordability is the basic considerations for any arms procurements. To me that its not enough. Considering whether we can afford a weapon system at the point of procurement is unwise.The government must consider a full service life cost as the main criteria. For example, the 18 Migs we purchased in 1993 was very affordable at the point of procurement but it was certainly not affordable in the long term.

And yes, before I forget, the NDP does not even mentioned UAVs.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1163 Articles
Shah Alam

47 Comments

  1. Well written commentary. I have just finished reading it from this morning. You nailed the points right on.

  2. At first glance, the NDP appears to offer nothing new. With regards to mentioning Malaysia’s areas of interest/importance and it’s concerns, it’s just stating the obvious.
    The fact remains that there is no political will at the moment to allocate more to defence and that our government is still gambling and complacent with regards to our security.

    This government needs to put it’s money where its mouth is and ”walk the walk” instead of just ‘talking the talk” like it usually does.
    Like all of us here I’m very curious as to what, apart from the 6 LCs’s, will receive funding over the next 5 years. Marhalim has a point that perhaps the army needs to be downsized but there is no way that the generals will let this happen.

    Marhalim, on another issue you mentioned some time ago that the Brits were going to offer us an attractive Typhoon package. Any further news? They have offered Oman 24 ex RAF Typhoons [Trance 1 I think] for 1.5 billion sterling. With relations now on the mend with Uncle Sam, the Super Hornet stands a much better chance.

  3. Well interpreted Marhalim. For me, I prefer if our armed forces focus on procuring assets like the LHD/LPD and more transport aircraft and patrol vessel (effective one not like the darn expensive yet not too effective Kedah-class) since our main focus now is not on war but more towards humanitarian mission. I hope that our govt will be more generous for the next 5 years to procure more useful and yet cost effective assets.

  4. As usual, the policy-makers all have their heads up in the clouds. A 46-pages long (and 19 pages of colourful but ultimately filler pages) document that could be concluded that its authors wrote no referencing sources for support of its claims, generalised ideas long forethought of, fanciful jargon that obscures readers into a false sense of direction and vision, and pretty much a collection of obviousness that really could not be considered anymore earth-shattering even if it had been completed way back in ’06.

    If there really is a classified NDP, I doubt the language in it conveys anything more worthy than this piece of marketing spiel.

  5. On the surface, the NDP unfortunatly does not include anything that indicates a more realistic and serious approach/shift in Malaysia’s defence policy. Most of it just states the obvious…

    Syameer….. so you finally agree that funding should be spent on stuff that we are more likely to use like the Sri Inderapura replacement, OPVs, etc, rather than sexy but not very useful in peacetime items like the
    S-300. Fitting RAM on the Kedah class, like it’s German designers intended, would be the most practical solution assuming there was funding and the will. Looks like Eurocopter will still hae to wait for a firm contract.

    Marhalim: Actual a long range SAM system sounds good idea for the deterrence and forward defence advocated by the NDP. Yes the S300 will probably dont work with our GBAD system. But a comprehensive SAM system will be cheaper than having up to 100 plus fighters which will be the minimum numbers if follow the NDP logic…

  6. Post 1 of 2

    I think it is useful to look at how much the top 5 ASEAN countries are spending on defence in the region to set the context for your discussion (data line items marked with an ‘*’ at the start of each line are from SIPRI):

    1. Singapore

    Population: 5.08 million
    2009 GDP (nominal): US$182.23 billion

    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP: Between a low of 3.9% to a high of 5.1% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending: US$7,966 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending: US$6,661 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending: US$5,997 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    2. Indonesia

    Population: 238 million
    2009 GDP (nominal): US$539.37 billion (IMF data)

    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP: Between a low of 1.0% to a high of 1.4% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending: US$4,908 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending: US$4,840 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending: US$2,970 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    [To be continued in post 2/2]

  7. Post 2 of 2

    3. Thailand

    Population: 65.99 million
    2009 GDP (nominal): US$263.97 billion (IMF data)

    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP: Between a low of 1.1% to a high of 1.5% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending: US$4,117 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending: US$2,673 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending: US$2,702 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    4. Malaysia

    Population: 28.25 million
    2009 GDP (nominal): US$192.95 billion (IMF data)

    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP: Between a low of 2.0% to a high of 2.6% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending: US$4,078 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending: US$3,691 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending: US$2,122 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    5. Vietnam

    Population: 85.85 million
    2009 GDP (nominal): US$92.43 billion (IMF data)

    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP: Between a low of 2% to a high of 2.5% (data from 2003 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending: US$2,073 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending: US$1,370 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending: No data shown in SIPRI database

  8. I’m not into the long range SAM idea. Long Range SAM’s are easy to destroy as it is more or less static. Once it is deployed in one place, it is difficult to be moved, unlike an airplane which can fly to any area that is needed. And what else can you do with a SAM installation? It can’t patrol the sky, intercept and confirm unidentified aircraft, support our troops on the ground, do any maritime strike missions or attack any enemy installations deep into enemy territory.

    Marhalim: Yes, its role are limited but since we are into deterrence and forward defence, we could not afford the 500 4.5 or 5 generation fighters as envisioned by the NDP the next best thing we need SAMs. Even if we can afford 500 fighters we need tankers, AEW, recon planes, UAVs and other stuff…..

  9. Marhalim, the problem is that recent conflicts have shown that no matter how integrated or comprehensive a GBAD is, eventually it will and can be gradually broken down by a well equipped and well trained air arm. To be effective, a GBAD has to work in conjunction with fighters.

    To me the best solution would be to work our way from bottom up, from more MANPADS, alerting devices and medium range missiles rather than making the jump straight to a long range system, which we can’t afford to buy in large numbers anyway.

    Marhalim: Iraq never had a comprehensive GBAD system even during the First Gulf War, mostly point defence systems which were linked to the KARI network developed by the French which gave its secrets to the US. Yes, anything can be defeated in a war of attrition. The problem is the NDP advocated an air dominant air force, which we also cannot afford….

  10. Marhalim, where in the world did you get the requirement of 500 gen 5 fighters from? If Australia can defend its territory with more or less 100 fighters (f/a-18’s, hawks and f/a-18F’s) i cannot see why you came out with the 500 fighters requirement. I foresee TUDM having 100 hi-lo mix of fighters as adequate.

    What kind of deterrence that SAM’s can give towards realising the NDP plan? Can SAM’s protect the water and air routes linking the Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak? Can SAM’s deter threads from encroaching our EEZ? Can it deter threads from crossing the border on land? How can a long range SAM be useful in peacetime instead of a fighter aircraft? 1 S-300PMU SAM battery costs around 160Mil USD. At least 5-6 batteries needed to cover strategic locations in Malaysia. That costs as much as our 18 SU-30MKM’s, that is multi purpose, unlike single use SAM’s.

    Marhalim: China. The NDP says air dominance and the number seemed to be stuck. I am not saying I am correct, it could be totally wrong….

  11. Unusual given its small population(calculation of GDP determined in part and largely by population size), Singapore makes up for the lack of population size with high GDP per capita.

    OPSG, Singapore’s and Malaysia’s GDP look set to hit $210 billion and $205 billion respectively this year; http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/news/story/0,4574,412980,00.html?

    This will probably result in increased defence spending by both countries.

    Marhalim: In the case of Malaysia, it will probably be lower. Singapore will spend more money on defence due to its strategy (forward defence and deterrence) and also due to its larger local defence industrial base. We are still figuring out what to do with the same strategy as espoused by the NDP.

  12. Yes Azlan, I am now with the idea of such a thing since I have to be more realistic about the current situoation. But, it doesn’t mean that I no longer support the S-300 idea

    We all know that the Chinese jet fighter might not be able to reach on this soil without the help of the aerial tanker and the S-300 would make the best deterrence for the Chinese force more than other assets like the MKMs. Morever, the S-300 system have the capability to provide defense against incoming threat such as ballistic missile and aircraft that make it the best system according to my knowledge-lah. On the other hand, I really agree with what you have mentioned before Azlan which is to buff up the Kedah-class armament system and so-on since I find that we should give our priority more on such a thing.

  13. Our air defence strategy should always be to try to deny air supremacy. Even when the US initiated Linebacker II in ’72 where the destruction of Vietnam’s air defence system hampered its logisitical capabilities to support its distant conventional forces, Vietnam’s massive array of AAA was impervious to SEAD.

    Malaysia’s peculiar strategic concerns makes us reliant on international and regional diplomacy, backed by major powers commitment to peace (as opposed to military dominance). This gives us leeway in making defence spending a much, much lesser priority. Again, I make the case that spending on logistical capability equipment, our LPDs, our helicopters are a much more sensible strategy in these times.

  14. Amongst ASEAN countries, the big story of change is in Indonesia. Their economy is showing steady growth, with an annual GDP growth rate of:

    (i) 4.5% in 2009;
    (ii) estimated 6% in 2010; and
    (iii) estimated 6.2% in 2011.

    See: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/INDONESIAEXTN/0,,contentMDK:22713977~pagePK:1497618~piPK:217854~theSitePK:226309,00.html

    Spending more on defence is not a problem for the Indonesians if they can keep their economy growing (they also have the largest economy amongst all the other ASEAN countries).

    The Indonesians are also being courted by the Americans, with the recent visit of Obama to Indonesia. Amongst other sweeteners, the Americans have offered the Indonesians 24 2nd hand F-16s, subject to the Indonesians paying for upgrades with Lockheed Martin. They are also considering a MLU of 10 existing TNI-AU F-16A/Bs.

    While I’m not sure of the Indonesians will accept the latest American offer, but taken in context, big changes will come about in Indonesia – with their latest order placed with Embraer and other Indonesian suppliers. The Indonesians are coming back to the arms market with money in their pockets.

  15. @Tomahawk, it’s not news to a Singaporean like me. Further, from 1990 to 2009, according to SIPRI data, Malaysia spent money on defence whenever her budget allowed for it. For the above time period, there were six years where Malaysia’s defence spending declined and ONLY one year where Singapore’s defence spending declined. Singapore’s defence spending ONLY did not increase in the year 2000. All other years, the defence spending in Singapore increased.

    I’ve included a link for the same projected economic growth data for Malaysia and Singapore. I typically do not like to talk about projections, rather, I prefer to discuss historical data.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-11-11/singapore-passing-malaysia-45-years-after-lee-s-tears.html

    The big story for me is Indonesia’s steady growth. After-all the country has the biggest economy in ASEAN.

  16. I suggest this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K01syDHRbk , the EADS ASTER Block 1 & 2 for our next generation medium to long range air defence system, we get 2 or 3 batteries for this systems 1 system for pennisular and 1 each for sabah and sarawak, some country in south east asia will get the S 300 from Russian like vietnam or maybe indonesia and myanmar-rumour says, other may like singapore may get PAC or israeli systems, cos this system is design to counter multi threat for cruise, aircraft, short and medium range ballistics missile, for me this system maybe full protection on our soil, let be part of NDP, any comment?

  17. OPSSG – ”Spending more on defence is not a problem for the Indonesians if they can keep their economy growing (they also have the largest economy amongst all the other ASEAN countries). ”

    Yes and we need to keep in mind that after the 97 Economic Crisis to until about 3-4 years ago, Indonesia hardly signed any major deals due to economic uncertainties and other priorities. In a way, the TNI is basicly making up for lost time because in certain areas the TNI-AU/AL and AD is more need of modernisation than the armed forces of it neighbours. As you pointed out however, only time will tell if Indonesia is able to mantain a steady growth with regards to improving the TNI.

    In Malaysia’s case you need to bear in mind that though immediate or near term funding might be available to fund several needed and delayed modernization programmes, the current government is very hesitant to do so until it can be sure that the next General Elections do not result in new occupants residing in Putrajaya. Amongst all the original members of ASEAN it can be argued the Malaysian military is the most underfunded and overstretched given the size of the ATM, its operational responsibilities and the defence budget. To give some perspective, there is only a single infantry brigade in Sabah, which is roughly
    4-5 times the size of Singapore, and no permanent fighter presence. As for the ”more aggressive Malaysians from UMNO Youth” you mentioned about elsewhere, believe me that the TNI-AUs plans to upgrade its F-16A/B fleet and procure Block 32s is the last
    thing on their minds. Lets just say that they have other ‘pressing” matters to attend to at the moment…

  18. The Malaysian policy talked about “Self Reliance”, “Total Defence” and “Forward Defence”. Are these policies realistic or affordable or even relevant to Malaysia?

    Marhalim: No.

  19. I would think the Allied experience in dealing with Serbian air defences would be more relevant to us in terms of lessons learnt. The problem with relying totally on a GBAD to deny an enemy the use of one’s airspace is that it leaves you with few options and ultimately your AD network either slowly breaks down or you start to run out of missiles. Whether in Kosovo or in Vietnam during the 1972 Christmas bombings, Allied/U.S airpower was still able to wreak havoc despite aircraft losses and limitations due to bad weather and political obstacles.

    Marhalim: I was not saying that we rely solely on GBAD but the fact is that even if we were to fund our forces as envisioned by the NDP, the cost is simply mind boggling. With a good GBAD system, we will ensure that we do not suffer morale sapping blows to our centre of economic, population and military. Fighters cannot stop cruise or ballistic missiles as shown by the hits suffered by Saudis during the First Gulf War.
    The Serbs had a alot of fighters (I cannot recall the figure) but realised that anything they scrambled out of their airspace was in violation of UN sanctions and therefore the aircraft can be shot down without warning (which happen on several occasions).
    And when NATO conducted bombing strikes, Serbian jets were also targeted which forced them to rely on their GBAD system.
    If not for the sanctions and the need to preserve the air force, the Serbs had to rely on their GBAD, good or bad. I believe if the Serbs had enough fighters (which is unlikely as they were fighting Nato) they would have sent out their fighters and fight the Nato jets away from their border, which is forward defence as the NDP had envisioned.

    If we were to follow strictly the NDP strategy, we may even need more than 500 fighters to ensure that the aircraft can actually do “forward defence” instead of being dispersed in the jungles to avoid them from being targeted by bombers and ballistic missiles. One must remember we have a huge airspace and historically, some neighbours had allowed an aggressor to go through its borders to attack another country, so in theory we could be attack from a zone we might not considered as a possibility.
    A good GBAD system will allow us to have an “active” defence on the ground and it also be good if the navy is also equipped with ships capable of area defence and anti ballistic missile defence. The fighters will serve as the first layer of forward defence with the added benefit of giving us the strategic and tactical flexibility to conduct strikes with the ships also capable of adding to that “hail of steel”. Land based GBAD system will be our last ditch defence as inevitably as you said a determined attacker will get through.

    But who we are kidding? We cannot afford this kind of layered defence as envisioned by the NDP. And by the way who is the biggest threat? The NDP authored by the best and brightest in Mindef and Govt did not even dare to say it. They muddle through it of course….

  20. Brother! You are doing orite.
    I have seen it before and appeared to be the same old thing. Sometimes it is nice to listen to all those oldies hah! Macam dengar lagu P.Ramli and Saloma but at least those oldies of P.Ramli creation are full of “Guidance” and worthy of reflections.
    Assumptions and threats? Like you said the 5 Ws and H missing?
    Capability driven? Donno- may be like you said in the secret version! may be.
    So my reading of your analysis that NDP seemed to be disconnected.
    Not fully deliberated may be or janji siap orite la!
    My question is why such an important piece of document is not debated in Parliament? Takkan kita tak percaya dengan member of Parliament that is why in part of the document under internal security they made a ridiculous assumption as not trusting our own people and remind me of Minister Zahid remark on the Chinese and Indian patrioticism.
    After all.. oldies ma… so they remain in the old school.

    Marhalim: and we all need to trust what the government is doing, blindly….

  21. Well said Marhalim, we can’t afford it and there is no political will. Apart from concealment and the use of decoys, the Serbs also made great use of their radar decoys. After losing a couple of Fulcrums to the USAF and Dutch AF, the Serb AF stopped flying.

  22. Under maritime capabilities/operations, it is stated;

    “Ini termasuk kemampuan untuk mengawal pintu-pintu masuk pelabuhan utama dan choke point yang kritikal seperti Selat Melaka dan Selat Singapura serta laluan perhubungan laut antara Semenanjung Malaysia dan Sabah/Sarawak.”

    Interesting. That’s basically saying RMN must have the capability to blockade the Singapore straits and the port of Singapore. How much direct could that be? Of course, the real world is much different as SAF exists plus the likelihood of international intervention seeing as such >70% of East Asian oil passes through the Singapore straits.

    Marhalim: I believe its the other way around, the ability to open it up; this is important as it is the fastest route to Sabah and Sarawak. Of course we can get around this as we have the Kuantan port; it is however an indication that the RMN wants a three fleet navy…

  23. I find the statement interesting nevertheless. In the face of an external threat to the straits of Malacca and Singapore, it is unlikely both Singapore and Malaysia will be on the opposite sides of the fence. On the contrary, an attempt to close the straits will see Singapore act militarily and probably arbitrarily to secure her own interests.

    Has anyone considered the combined capabilities of RSN and RMN? Current capabilities even. It is pretty good, especially if the Mekos are armed with the Formidables and Victory LCS providing area defence and 8 submarines(6 from Singapore and 2 from Malaysia).You have your decent deterrence right. This is not lost on potential belligerents or aggressors though it is unlikely RSN would support efforts around the Spratlys area.

    Marhalim: RMN must be worried however. In the current environment it is more vulnerable than RSN as it lacked air cover. As shown by the 1941 sinking of the Repulse and POW, air cover remained very critical even in this modern times. The NDP envisioned an air-sea-land dominance but without enough air cover, any attempts to maintain control over a large territory and water even in the littorals are daunting tasks.

  24. IMHO, the immediate threat that comes to Malaysia is not from war or border conflict, but rather how to deal with natural disasters such as floods and even earth quakes. Based on this, i reckon that assets that should be considered as main priority would be assets that could be used for humanitarian reliefs with secondary usage for surveillance and armed conflicts support.

    Though the focus has been on the MOD, but i should point out that other services mainly BOMBA has increased their holdings of assets such as helicopters. Since 1998, they already have 4 MIL 17, 2 A109 (1 crashed recently) and in the midst of getting 2 AW139 by 2011. These assets can go a long way in easing up the humanitarian relief effort, which all these years has been mainly done via RMAF Nuri. Plus the Maritime Patrol also has 3 dauphins plus in the midst of getting 3 AW139.

    Thus the arm chair general reckons in the midst of economic uncertainty the arm chair general kamal proposed the following:-

    1) Buy a surplus cargo handler from commercial line and convert it as a support ship. Yes we have debated about this but at this moment with budget deficit reduction as the main criteria, we can get a good surplus 10 year old ship for less than RM100 million (inclusive of refit of satcomm, navigational aid and encrypted comm) armed it with 3 20 mm cannon and a few .5 caliber. It is not the perfect solution but at least it can be used for supply mission and relief mission. Something like MV bunga Lima should do fine

    2) Order more AW139. It is not the best in every department but it is versatile enough and cost wise not that expensive. For a price of one EC725 (albeit not an apple-to-apple comparison as EC 725 are more combat capable and can carry more weight) we can get 2 AW139. We can still order the EC725 but for more combat mission specific while the AW139 for more supply and troops ferrying mission. At the proposed RM1.6 billion allocated for 12 EC725, used the same allocation but buy 6 EC 725 and 12 AW139. Thus almost cover half of the Nuri replacement.

    3) Buy few more MPA that can also be used for secondary rescue and relief mission either in the class CN 235, CN 295 or even surplus C130

    4)continue to build more OPV from Boustead but not the Fitted for but not with mentality. Just buy a plain OPV in the price range of USD 70 to USD100 million each, minimally armed (just like the NZ Te Kaha). Used mainly for surveillance and relief operation

    Just my 2 cents worth

  25. As Eagle pointed out, unfortunately the NDP has not been debated in Parliament. But debated by whom exactly? The opposition members are just as clueless as those of BN regarding defence [DAP’s proposal for 2010 is for 310 million RM to be allocated for defence]. Anyway the politicians from both sides of the fence are too busy with other matters to be distracted by something as ‘trivial’ as the NDP.

    Tomahawk, the NDP states that we must have the ability to ensure our vital waterways/chokepoints are not disrupted. Nowhere does it say that we must have the ability to blockade the Sraits of Singapore or Keppel harbour. Defence cooperation with Singapore has improved but there is no political will or desire to take it to a more formal level.

    Marhalim: Yes I saw the proposed DAP budget. Most of us however failed to realised from the 9 to 13 billion (depending on what year) almost 60 per cent went to gaji and another 20 per cent to logistics, leaving only only 15 per cent or so for procurement, so technically the “laughable” DAP budget is correct in when comes to procurement….

  26. anybody bothered to wonder why the document was titled DPN-Terbuka (open) and then realised that it may be a watered down version? So what’s the fuss?

    Marhalim: Yes I did. The problem its the same old line from 70s. And based on conversations with former planners, is there really a plan. And its obvious the requirements did not funding match the funding….

  27. I heard that our govt is considering to procure the Indonesian made-APC for our UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Although I personally don’t support this project for certain obvious reason, but I would like to hear what do all of you think about this.

    Marhalim: I have written about this about a year ago and although the requirement was stated a year ago it remained to be seen whether it will be sign this year. The rumour mill has been fever pitch that it will be signed at the recently concluded Indodefence 2010 but it was not signed.
    I am told that they are in the final negotiations with the French and the Indons for the purchase of the VAB or the Panser. I still think the VAB is better choice although the Panser, a VAB in a drag, has quite a lot of pull also. The cost of the procurement will be refunded by the UN since the vehicles will be used for the UNIFIL.
    Wny are they taking so long to conclude the deal? Its the normal thinglah… political versus military needs. And usually who wins? Its not for those who dares….

  28. Got this from Metro Harian of 19 Nov 2010: Kita tetap beli Airbus A400M.

    MALAYSIA masih berminat meneruskan pembelian empat pesawat pengangkutan tentera Airbus A400M walaupun beberapa negara lain yang sudah membuat tempahan membuat semakan semula mengenai perkara itu.

    Naib Presiden Pemasaran Keupayaan Pertahanan Airbus Military, Peter Scoffham berkata, Malaysia satu-satunya negara di rantau ini membuat tempahan bagi pesawat terbabit.

    “Malaysia masih komited membeli A400M,” katanya pada taklimat media di Kuala Lumpur.

    Beliau yang berada di negara ini bagi memaklumkan perkembangan terkini mengenai pesawat pengangkutan awam dan tentera Airbus berkata, selain Malaysia, Organisation Conjointe de Coop�ration en Mati�re d’Armement yang mewakili Belgium, Perancis, Jerman, Luxembourg, Sepanyol, Turki, dan United Kingdom (UK) turut memberi komitmen membeli pesawat berkenaan.

    “Sebelum ini organisasi itu ingin membeli 180 unit A400M, tetapi kemudian mengurangkannya kepada 170 unit. Ini disebabkan keputusan Jerman mengurangkan tempahan kepada 53 pesawat daripada 60, manakala UK mengurangkan tiga unit kepada 22,” katanya.

    Ditanya kemungkinan berlaku kelewatan dan semakan semula kos bagi pesawat terbabit, beliau berkata, perkara itu tidak dapat didedahkan.

    Comment:The RMAF has alaready 17xC13O tranport aircraft which can handle military and humanitarian air transportation requirements.The RMAF does not need additional transport aircraft like the A400M! The latest statement from Airbus senior management indicates the technical problems affecting the A400M are far from over.Our Government should not allow the company to dictate us any longer, we should terminate the A400M contract and get back our money.Apa excuse yang ada lagi, A400M ini terang-terang banyak masaalah teknikal

    Marhalim: I have been advocating cancelling the deal for some time now but I am told that the contract has been firm up and payments had been made during in 9th MP and will continue to be paid in 10th MP. The funny thing about all of this was that when they signed the deal in 2005, they touted industrial participation as one of the reasons for choosing the A400M but since then CTRM has been quiet about sending anything to Airbus Military for the project. Denel recently announced that they had sent the 100th component to Airbus Military for the A400M but the government itself had canceled plans to procure the plane citing cost over-runs…

  29. Apart from maybe being cheaper or part of a grand plan to improve relations with the Indonesians, I can’t see why we should buy the Anoa when we can buy the real thing from Renault. Has Pindad done any improvements to the Anoa that is not on the VAB, doubt it. The VAB offers protection only up to 7.62mm.
    Then again the UN is footing the bill. If we had to pay for it, the AV4 would be perfect for Lebanon use.

    The A400M may turn out to be a success story later on but only time will tell. All these delays brings to mine the F111 and other projects which suffered its share of costs overuns and delays but later was a success.
    Its water under the bridge but we should have gone for a small batch of C130Js or proceeded with the C130H upgrade as the RMAF originally wanted. The Uk has indicated that any further delays in the A400M may lead to the RAF canceling its order.

  30. And the funnier thing, we can get more of the smaller C-27J (appx. USD 27-30million flyaway cost) or the relatively comparable in terms of takeoff weight C-130J (appx. USD 62 million flyaway cost) for one unit of the darn A-400M.

    Anyway, it’s not good for the CTRM business so we have to eat the bullet for the sake of their business with Airbus!!!

    If the govt are really going to purchase the Indonesian made APC, I have nothing to say anymore. After all what their darn foolish people did to our country, stepping, burning and swearing our Jalur Gemilang and leaders, if we are still buying APC from them then we should ask the GOVT, WHERE IS OUR PRIDE?! I hope someone here will say the same thing that we oppose to the govt plan to buy the APC from the Indonesian as our protest against what their people did to our country!!! Hidup Malaysia!!!

  31. Syameer, not sure if the RMAF has a requirement for more light transports in the C27 or CN235 category or for a STOL aircraft to replace the capability that was lost when the Caribou was retired. Whilst the CN235 does provide a cost effective alternative to the Charlie when it comes to short hauls flights requiring less volume, it does not have the STOL capability of the Caribou it replaced.
    In the past the army had various camps in East Malaysia that had landing strips that were only accessible by the Caribou, not sure if its still the case.

    Marhalim: They are using the Nuri for these places, if its available. An MV22 or its equivalent but its bloody expensive, so perhaps a Chinook is a much better deal…

  32. I read news that the disscusion on Super Hornet is back on track between Boeing and Our Government, i suggest that Our Govt should includes Update Chinook in Super Hornet package, ist right Marhalim.

  33. What are we trying to achieved with the A400M program. All the big boys are reducing or canceling the order. Are we that rich? Or just for the sake of CTRM that we are pursuing the unforeseeable path?

  34. Marhalim, you are suggesting a chinook as an alternative for CN235? For the price of 1 chinook, you can buy 2 CN235’s. Not to mention a helicopter operating cost is much more expensive than a fixed wing one. If a payload that can be taken by a nuri is needed to be moved, then a twin otter (new production has been launched) is more than enough to takeoff and land at an airstrip that can take the caribou (FYI a caribou can takeoff in 360m full load, which is very2 impressive). And i think TUDM needs more of the smaller utility aircrafts (twin otter, PC-12, Beech kingairs and such) for transport, communication, medivac, or mercy flights that TUDM does now sometimes with C-130’s carrying only 3-5 passengers.

    Syameer, the C-130J flyaway cost that you quoted is the 1990’s price. Now i think its nearer to 80Mil.

    Marhalim: Yes, the new re-invigorated Twin Otter might be a better choice for some of the STOL airports in Sarawak and Sabah. But some of these border bases also do not have an airstrip to speak off so a heavy-lift helo is a better choice. No I am not suggesting a Chinook to RMAF now as they are going to be equipped with the Cougars.
    As I had written before, I would prefer such utility roles be done by the Army. Not the current Army and not even the NDP proposed Army. As I had mentioned previously, I would prefer the Army’s brigade structure be re-organised as a multi-functional brigade similar to the US Marines with its combat, logistics and air component under one command.
    Four Chinook per brigade would be enough and they can concentrate doing utility duties for the Army. Leaving the RMAF to concentrate on the air dominance stuff….

  35. Genduthijau,

    Eagle has suggested sometime ago for Marhalim to do some investigative work on the A400M.He had also given some indications as to how it should be done.I suppose it is not that easy for Marhalim to follow the lead because the A400M is a “wahyu” project.As Gregory David Roberts said in his book Shantaram, “justice and the law is always on the side of the powerful and the rich”.

  36. The RMAF is happy and willing to give the army the rotary troop lifting roles and concentrate on sexier roles like CSAR and special forces insertion. The problem now is the army does not have the budget, pilots or ground infrastructure to operate anything beyond its 11 A109s. The RMAF still has about 9 Cessna 402s that are used for mapping, liasion and for pilots to mantain their hours. Not sure if these are used for light transport. For a start the 2 VIP configured CN235s, owned by the PMs Department, should be stripped of their VIP interior and handed over to 21 Squadron.

    Talking about the Cougar, apa sudah jadi? A lot of talk and plans but still no firm order.

  37. Wwell much has been bedated here and all are correct.I suppose but looking at the concept of forward defence, we need to protect our vital oilfields. To do that only two types of platforms can perform this function-namely aeroplanes and ships. So we only have 4 small dedicated and that too with limited capabilities Beechcrafts super king airs. These 4 planes are more suitable for patrol of the Straits of Malacca as compared to the South China Sea. Thus we need more Maritine Patrol aeroplanes with anti submarine and intelligence ganthering capabilities. The available ones being to buy and refit some Orions and may be 4 Boeing 737-800 for this purpose which can also carry attack weapons too like torpedoes, depth charges.

    We need ships to control the Straits of Malacca.For this purpose, ships of the class of the fast strike crafts which we already possesses will do great. But we also need more of these boats to patrol the strip of water betweem KK and Tawau to safeguard our shores from the marauding southern phillipinos. For the South China sea nothing smaller than the multi purpose frigates and corvetes that we have will suffice. One quick way and cheaply is to fit the Kedah class with all the weapons that is fitted for but not with.Upgrade these ships with medium range anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes, more 30 mm canons, good sonars.Acquire a big and good landing ship dock to support the oeprations in Sabah and sarawak and also for UN missions.An apportunity is coming up with the UK government retiring one of its LSD. The new build announced by the government for Boustead shipyards is in time. Wwe need more capital ships to protect Sabah and Sarawak what with China now beginning to rattle its sabres and there is report that it is now refurbishing a aircraft carrier-the admiral gorshkof. We also need these ships to protect our submarines too.

    Landwise, Sweden has just announced that it is selling back Leopard 2 to the german manufacturers and also selling off dircetly some of its surplus Leapord 2’s .Its going cheap This is the time to catch it and expand our tank forces.We do need an armoured force of two regiments of tanks supported by a regiment of mechanised troops. Aas for the UN support mission, looks like its the VAB’s that might have to be chosen over the Pindads.This si because the french government has threaten the Indonesians that they would not supply the Renault engines to the Indonesians if they went ahead to sell them to Malaysia.

    For the air force, we need force multipliers like the AEW aircrafts. This will increased the effectiveness of our planes by many folds. More aircrafts will be good .Maybe we can consider second hand harriers which britain is retiring?. The tornadoes are expensive to maintain due to its age and not so good at air defence too. Some Jaguars from India may be good for ground attack and for anti ship attack.

    Marhalim: If the Tornadoes are expensive, the Harrier are much more and their service outside the UK and US Marines are abysmal….

  38. Ym Lee, assuming the RMAF wanted Jaguars, going for the ex RAF Jaguars that were retired several years ago, would have been the better option rather than Jaguars licensed made by HAL. Anyhow the Jaguar is a single role platform, in these days of shrinking budgets almost everyone wants MRCA’s. Apart from the problem of training our pilots in V/STOL, operating the Harriers will take a large chunk out of the operating budget.

  39. The ongoing Super Hornet saga continues.

    [2010]”The company has submitted a proposal to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) for its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, and negotiations are ongoing” – Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing Defence, Space and Security president.

    [2005] ”he Boeing Company is prepared to tweak the FA-18F Super Hornet offset programme if it gets a request from the Malaysian government. If the Government of Malaysia wants to come back and change the priorities within the overall offset programme, we’ll agree with them” – Mark E. Kronenberg, Boeing’s Asia Pacific Integrated Defense Systems vice president of business development.

    [2005]”Malaysia was given a proposal on Block 1. As the programme matures, the offer will likely have to be updated,” he said. I’m not sure if the updated version of the Super Hornets would cost Malaysia more” -David J. Schweppe, Business Development Director for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

    [2005] ‘We were hopeful it (the deal with Malaysia) would closed last year. Of course it hasn’t. This is a deal that has been on the table for several years,” he said in reference to the efforts made by Boeing to come up with an offset programme aimed at making the offer to Malaysia alluring. “But I don’t think it will get done this year and I would be very surprise if it got done next year as well,” he added” – Jim Albaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

    [2004] ”Negotiations for the sale had been ongoing since LIMA 2001 but the time taken by the Malaysian government to decide was ”as expected”.It’s a very important decision for Malaysia, it’s good for the Royal Malaysian Air Force and for the people of Malaysia. I think the Malaysian government is doing a good job to make this the best possible jet deal”
    – Anthony M Parasida, President of the
    F/A-18 Programme in the Boeing Company’s Integrated Defense Systems.

  40. Wait …….

    On matters of AEW systems, why aren’t we hearing the viability of radar aerostats for our needs as opposed to fixed-wing AEW systems?

    Also, why do we need a considerable percentage of VIP-designated aircraft in our RMAF (given our already relatively small size) fleet?

    Marhalim: Its the air force of course they want planes, its up to the army to ask for the aerostats…

  41. German airforce and RAF may retired some its Tornado sqns and replaced by Typhoon soon, perhaps some of these Tornado can be MLU for our need.

  42. based on the AUD4.5 billion the aussie paid for 24 hornets (off course they included the expensive growler. weaponry and support for 15-20 years i think) i believe with a max budget of USD1.5 billion, at most we can get 8 SH. I say that would be good enough so long that we dont retire the 8 hornets and assuming we can get the latest guided long range weaponry, EW/ES and radar.

  43. Plus i hope we modernise the 14 MIG 29 to the SMT standard. So they can act as weapon carrier, cued by the radar from the SU 30 mkm and act as secondary area air defence in WVR combat. The SU30 already have the capability to be link with at least another 4 su 30 so to create at least 500km radius of coverage, may be it would not be technically possible to have the same link to the updated Mig 29. So instead of firing 24 guided missiles at any one time they can even double that? But maybe i am assuming too much.

    Kamal: Theres no money to upgrade anything, period….

  44. H.A.S., aerostats dont move. Whilst they do provide coverage to a certain area, by virtue of being ‘fixed’ they dont offer the same capability and flexibility an AEW aircraft does. The whole VVIP/VIP fixed and rotary fleet is owned by the PM’s Department but flown and mantained by the RMAF. In relation to the size of the RMAF, it does have a large VVIP/VIP fleet. Despite the availibility of the VVIP/VIP fleet, the Nuri’s, CN235’s and C130’s are still used for VVIP/VIP tasking when needed.

  45. Of course aerostats don’t move readily, but what would be the operating missions of AEW&C for our needs? Are we looking for continuous radar coverage of certain areas, the sea approaches?

    With the exception of the preconception that AEW&C offers ‘flexibility’, what is the mission we are tasking for the radar coverage itself? If we need it continuously, with better ranges and flexibility, the aerostats are an option the military should consider. The flexibility of an aircraft is not the answer to a mission that is not defined. It is the supreme example of us putting the cart before the horse.

    Land-based or air-based radar systems should not hinder the direct collation & use of radar information. It should not be a service-specific budgetary turf. Such a situation means practically the divided state of our air defence systems.

  46. Hi there, would you happen to know where I could get a copy of an English translation of the Defense Policy – have you translated it, or is a translation available? My husband is doing a post-graduate university assignment on the policy, and cannot get hold of an English version of it!
    Many thanks,
    Rachel

    Reply
    Sorry I had only translated only bits and pieces of the Defence policy. I guess you have to try Google Translate.

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