DWP Tabled and Approved

KD Jerong, the lead ship of the 6th Squadron FAC (G). RMN

SHAH ALAM: DWP Tabled and Approved. The Defence White Paper (DWP) was tabled in Parliament on Dec. 2 and was duly approved after a short debate. Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu when tabling the document said this was the first time that the White Paper on Defence had been drafted as previous documents were only policy papers and more importantly not tabled in Parliament.

However as of this morning – Dec. 3 – the DWP has yet to be made public though one can read the speech of the Defence Minister when tabling the document at the ministry’s website. It is unclear when the document will be made public.

It interesting to note that Mohamad Sabu during the winding up debate acknowledged that the DWP did not detailed the funding being sought for the next 10 years. He said that they are seeking one percent of the GDP or 6.5 per cent of the annual Malaysian budget, for defence during the 2020-2030 period. For next year the defence budget is RM15.5 billion or 5.2 per cent of the total budget.

A Pendekar MBT firing its main gun during firepower demo rehearsals in May, 2016 Army picture

It must be said that the target of 1 percent of the GDP or 6.5 percent from the annual budget is the budget being sought by the ministry and there is no firm commitment for the government to allocate the amount to the Defence Ministry for the next decade. That said it is a good first step towards the goal. Whether or not this is achievable is beyond me. Further research also indicated that Malaysia already spent one per cent of the GDP on defence so this might an easy goal to achieve.
Four Hornets in formation as they came back to land at Subang after the training flypast over the SIC on Sept. 29 2017.

Mohamad Sabu also acknowledged that the DWP did not detailed the full list of arms and weapons to be procured during the decade saying that the list was being prepared and this will not make public.
KD Gempita
KD Gempita at the RMN base in Kuantan. KD Gempita Twitter

He also said that the list provided by the DWP and also being formulated were basically part of the military’s long term plan – 15-to-5 (RMN); CAP 55 (RMAF) and the Army Next Generation (Army). Despite this on the plan by RMN to order 14 more LMS as detailed in the 15-to-5 plan, Mohamad Sabu said it was still under discussion and no final decision has been made yet. With the LCS being delayed and in need of further investment, it is likely that the navy may only the MRSS at play in the next five years. Mohamad Sabu acknowledged that due to the issues on the South China Sea the focus should be on the maritime domain though this is likely to be dealt by the next DWP.
KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin together with its sister ship at LIMA 19. Zaq Sayuti.

It is also interesting to note that Rembau MP in his comments noted that the DWP mentioned that the Army is getting SPH. He did not elaborate further though I have been told already that the Army was likely to get a truck mounted 155mm SPH. No numbers though but with Mohamad Sabu saying the military was being prepared for two theater operations it is likely to be around 36, with one regiment in the peninsula and the other in Sabah and Sarawak.
Three AFV30 Gempita from 1 Armor demonstrating their fire on the move capability at the 2017 Firepower exercise in May.

Will this two theater of operations strategy mean that we are buying a second MBT regiment and setting up an armour brigade in Sabah/Sarawak? For the moment, all I can say if it smells like duck, quacks like a duck….
Two Hornets flies in formation with a Flanker over South China Sea. Note the ACMI pod on the wingtip rail of the near Hornet. RMAF picture

*updated with GDP data and link to budget story

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. @ marhalim

    “if it smells like duck, quacks like a duck…”
    It still can probably not be a duck! If a second MBT regiment is required, just get additional PT-91M (only used now available as the production has ended) and be done with it! But looking at the larger picture, I dont think we should have a dedicated permanent MBT force in Borneo (prepositioned stocks of MBT is another matter).

    While I am still waiting for the 90 page document to be published, I would like to congratulate KEMENTAH for finally coming up with a DWP, which has not been done previously.

    One item that I found interesting is “membangunkan keupayaan amfibi”. If we go for gold plated items we are fond of previously, I dont think we can achieve any meaningful amphibious capability by 2030.

  2. 6.5% from annual budget is somewhat achievable but i personally dont think the govt will approve that unless next year/2021 overall budget touches 300bill again..I reckon the mindef should ask for 18bill first n 20bill for 2022 defense budget.

  3. Hope the SPH might be Archer or CAESAR. Also the second MBT Regiment. Could it be T-14 or Type 10 Right ?

  4. On our forces on borneo

    We dont need to mirror exactly what kind of forces we have in semenanjung for sabah and sarawak.

    IMO we need more brownwater/reverine and also airmobile helicopter capability in sabah and sarawak rather than armoured capability. Not to say not to have them, but we dont need something like a full fledged armoured brigade there. I am thinking more of 1 each of armored cavalry regiment and mechanized infantry battalion in 1st and 5th division respectively.

  5. IMO the 2nd theatre is preparing for a potential threat from Indonesia. With them moving their capital to Kalimantan Timur, they are also building up their armed forces there under the pretex of securing their future capital. Units being transferred there include an armour brigade.

  6. “truck mounted 155mm SPH”
    This is as good as firmed we are going for Caesar. That settles the debate whether to get truck or tracked mounted SPH tho I am more favourable to the M109s as it can operate in the same theater as our Pendekars, likely cheaper since they are refurbs, and based on a very mature platform with plenty of spares & 3rd party upgrades.

    @ConcernCitizen, @Alex
    It could very well turn out to be just that, much like many of their other policies.

  7. @ Zam

    their 2020-2024 development expenditure plans is currently almost like 4x the amount that we can allocate in the same time frame.

    some things they are planning for their army 2020-2024
    100+ Medium tanks
    52 badak 6×6 FSV
    400+ Anoa APC
    166 M113 APC (used)
    75 Pandur 8×8 IFV
    4 batteries of ASTROS
    3 batteries of CAESAR 155mm SPH
    3 batteries of TMG EVA 155mm 8×8 SPH
    1 battery of M109 155m SPH
    ?? batteries of LG1 105mm
    15 batteries of SHORAD and MR-SAM
    8 Blackhawk helicopter
    11 bell 412 helicopter

  8. @…
    “membangunkan keupayaan amfibi”
    Could just mean that we are just getting well-docked equipped MRSS. Nothing else.

  9. >mature platform


    Caesar as a platform exist for more than 20 years ago, showing its merits in Africa, Iraq and even Thailand. Besides, in essence it’s a gun on a truck,likely with lower maintenance cost on the chassis and could be transported using C130 and A400M.

    Caesar is the most extensive platform that the army tested on our soil so naturally it would be an obvious choice for the army.

  10. Zam,
    Indonesia has no intention of attacking its neighbor, Malaysia?. Purchasing weapons is only to protect and maintain the sovereignty of its territory from threats and interference from other countries

  11. It’s certainly a step in the right direction and long overdue but my suspicions were correct. Many were expecting too much from it and will be disappointed. A lot of what was in included was in general
    terms not adding much to what we already know and a lot of it was ambiguous; not providing specifics. Unsurprising given that a White Paper is driven by political imperatives and will be in line with present policies; including our foreign policy and how we go about managing things. As I also said : the trick is to also see what’s not mentioned….

    There was talk of forming committees which by themselves are useless unless the government is willing to allocate more and unless we change our general outlook on defence as well
    aa having the political will and focus to actually implement whatever long term plans there are ….

  12. @dundun
    M109 is easily double that maturity and used far wider in more conflicts and nation armies. And unlike Caesar, there is extensive 3rd party upgrades like one package from RUAG that refurbs any to nearly to A6 config. One good example is our neighbour, and if M109 is deemed suitable in our regional geography, how is that different than Caesar? Is Indonesian terrain vastly different than ours?

    Air portability…. many here have debated about the viability of lugging your arty by air. Bottomline, the only time we would be flying arties is in peace time if the unit cannot be driven or sealifted for some reason.

    You can argue that Caesar will be bought new and thus should have a longer lifecycle but in terms of balancing real lifecycle usage, operational cost, spares availability, and upgrade paths, nothing really beats USA hardwares. Some of their stuffs are still being used by 2nd generation operators and many are still being kept at their boneyards.

    Is 6.5% realistic? Based on this year’s much lower at 5.2% and coming years bleak economic forecasts, likely this won’t happen. So with less budget, one has to be prudent and be a smart buyer and if used can fulfill the same objective at a cheaper cost, that would just give you the advantage to buy more than you need as reserves.

  13. Regarding “perkongsian berwibawa”

    “Mengekalkan Malaysia sebagai
    negara rakan kongsi berwibawa dan bermanfaat untuk
    pembangunan kapasiti dan kestabilan serantau”

    So who are our imaginary friends actually? Why our friends and allies are not being listed by name in the DWP?

  14. Rumours has it that we are talking to Kuwait to get 10 Hornets to make the Hornet Squadrom to 18 units

  15. zam – “IMO the 2nd theatre is preparing for a potential threat from Indonesia””

    Defence planners have always been concerned about Indonesia although most Malaysian have long focused on Singapore and in recent years the Spratlys. The potential for future trouble with Indonesia will not be related to the new capital in Kalimantan (as some believe) but over long standing unresolved issues like Ambalat and disputed sea boundaries in the Melaka Straits and South China Sea. It’s also telling that the first official visit their new Defence Minister made was to Malaysia

  16. @ joe

    Indonesia is adding more caesars and eva 155mm wheeled SPH than M109s. Basically they are buying everything they could. Their country is as wide as the whole of europe so they are going to significantly increase their military size in the next 5 years. By 2024 they probably would have a total of more than 100 155mm self propelled howitzers.

    This is the EVA 155mm 8×8 SPH

    Btw we dont need to actually lug hardwares from west to east malaysia. We could do pre-positioned stocks of hardware rather than ship or fly major equipments.

  17. @ lee yoke meng

    That would be a great news!

    With the limited budgets, all services will need to take up used equipments if we want to really increase our capabilities.

  18. Joe

    >extensive 3rd party upgrades
    It’s a chicken and egg thing. These third party upgrade exist due to overbundance of the platform as countries are retiring them for newer/better SPH. It’s the same story everywhere, from old helos to old fighter jets. Also if you’re going to upgrade an older model M109 to A6 model (which includes new gun, all digital FCS and uprated engine and armor package), you might as well get a new SPH with the money. These upgrade makes sense to countries that already operates M109s and have extensive logistical support around it.For first time buyer like us, not so much.

    Here’s a question. How do you know that the equipment is thoroughly tested on the terrain before being procured? Like thailand, with its hotchpotch of equipments that is bought simply to line the generals’ pocket or in case of Indonesia, can you confirm that all the procurement was made after extensive testing and not due to president’s decree on a whim?

    We conducted extensive tests on Caesar (road/offroad capability, munition testing, obstacle tests et cetera) several times in the past 20 years. The same cannot be said to M109s

    >viability of lugging your arty by air
    At least that is one thing Caesar has that M109 didn’t (at least in Malaysia’s context). We have like 18 transport aircraft that is capable of flying the guns so why don’t we use them regardless of whether it is during peace time or war. Transport aircraft is one of the few things the military isn’t in short of anyway.

    >american made
    In the end of the day, it’s a tracked vehicle, an old tracked vehicle at that. We balked as the cost of upgrading a Condor, which is essentially an armored vehicle on truck chassis and uses commercial engine, so imagine how much money is going to upgrade the M109 to A5+ or even A6 version. When the US offered the gun to us, they only offer quick servicing (including barrel change) while everything else is kept as is. Now with the army is keen on introducing NCO to all its assets, retrofitting modern FCS and communication system to the SPH will cost more money that what its worth

  19. @Lee Yoke Meng
    Marhalim have confirmed that the Kuwaiti Hornets are being considered in the DWP. So its official.

    I’m not saying that Caesars are not suitable for our terrain, but I was stating my preference for M109s over the Caesars. Like saying whether to rely on the trusty but outdated Toyota or the newer & sophisticated but barely tested Renault cars. I put my faith in Ol’ Faithful Made-in-USA equipment.

    About the preposition of extra equipment in East Malaysia, I prefer we stood a 2nd unit, a smaller sized battalion will do, rather than keeping them in storage. Manpower is relatively cheap after all and our transporters don’t have to fight thru hostile airspace in SCS to get the boys into the theater.

  20. @Azlan
    I was hoping the DWP didn’t reveal too much (it might still be too much info once revealed to public), but at least they had the sense to P&C the equipment wishlist and why. Those who are expecting full transparency shouldn’t kid themselves. Some things are meant to be kept P&C.

  21. Let’s do the maths: the budget for procurement is 3 billion MYR for 2020. As the economy grows at a modest 4% every year, let’s compound that over 5 years. The total is 16.25 billion MYR for the next 5 years. That is 3.89 billion USD. Urgent things are LCA, KJA and MPA. Let’s say LCA is USD 40 million x18 which is USD 720 million plus spares makes it 1 billion USD. Let get 4 MPA for 150 million USD each makes it 600 m USD. That’s remaining 2.29 billion USD for 200 plus KJA and 1 MPSS (the remaining MPSS in the other 5 years) and SPH. Doable I think, if we don’t let the local middle man inflate the prices. What do you think?

    Yes its doable but left out many other urgent requirements especially for the navy

  22. The Caeser we tested is based on an old truck. There is a new version of Caeser based on an entirely new truck. Bigger n more stable. But not sure if it can be loaded into a Charlie. A400 should be no problem

    We tested the new version of the Caesar 6X6 on the Renault chassis which I posted last year. There is also the 6X6 Caesar in a Mercedes chassis, both of this can be airlifted on a A400M, one at a time. Another version is the 8X8 chassis and cannot be airlifted unless you have a C-17 or bigger airlifter

  23. @ joe

    Why does an equipment wishlist needs to be P&C? Are we so weak that we need to keep such things that our neighbors can show publicly? I am for a clear plan for development (plan is with timelines and made to a clear budget, not just i want something with no consideration of when and how much it would cost) that is open for all to see.

    @ tomtom

    USD3.89 billion is not enough IMO. My previous plans did to a budget of USD5 billion per rancangan malaysia, and that is extremely tight, with the need to get used stuff and such.
    Some of the things that is needed to be paid for in RMK12 (2020-2025)
    – 2 more LCS Gowinds (4 is paid for in RMK11)
    – LMS batch 2
    – MRSS
    – TLDM utility helicopter
    – FIC
    – Nuri replacement
    – LCA/LIFT
    – MPA
    – MALE UAV
    – 6×6 KJA
    – 155mm SPH
    – NCO phase 1B

  24. YB Rembau said DWP is basically recycled policy papers. I kinda agree. If we do get 1% annually for defence well, hip hip hooray then.

  25. >DWP
    I already expected. Just like other nations it only about policies, budget allocation, defence profile, and possible future instability and threat. I am surprised that defence budget is only targeted at 1% of GDP which is already surpassed and 6,5% of annual budget. That is a bit confusing. If using 1% of GDP then 2021 budget will still remain.

    >Neighbours and conflicts
    The borders issue will still become a major defence issues including border dispute, illegal fishery, illegal cross border activities, etc.
    It is unlikely a state vs state war will occur in 20 years. There are 2 nations will become bigger and stronger
    China will put more and more military present in SCS to give more pressure to others that want to challenge their ridiculous 9 dash line. There is nothing Malaysia military can do against it except wait and see, diplomatic solution joined hand with others against china claim is the best way.
    Richer indonesia will allocated more and more defence budget in the future. Their 2020 defence budget stood at $9 billions. Their 2020-2024 MEF III plan is quite extensive. Their 3 branches will get a big number of assets. Their local defence industries more capable in producing military products, thanks to their succesfull implemented policy in defence sector.
    As TNI more focus on defence issue, they are now move to the borders.
    Borders dispute Malaysia-indonesia should be settled in diplomatic way as soon as possible, so no more hot spot and tension in the borders. There is a good news recently that one land border dispute in borneo is settled peacefully.

    With only 1% of gdp and 6.5% of annual budget, malaysia armed forces will be dwarfed. The weakened ringgit make thing worse.

  26. Off topic..From Janes md helicopters is ready to start the delivery of six MD530g ordered from putd..

    The manufacturer is ready whether or not we are accepting it is another issue

  27. @ romeo

    Yes our defence budget is already about 1% of GDP, so essentially you dont need to request something you already had…

    Indonesia is going to significantly enlarge and strengthen its military. We have to quit buying gold plated items, and really put the future of the nation as our utmost priority if we dont want to be the weakest military in south east asia by 2030.

  28. Ok, if we cannot do everything over 5 years, we may just have to slowly drag it out over 10! At least the economy is growing!

  29. Based on my calculations, the procurement budget compounded at 4% over 10 years is 36 billion MYR or 8.61 billion USD!

  30. @ tomtom

    Still USD8.61 billion for 10 years is not much!

    For TLDM, 10 years is already about USD4 bilion for 15 to 5. Do you think USD2.3 billion each would be enough for TUDM and Army for 10 years?

    For example this is Indonesian airforce list for 2020-2024.

    From the picture
    – 32 F-16V to replace hawk 200
    – 5 more Su-35 to add to 11 ordered
    – 8 more super tucano to add to 15 now operational
    – 21 T-50 to add to current 15.
    – 7 C-130J
    – 8 NC-295
    – 2 Tankers, probably A330
    – 2 AWACS
    – 2 regiments of SR SAM
    – 2 regiments of MR SAM
    – 2 regiments of LR SAM
    – 3 more regiments of oerlikon skyshield
    – 2 more VERA NG ESM

    Indonesia buying just the F-16 will be more than what your budget suggest to give tudm for 10 years! They even plan to buy 21 more T-50/FA-50 by 2024.

  31. Ok, let’s do the maths:
    TUDM: 36 LCA at let’s say 50 m USD (including spares and training) each plus 4 MPA at 150 m each. That is 2.4 billion.

    TDM: 200 6×6 at 10 million each plus 36 SPH at 5 million each. That is 2.18 billion.

    Total 4.58 billion plus 4 billion for TLDM. Grand total 8.58 billion. Maybe boleh lah. Don’t be so pessimistic

  32. @ tomtom

    What kind of poor 3rd world country we are that we need 10 years budget just to buy those things?? By the time we got those things in 2030 our neighbours have already got more better things! If that is the case, we can never afford a 5th gen MRCA, AWACS, or more submarines!

    PS. your 6×6 budget is over the top, but anyway even at half the price it is something we really cannot afford.

  33. Yes its official!

    18 Skuadron will get 10 additional hornets in RMK12 (page 51 KPP).

    I believe this would most probably be from australia, with 10 F/A-18B passed on to malaysia. Australia has 16 remaining two seater hornets, from 18 originally delivered.

    Not reallylah.

  34. It seems like the air force at least is moving forward to keep the parity with the neighbors, with acquisition of additional hornets and possible fulcrum trade ins that could translate to more Sukhois (irrespective of whether it is the MKM, SM or Su-35 model). In the short to mid-term (7
    up to 2030 or so) we could see the air force to have


    What I would like to see is more ground radar to cover Sabah and Sarawak as well as introduction of medium range air defence to protect our strategic assets. Starstreak LML is a good starter but I would like to see something along the lines of of Biho, Marksman or Tunguska added to to our air defence capability

    Its easier for air force as it has no delayed projects burning current and future funding

  35. I dont know where they are going to find the budget, but MR-SAM requirement is officially there (page49 KPP). Probably to replace the JERNAS.

    IMO lets go with CAMM for both TLDM LCS SGPV and also RAD GAPU.

  36. There are a few documents referred in the KPP but has not even published to the public. Only the TLDM 15 to 5 plan is (thank you TLDM!).

    So to the army and TUDM, please release your papers on:
    – Pelan Pembangunan Strategik Tentera Darat (Army 4nextG)
    – Strategi Pertahanan Udara Nasional (SPUN)
    – RMAF Capability Development Plan 2055(CAP55)

    Thank you in advance!

  37. On the amphibious force.

    IMO we should not stand up a force to be the analogue of the US Marines or even the Royal Marines.

    To me we should stand up something akin to the Swedish Kustjägarna or the Finnish Coastal Jaegers. Probably 2 battalions, one based in Langkawi, and another based in ESSCOM. This force will have the littoral as its playground, with armoured fast boats as its IFV.

    What we can do is to convert 1 existing commando battalion into a coastal force, and raise another commando battalion also for coastal force. So there would be 4 battalions (regiments) under 21GGK, with 2 specialised in coastal amphibious (riverine) warfare.

    Each battalion would consist of 1 company equipped with 12 CB90 or equivalent, another 3 company with armoured offshore raiding craft or equivalent.



  38. Alex

    Those vehicle mounted LML and SPAAG occupies different roles. LML is usually placed in static emplacement as point defence weapon while the SPAAG would accompany the armor/mechanized forces as vanguard against attack helo or low flying aircraft. Also medium range SAM should be placed under army’s GAPU instead of the air force.

  39. dundun-“SPAAG would accompany the armor/mechanized forces as vanguard against attack helo or low flying aircraft”

    A SPAAG is also a point defence weapons; the only difference is that it’s mounted on a platform to provide grater mobility (to keep pace with manoeuvre units) and has an integral alerting device. Theoretically one could also have a LML mounted on a 4×4 (like how Starburst was mounted) to perform the same role; downside is that it’s unprotected in the event it comes under fire and doesn’t have the same mobility level (assuming its needed).

  40. Maybe we can consider korkut spaag or something like hisar a for short range air defence.But of course we have to wait for it to mature a lil bit before we can even consider it.Another thing,imho rmaf should only takes care of their bases air defence (with static/land based aag) and gapu takes all remaining air defence things like medium sam.

  41. Firdaus – “Maybe we can consider korkut spaag or something like hisar a for short range air defence”

    There are various systems already available for our needs; all is needed is for allocation of funds. GAPU has had a requirement for a medium range system for almost a decade now and a few years ago there was public mention of a RMN system for
    Sepanggar. Back in the 1980’s the IAF and IA came to a simple arrangement : the IA world be responsible for air defence up to ‘x’ thousand feet and beyond that the IAF.

    Firdaus – “ and gapu takes all remaining air defence things like medium sam”

    This arrangement has been in place for many years now: RMAF systems to defend bases and such and army systems to defend other, mainly service centric things.

  42. You started off by asking questions and you got your answers.

    GAPU already has a pair of surveillance radars and ESM so it has some means of surveillance and target alerting and it would help if it had some level of networking with RMAF assets. It also helps that stuff like Starstreak and whatever medium range system is bought will also have an integral surveillance and target alerting capability. The trick is to have a greater level of networking, i.e. any data collected by the TRS-3Ds and VERA can be shared with units in the field to enable a common picture which in turn creates better SA.

  43. @ azlan

    I would hope that we can have a single situational picture for our air defence control system like the US Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS). AFAIK there is no other serious research on this except the IBCS.

  44. “AFAIK there is no other serious research on this except the IBCS.”

    There certainly are others. There’s German MEADS, Poland’s Wisla and the USN’s NIFC-CA among those under development- and there is the possibility of these being integrated with IBCS. There are other, already existing networks too.

  45. @ am

    Thanks for the info. I was intrigued by IBCS as it seems to be very open to different types of radar and missile systems. It would be great to have something like that for GAPU.

    Just a general question. How often does our air defence personnel practice identifying different types of aircraft? Are they required to remember all the general civilian aircrafts and aircrafts of our neighbours?

  46. The buzzword now is resilience of the network. You’re talking about dependence on ever increasing amounts of data, while peer states are also unprecedented in their ability to jam, spoof, hack or physically destroy parts of the network. As a new generation network, IBCS is designed to address those challenges.

  47. @ AM

    This is why we need to increase our cyber and EW capability, to be able to jam, spoof, hack or physically destroy parts of the adversary network. We can start by having robust cyber defence of our own networks first. Cyber attack and EW attack can come later.

  48. Still on cyber.

    Can we have secure cyber network when lots of the communications infrastructure is foreign? How will huawei 5G systems affect our cyber securities? How about plenty of apps that give tracking data (like exercise and UAV apps) to foreign servers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.