Malaysia leads in regional military humanitarian and disaster relief

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  • Malaysia’s proposal for ASEAN co-operation for humanitarian aid, disaster and relief (HDAR) involving all the members’ military agencies and forces would be an agenda to be discused and expected to be adopted at tomorrow’s 6th ASEAN Defence Minister Meeting.

    It is an initiative where armed forces adhere to agreed standard operation procedure, protocol and limitations in any first response to any relief operations in the region.

    Defence Minister Dato Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is in Phnom Penh for the 6 ADMM.

    Another initiative Malaysia is propelling is the ASEAN Defence Industry Council, where defence corporations between the South East Asian nations work closely to develop common military products and services.

    A bilatteral meeting with the Defence Minister of Cambodia earlier, Zahid reitirated Malaysian commitment to foster good military relations despite multiple claims of areas between ASEAN nations. One specific area is Spratly’s in the South China Sea, where China also stake their claims to the oil enrich atolls. Malaysia is very consistent on the diplomatic solution to resolve the dispute.

    Zahid is expected to convey this message tomorrow during the bilatteral meeting with China Defence Minister Gen. Liang Guang Li, who is present as part of the ‘ADMM Plus’ forum.

    Malaysia strongly support of loose military co-operation between ASEAN nations, to foster stronger understanding, better co-operation and comradeship between neighbours. For instance, Malaysia is very satisfied with current defence co-operation and would continue separate joint military exercises between its neighbors. “We are not like blocs like NATO”.

    Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 18:43  Comments (24)  

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    1. While this effort is commendable, lets be clear about one thing – the Malaysian Armed Forces is in desperate need of assets and has been consistently underfunded.

      Whenever the Government announces any potential/new programme or purchases it will be met with all round condemnation by Opposition parties led their armchair, commies minded strategist with flawed argument. General Pua and Admiral Kua will immediately jump up and down like a monkey with a bottle of Tabasco sauce stuck up their arse.

      One often asked question is – to whom are we going to war with? Well that is a wrong question to ask. The correct question is – how sure are we that nobody want to go to war with us?

      Go and do some reading on what are the Indonesian doing with their armed forces and what are their primary motivation in doing so. Does anyone of us realize the extend of China claim in South China Sea? Do you know that China have actually sunk a Vietnamese vessel over the dispute. That Singapore have over 400 modern fighter jets and 6 submarines. That Vietnamese getting 6, Indonesia already have 2 and buying another 3 submarines. That Indonesian will soon received 100 Leopard 2A6 main battle tank from Germany and it will be forward deployed along the border with us in Kalimantan. Ever heard of Ambalat? That Phillipines who have a dormant claim over the whole of Sabah is currently drastically enhancing it Military capability. That they already have 2 ex US vessel (now a frigates) bigger than anything we have. That Thailand operates an aircraft carrier? These pointer alone should be enough to make any decent, loyal and patriotic citizen who love this country feel concern.

      On average Malaysia spend barely 1.4% (Yes ONE POINT FOUR %) of its annual budget on Defence. This compared to around 20% for education and about 17% for health. Still complain not enough school and hospital? what about not enough defense? If anything, instead of overspending I’ll say the government stand accused of not spending enough on Defence. And for heaven sake, screw the opposition whining (thats what they do), just do the right thing.

      • Support the idea of beefing up our Armed Forces. However peaceful we may assess our neighbours’ intentions to be, we must have the deterrent factor. Israel has scores if not hundreds of nuclear warheads as a deterrent factor against any possible Arab adventurism. Israel had Iraq bombed by their proxy George W Bush and now wants Iran bombed to deter the Islamic state from building nuclear military capability.

        And Israel military advisers have been with the Singapore Armed Forces for many years. It’ll be naive to think they have been advising only the normal military tactics. Remember that defence can take the form of offence. Israel bombers daringly went into Iran and bombed their nuclear facility some time back, bullying Iran in the process. The Japanese will also privately say that offence can be a form of defence. Their aircraft can travel beyond the ordinary limit (Japan has a war-renouncing Constitution as a result of defeat in World War II) in hot pursuit or to do surveillance as a defence aginst possible intruders.

        We may not arm ourselves to the teeth. But if it’s true that the Indonesians will soon receive 100 Leopard battle tanks from Germany and will be deployed along the Kalimantan border, one wonders why. China has been flexing their muscle against the Philippines over some rock outcrop in the South China Seas. China’s internal political stability has yet to endure and let’s hope no batch of leaders will emerge that’ll be prone to military adventurism in our region.

        Yes, increase our defence spending. Disregard the politicking by those parties whose members and supporters don’t even want to join the Armed Forces, let alone defend the country they claim to be citizens of.

    2. Regional humanitarian and disaster relief should be multi sectoral since it involves search and rescue followed by relief such as first aid and food distribution. Military alone can’t undertake humanitarian relief. One important aspect of humanitarian and disaster relief is rapid deployment because every minute counts. Here where rapid deployment mechanism must be put in place.

    3. And overlapping claims in the south china sea is a political, diplomatic and legal issue rather than military issue. There is the DOC signed between ASEAN and China. This DOC was negotiated by diplomats from ASEAN countries and China and has in many ways been successful in preventing escalation of tensions in the disputed areas. There’d be tensions from time to time but certainly diplomacy and good regional relations are the foundations to peaceful solution not through military.

      • This is a naive way to denied the possibility of war that will going because of border dispute, what guarantee that you can give that the diplomatic approach will be 100% safe, Please do remind the Israel and Palestine case, which Palestine already agree to share half of what once is their land and yet how the Israel respond? kill and destroy as long as they don’t get what they want.

        Take a closer look in our water down south, dispute of pulau in southern johor almost cause our navy in HIGH ALERT ready to go war with singapore because singapore navy don’t want to back off from the pulau.

        Selat melaka case, US army are looking down on malaysia defend that they SUGGESTED TO LEAVE THE SELAT MELAKA TO THEM FOR THE TAKE, imagine this US harbour in our land and water, this is no way will be good to us.

        Take a look at Singapore small yet full of defensive, ever wonder about it? “political, diplomatic and legal issue rather than military issue” ever wonder about it why singapore don’t think like this??

        “for heaven sake, screw the opposition whining (thats what they do), just do the right thing.”

        • What is so naive about projecting the national interests through regional relations and diplomacy. If not for these initiatives, the clashes in the South China Sea would have left countries in this region in a constant state of mistrust, fear and unstable. Come on war is politics by any other means. Nobody is discounting war but only when diplomacy fails. Even when diplomacy fails there is the international law nechanism to adjudicate disputes. Frankly, I dont know why your reply seemed uptight about diplomacy and warning of war.

      • That’s the ideal. The ideal usually exists only as a state of mind.

        The reality is that a vacuum cannot exist without all sorts rushing in and weak nations are at the mercy of stronger ones when it comes to the crunch in the pursuit of conflicting national interests.

        Konfrontasi may be 50 years ago but Malaysia lost Pulau Batu Puteh only a few years ago, having agreed to go to the International Court apparently without much preparation. Now the Philippines have a territorial dispute with China. Thailand and Cambodia have been having border conflicts in recent times.

        Certainly diplomacy has to be attempted each and every time but, without much of a defence force, there’s nothing to back us up except our saliva which may dry out. Yes, the UN is there, but Israel is still occupying Palestinian lands since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and is continuously bullying the Palestinians with their housing/ settlement programme, Sudan had to give up South Sudan and states in Africa are still fighting one another.

        No need to have a huge defence force but I support the idea of having some deterrent capability.

        • PostGrad my friend,

          What you mentioned is the desired end state. Rest assured the situation and development on the ground is contrary to what you wrote. If you dont trust me ask the Vietnamese and the Phillippines what does the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) mean for them.

          Any war college grad would have been well acquainted with Von Clausewitz maxim that “War is an extension of politic by other means”. It is important to note that, military capability provide government with laverage, with option.

          Ever wonder why did Sukarno decided to invade (lets call a spade a spade!) Malaysia when we are a fledgling country about to get on its feet? Is it coincidence that the British just left and militarily we are so far behind them? What happened immediately to Timor Timur when the Portuguese left? Why is China picking on the Phillippines nowadays? Coincidence that Uncle Sam is busy elsewhere? Why Philippines decide not to pursue their claim over Sabah for now? See the pattern? ever heard of Balance of Power?

          Our embassy have been pelted with human excrement and our flag burnt by the Indon. Can anyone of us guarantee that extremist like Mustar Bona Ventura of BENDERA will not run for President and win? Whats next? Just buying stuff by then will be too little too late.
          My friend, unfortunately my line of work does not afford me the luxury of being an idealist.

        • Why should I look at the Philippines whose ilateral claims over some geographical features doesnt put it in the position of an ‘innocent victim’. It wants ti sabre rattle with a 500lb tiger thinking the US would be on its side. Forget it. The US will not be dragged into sabre rattling with the world’s second largest economy i.e China. Malaysia would be better off studying and monitoring China’s Mahanian strategy and even its Julian Corbett strategy instead of following the footsteps of the Philippines. I am more sympathetic with Vietnam, though. Why over emphasise on Clausewitz. Use Sun Tzu’ s Art of War, it ‘ s cunning and uses more psychology to defeat enemies. If you follow Clausewitz way, in a nuclear age, you will not survive to form another flank. Anyway conventional warfare uses RMA and sophisticated weapons which will not help Clausewitzians very much.

        • My friend Poseidon, ever heard of security dilemma? Such dilemma can spiral into a situation that can trigger an unnecessary war. Never mind the balance of power or the lack of it. Security dilemma needs mitigation and in this regard diplomats and military men have equally important roles to play.

        • Correction : bilateral claims

    4. Iam not sure we study the same Clausewitz or even the same Sun Tzu for that matter. And we probably dont have the same picture as to what the current regional security landscape looks like. But lets leave it at that.

      My point is the Malaysian Armed Forces need to be sufficiently funded and not seen as an afterthought. Yes diplomacy and all other element of national power should be applied to prevent armed conflict and one of those element is the nation’s armed forces. History has proved time and again, the most effective way to prevent war is to possesed the ability to deter it. And in order for deterrence to work, one must be able to demonstrate that one have the will and the ABILITY to apply it when necessary.

      On the same note, defense procurement should not be tagged along with other “national interest”. Acquiring the most suitable equipment that best meet operational requirement is in itself a national interest. As much as I hate to say this, but yes – we certainly have a lot to learn from our neighbour down south.

      • If you are suggesting whether we study the same Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, you probably know the answer coz I am sticking to my argument on the futility of Clausewitz in the age of nuclear weapons and the relevance of Sun Tzu in contemporary war strategy.

        On your second argument, I do agree that Malaysia should modernise its military affairs and that includes enhancing the military capability to defend our land, maritime and airspace against foreign violations at all times, and able to defend itself against foreign military aggression. In addition Malaysia’s readiness must be within a framework of a defence strategy that works.

        • Deterrence is the famous word used repeatedly but deterrence is not transparent. Any acquisition of military weapons by one state will create a security dilemma in another state. This will lead to spiralling security dilemma and arms race and greater mistrusts and greater potential for conflict. That’s why when talking abt deterrence, one has to address security dilemma, mitigation and confidence building. The only deterrence that is guaranteed is nuclear weapons deterence due to the capability of second strikes.

    5. Did I forgot to mentioned apart from the Leopard 2A6 MBT, the Indonesian is redeploying a battallion from KONSTRAD (the 305th aka TENGKORAK LINUD to be exact) and element of their marines (batayon ke-5 marinir) there as well.

      Plus they are in the process of equipping several other batallion with CEASAR self propelled artillery system, an attack helicopter squadron and Multiple Launch Rocket System (of which talk for AH 64 APACHE and MLRS or HIMARS is underway) all along our borders with them in Kalimantan.

      Following are excerp of their orders:

      “Amati dan waspadai gerakan pasukan Malaysia di Pulau Sebatik Utara, serta pertahankan garis paralel perbatasan di Pulau Sebatik” – Komandan Pasmar-1 Brigadir Jenderal TNI (Mar) Tommy Basari Natanegara.

      “Laksanakan penyiapan unsur perlawanan wilayah bersama satuan samping, waspadai pergerakan kekuatan Malaysia di sekitar Pulau Sebatik dan Pulau Nunukan,” – Komandan Gugus Tempur Laut Wilayah Timur, Laksamana Pertama TNI Arie Soedewo.

      Iam not implying that war is imminent, instead to demonstrate that question like “who are we going to go to war with?” is the wrong question to ask.

      p/s These information were extracted from and available as an open source information – if you know where to look.

      • I am not impressed with that Indonesia related information . Wikileaks information have opened up to the world what states are capable of . Nothing shocks the senses anymore.

    6. Thanks to BD, an interesting post and a lively discussion here. Well done guys, I respect all you views.

      My view is: we should have some kind of deterrent. Forget nuclear unless you can do it quietly, but so many disloyal so-called citizens in this country – as can be construed from the dirty Bersih – that others will get wind of it in a ziffy. Just use our nuclear experts (we have some, you know) to do a nuclear plant for energy.

      True, diplomacy first, but if you are dealing with Benjamin Setanyahu and the likes of him, you’d just have to grin and bear it. And the Palestinians have been grinning and bearing it for over 40 years now. Despite the might of the US and the “highly skilled diplomacy” of the entire United Nations.

      I fear the diplomacy of Neville Chamberlain, British PM just before World War II. The “diplomacy of appeasement” which only emboldened Adolf Hitler leading to the catastrophic war. It may already have been reflected in the watering down of the NEP, the liberalization of the economy, the treatment to vernacular schools. BN has been weakened and going for the votes on bended knees. This is the sort of situation where some adventurous blokes nearby or farther away may want to exploit and, if a political turmoil explodes like in 1969, may want to walk in. Far fetched, you might think? Sukarno tried it in the 1960s.

      If all the information given by POSEIDON is correct, we certainly need to prepare ourselves. True, there’s the Border Committee and other means of seeking clarification by the military, but our Military Intelligence must have their own sources of information and do a proper and reliable assessment of threats periodically. And we the rakyat need more than just the occasional statement by our leaders that “things are OK” in order to feel that the country has adequate means to defend ourselves against any military adventurism at any time. It’s called “adequate defence”, not like the British scattered shooting at the Japanese on bicycles etc while running away to and surrendering in Singapore during World War II.

      • Thanks Abu. You kindda put the nail on the coffin for this discussion as what need to be done. Our Military Intel and their higher ups is definitely aware and have far more information than all of us here put together – theres no doubt about it.

        But the worrying part is even with what little that we know, the lack or perceived lack of will to do the right thing due to current political climate. Example I quoted above happened in recent month and not from old wikileaks stuff but despite that, there is very little or no changes in our responses.

        When government worry that they will be questioned or accused of wrongdoing at every turn, obviously they tend to err on the ‘politically safe’ side. As in many other thing; for this to work, I think we need to have a strong government.

      • I wasnt even talking about Malaysia having nuclear deterrence. But rather deterrence is effective only where it involves nuclear weapon capability as evident in the ending of the Cold War era and subsequent detente and disarmament. Conventional weapon acquisition does not lead to deterrence but a spiralling security dilemma. Some views posted in this thread are evidence of heightened security dilemma i.e neighbours acquire, why dont we. Well, if we do, neighbours look at us and they will acquire more and the race continues.

    7. There is another talkfest coming up soon – the 11th Shangri-La Dialogue, organised by IISS, to be held in Singapore this week.

      27 delegations from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond will attend this meeting, comprising defence ministers, chiefs of defence staff, top security analysts and military and intelligence chiefs, according to a report in the Singapore Business Times.

      The keynote speaker is President SBY. Another speaker will US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta.

      I hope that the Malaysian delegation will have prepped and done their homework before heading into the meeting’s 5 plenary sessions and 5 closed-door special sessions.

    8. Singapore have an effective and working conventional deterrence relative to their threat perception. Lee Kuan Yew called it a poison shrimp. You eat me, you die in the process. Im sure Indonesia and I know for a fact that today we will not opt to confront them militarily – whatever the issue may be except to defend ourself. That mean Singapore Conventional deterrence work. Deterrence can also be look at from different level, is it strategic, operational or tactical? So nuclear is not the only tool for deterrence. You have adilemma when there is a choice to be made, if there is none the answer is clear, no dilemma there.

      Security dilemma occur when the competing parties is equal or approximate in their capability. One example is when the balance of power is about to shift from one side to another. We’ve live sufficiently peaceful for the past 4 decades with a steady balance of power. In order to preserve that we should do what we can to preserve the balance of power in this region. Thats why it in geo-strategic term we have the word stability.

    9. Seurity dilemma involves dilemma of interpretation and dilemma of response. There is no way of knowing what interpretation and what response to take under certain circumstances which can result in the wrong response and unnecessary conflict. That is why mitigation is the only safeguard to security dilemma. And this region is stable not because there is a military power balance and not because there is no dilemma, but because it is mitigated through regional cooperation that enhance confidence building through security dialogue as per the ARF and through political, economic and social channelled through good diplomatic and cooperative relations.

    10. When Adolf Hitler had a fleet of submarines at the start of World War II, British, American and Canadian naval and merchant fleet became sitting ducks, walloped by the Germans, one by one until more than 26 from a convoy of ships carrying cargo needed by Britain for the war effort (before the Yanks entered the war) were torpedoed by the German subs one by one in one operation. The tide turned when the Yanks joined the war in Sept 1941.

      Much of the waters of the Straits of Malacca are ours, yet we only reacted to what Singapore acted – we acquired submarines only when Singapore bought one or two. Ain’t smart, innit? When would we act and the Little Dot down below react? Yet spending “a decent percentage” of our income to purchase military hardware isn’t sabre rattling, is it? It won’t start an arms race, unless we start an open secret of building nuclear weapons. Goodness, we can’t even manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles, can we now?

      Singapore may be using the Zionist Israeli deterrence strategy – spread the word round that they have a big number of Singapore Air Force aircraft stationed in Hong Kong, Taiwan etc, under some secret arrangement, Let the others in the region talk about the open secret of Israeli military advisers in unknown numbers and fields of specialization, sophisticated missiles etc, based in Singapore, advising on blitzkrieg attacks like Israel did on the Arabs during the 6-Day War in 1967. And Malaysia happily had them for joint training in the Peninsular – perhaps on the pretext of joint defence in the event the commies in Vietnam etc walk into mainland Malaysia. At the same time Singapore will announce more submarine purchases. Don’t these provide some form of deterrence to Singapore?

      I’m no expert but I don’t like it when China starts to flex their muscles on poor Philippiines over the rock outcrop what’s the name.

      • It’s an interesting analysis, but a bit too “pie in the sky” for me.

        What will be Asean’s position on the US Navy deploying up to 4 of it’s Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore? If these LCSs rove up and down the Straits of Malacca (with the tacit blessings of Indonesia and Singapore) with a view to maintaining freedom of navigation, what will Malaysia’s stand be?

        Realpolitik says that Malaysia cannot dictate terms to the US Navy, much less a “blue water” Chinese Navy.

        So, in a region where the US, China and India are jockeying for position and influence, with Australia and Japan watching closely from the sidelines, which way will Asean swing?

        And what about the FPDA? Has it outlived it’s usefulness, seeing as how everyone wants to make nice with Indonesia (including a second-term Obama or a Romney administration)?

        Maybe it’s time for the Malaysian government to come out with another Defence White Paper, with a sober, hardheaded and realistic assessment of threats and opportunities, given the country’s financial constraints and priorities. And let’s do it sufficiently long-range, instead of short-termism!


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