D&S 2017: Malaysian budget promises new equipment
The Malaysian government has given the go-ahead for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to purchase four maritime patrol aircraft and the Malaysian Army to obtain 155mm self- propelled howitzers (SPH).
Speaking to media on 28 October regarding the 2018 budget announced a day earlier, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein added that the army would also obtain six MD 530G helicopters and equipment for Grup Gerak Khas (GGK) special forces.
During that show, Malaysia also signed a letter of intent with the US government for excess 155mm M109A5 SPHs. Up to 29 SPHs along with supporting vehicles could be acquired, though this does not prevent Malaysia from sourcing SPHs from elsewhere.
The defence minister did not specify what equipment was to be purchased for the GGK, but Prime Minister Najib Razak in his budget speech stated that RM50 million ($11.8 million) would be allocated.
No mention was made of the amount allocated for the four maritime patrol aircraft, but this is not unusual as Malaysia normally allocates funding in the fiscal year when payment is to be made once contract terms are agreed.
The MoD is yet to announce whether the purchase will be an open, closed or direct-negotiation tender, though it is expected that the purchase will not happen soon given the need for RMAF evaluations and ensuing contract negotiations.
Malaysia has also reportedly expressed interest in surplus Japanese P-3 Orions but only on a donation basis. Japan recently amended laws regarding the transfer of surplus military equipment. The Philippines is a beneficiary with the Japanese MoD announcing on 25 October that the lease of five TC-90 aircraft had now transformed into a donation.
The Malaysian government does not issue detailed programme breakdowns of funding allocations. However, total equipment procurement amounts for each service and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) Headquarters for tri-service procurements have been released as per normal practice.
For 2018 the Malaysian Army has been given RM782.36 million ($184.4 million), the Royal Malaysian Navy RM1.27 billion ($299.3 million), the RMAF RM304.4 million ($71.7 million) and the MAF HQ RM485.5 ($114.4 million).