With many Chinese firms investing in multi-billion ringgit projects in Malaysia, the federal government is more likely to purchase military weapons and equipment from China, according to retired brigadier-general Mohd Arshad Raji.
“Given the increasingly warm ties and influx of Chinese money in the country, it would be natural for the government to buy more arms and military equipment from Beijing,” he told Free Malaysia Today.
Chinese investments in large-scale infrastructure and property projects here include the RM43 billion Melaka Gateway, the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the US$100 billion (RM 428.85 billion) Forest City in Johor.
Traditionally, Malaysia has purchased military hardware from western countries like the US and the UK, noted Arshad, who believes that a shift towards buying weapons from China could negatively impact trade relations with the two western nations.
“But my biggest concern is that a pivot towards China in terms of defence could affect our neutrality and military ties with our traditional western allies,” given the fact that China is aggressively using its armed forces to claim the South China Sea.
He also raised the issue that a greater reliance on Beijing for military arms and equipment would lead to Malaysia being influenced by China’s military doctrine.
“Malaysia, being a Commonwealth country, has been more inclined towards a western military doctrine. In essence, a military doctrine acts as a guide to help us standardise our operations. It represents our central beliefs and principles on how war should be waged.”
Arshad noted that he isn’t sure if the communist country’s military doctrine is suited for Malaysia.
Meanwhile, independent security analyst Lam Choong Wah thinks that Malaysia’s federal government would not be beholden to purchasing military weapons and equipment from China as it concerns the security interest of the country.
In regards to quality, he pointed out that nations like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines have already procured arms from China without any serious problems or defects.
But one issue noted by Lam is the absence of parliamentary control in the purchase of military weapons and hardware by Malaysia.
“In line with principles of democracy and transparency, the government must debate any military trade deal worth RM100 million or more in the Parliament,” he added.
Image sourced from FMT
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