Malaysia’s Defense Plans in Jeopardy

Joint sea patrols mooted.

Malaysia’s Defense Plans in Jeopardy

Budget constraints are jeopardizing Malaysia’s defense spending plans, which include replacing ageing fighter jets and beefing up its maritime capabilities, at a time when Beijing is growing more assertive in the disputed South China Sea.

While Malaysia has traditionally played down any tensions with China over the contested waterway, it has long expressed concern about piracy and security along its land and coastal borders.

More recently, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 after it flew unimpeded across the Malay Peninsula last year exposed gaps in the military’s tracking of the skies.

“We have a lot of areas to be concerned about. The Straits of Malacca, the south-western part of the South China Sea and others,” Navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar told Reuters on the sidelines of an airshow on the Malaysian coastal island resort of Langkawi this week.

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