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National Defence Industry must Rise Up to Help Strengthen National Sovereignty – STRIDE

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 – The local defence industry needs to rise again and be able to stand on its own without relying on outside expertise, in an effort to strengthen national security and defence, said Director -General of the Defence Science and Technology Research Institute (STRIDE) Dr Mohd Yazid Ahmad.

He said STRIDE was always ready to work hand in hand with local defence industry players especially in conducting various research and development as well as training in an effort to reduce dependence on external sources.

According to him, this self-reliance is to ensure that the national defence line can defend the country’s sovereignty with internal resources without or with minimal support from foreign sources or defense companies.

“Efforts to support the needs and readiness of the defense line, especially in key areas such as the supply of basic military equipment, armaments and maintenance of Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) assets will be successful if local expertise is further strengthened.

“Malaysia created the national defence industry in 1960, which at that time focused on the development of maintenance capabilities as well as the ability to install and build MAF assets which led to the development of this industry has expanded to several key sectors including maritime, aerospace, automotive and armaments,” he told Named recently

Mohd Yazid said the government’s support emphasized the use of locally produced products, ensuring that efforts to develop the industry were successful, including a financial commitment to develop high -tech and quality equipment and systems through research, not only for the local market but also abroad.

“Currently, STRIDE is also actively conducting studies and research involving academics and local industry players, including establishing strategic relationships between the Ministry of Defense and related agencies by providing grant facilities and special funds for research and development purposes,” he said.

He said STRIDE, which had been in existence for 54 years, had more than 100 officers and expertise in technical and testing, including testing Malaysia’s first 4X4 high-mobility armored car and testing bulletproof vests.

He explained however, there is a gap of the institution with industry players who view from different perspectives on research or development related to defense products.

“For example, we think there is no room for improvement of the prototypes produced are not in demand or attract industry interest to be commercialized while the industry thinks the prototypes produced do not meet the needs of end users and difficult to attract investment,” he said.
Mohd Yazid said the issue was resolved through the provision of funds and platforms by the government to promote prototypes by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation which operates the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox.

He said STRIDE itself played an important role by being a liaison between the relevant parties to carry out further studies or test the products that will be and are being produced for quality verification from the aspect of innovation for the local industry.

Touching on the commercialization of local innovations, Mohd Yazid said the country had high potential due to various initiatives implemented by the government for defence equipment.

In line with this potential, he said industry players needed to diversify their products not only for the sector but also for public use to increase market opportunities thus expanding the network of potential customers for the products and services offered.

“The creation of a one-stop data center for local defense and security products and services acts as an e-Directory to promote national defense and security companies that are capable of reference by all parties around the world can also help grow this industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Yazid said to increase competitiveness and develop a ‘talent pool’, disclosure of talent nurturing and development of expertise in the practical aspects of defense science and technology should be given emphasis starting from the tertiary level at local educational institutions.

“This is to produce more local experts in the field of specialization through this sector, and can be used fully for the purpose of developing this industry without relying on the foreign defense industry,” he said.

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