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Malaysia Faces Three Defence and National Sovereignty Challenges

Malaysia faces three challenges in the changing regional security environment, particularly in the strategic, geopolitical, security and economic paradigms in an effort to defend national security and sovereignty.

The Chief of Defence Force, General Tan Sri Affendi Buang, said that this development required Malaysia to make dynamic, comprehensive and practical considerations, in addition to that it needed to be refined and adapted in line with the current security challenges and demands in line with the aspirations of the Defense White Paper (DWP), which is a Malaysia that safe, sovereign and prosperous.

He said, the main security challenges facing Malaysia are now divided into three.

“Firstly, regional security issues occur in neighboring countries that risk generating spillover effects on Malaysia, in addition to the conflict in the South China Sea involving acts of provocation and the intervention of several foreign powers.

“Secondly, sub-regional issues such as those in the Asia Pacific region, have the potential to drag certain countries into the arena of war. Third, non-traditional threats, particularly terrorism, cyber and media exploitation as well as economic dependence,” he said at a Special Media Interview Session with the Chief of the Armed Forces in conjunction with the 89th Malaysian Armed Forces Day (MAF) at Wisma Perwira, here.

Asymmetric threat Affendi said, the current threat to Malaysia is asymmetric where the battlefield is not limited to borders between countries, but also extends to regional and global dimensions.

“Today’s threats cannot be dealt with by any country alone. We must agree in shaping the strategic and security environment in the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia needs to participate in fostering the sharing of regional resources, in addition to involving external powers without affecting the credibility and the ASEAN charter.

“We need to be prepared to face domestic, regional and global threats and build sustainable resilience,” he said while informing that the mobilization of high military and non-military technology is a game changer in modern conflicts.

In addition, he said, Malaysia also needs strategic partners who can help and cooperate if the situation is urgent.

This also explains why regional cooperation such as ASEAN is very important when we face the threat of foreign powers.

“This matter also raises questions about defense diplomacy which is often mentioned by Malaysia and the extent to which it is able to help us in difficult situations,” he said.

Although Malaysia is a member of the Five-Nation Defense Arrangement (FPDA) which also includes the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, he said the relationship is non-binding and does not involve any specific commitment to military intervention if Malaysia is attacked.

In that regard, he said, Malaysia needs to look at the deterrence aspect which is not only military in nature, but also comprehensive capabilities from all aspects comprehensively”, in addition to adapting the situation and forming flexibility to each modus operandi which is implemented based on the challenges faced.

He said the peace negotiation efforts, the country needs to look at the end state goal, which is to mobilize efforts towards the resolution of a conflict, peace negotiations and compliance with international practice and law.

“Malaysia has long adopted a neutral posture. This means that Malaysia will comply with any multilateral decision, especially a decision from the United Nations (UN),” he said, referring to Malaysia’s stance on the issue of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

In the meantime, in conjunction with the 89th ATM Day celebrations, he hoped that the ATM would continue to be a ‘National Shield” in determining the safety and security of Malaysia to avoid threats and regional conflicts.

“I see that the development and modernization of ATM capabilities has been planned in line with the security scenario for the next five to 10 years. I place priority on strengthening the MAF’s readiness at all times, regardless of the form of the ability it has later.

“ATM’s ability to perform primary and secondary functions well is the main key in supporting the national defense strategy. KPP and MAF’s Fourth Dimension Capability Development Plan have already stated the capability requirements and the order of priority in its improvement.

“However, it needs to go through a review within a certain period of time so that all development and modernization plans take place in line with the defense needs and the country’s financial capabilities,” he said.

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