20 August 2017
Malaysia last year signed a 1.17 billion ringgit (HK$2.1 billion) deal for four littoral mission ships – used for coastal patrols – to be jointly built by the state-linked China Shipbuilding and Offshore Company (CSOC) and the local Boustead Naval Shipyard. It was the first major defence contract between the two countries.
Speculation about Malaysian procurement of Chinese weapons went into overdrive last week after two reports suggested Chinese officials visiting Kuala Lumpur had mooted the sale of advanced rocket launchers and a radar system for deployment in the country’s southern tip bordering Singapore.
Collin Koh, a Singapore-based military researcher, said there were “reasons to surmise some kind of discussions on the [rocket launchers] purchase have taken place … as part of a wider range of weapons offerings from China”.
Chinese weapon suppliers have previously inked deals with the likes of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, but a fresh pact with Malaysia barely a year after the CSOC deal would be seen as a major coup.
“If China wants to showcase itself as an emerging, credible global arms supplier, it’ll need to start sealing successful arms deals especially with countries that have been buying Western. Malaysia fits the bill,” said Koh, a research fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 28/08/2017