Minister Hishamuddin, one of the contestants for the Prime Ministership when Najib runs for it, made a series of announcements about possible military co-operation between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
The latter, it seems, intends to, buy submarines; something they are said not currently to possess. On hearing this Hishamuddin at once offered to “train” Saudi submariners using Malaysian facilities in Sabah. Are the public to take this to mean that Malaysia’s non-submerging submarines are now able to go below the surface?
Even if that is so it is very unlikely that the Saudis have purchased the same non-performing craft that Defence Minister Najib saddled Malaysia with. The French corruption trial over that deal is still going on. So if Saudi have a totally different type of vessel how can Malaysia provide useful training? In any case the Saudi government, unhindered by corruption considerations, will surely have made any necessary arrangements for training its naval personnel in the use of its new submarines.
Not content with this ill-considered offer Hishamuddin, never one to limit himself to one stupidity when others are on offer, also spoke about possible purchases by Malaysia of second hand military aircraft and helicopters from Saudi Arabia. As Minister of Defence he ought to know, even if he manifestly does not, that used military aircraft go either to the scrapheap or to third world regimes unwilling or unable to buy better. Does Hishamuddin see Malaysia in that category?
Given the massive thefts of public money by his boss Najib Razak and the rapidly failing Malaysian ringgit he may be right! In any case what enemy does he envisage Malaysia’s naval and air forces repelling? The PRC? Sulu pirates? He should remember that the last time that Malaysia faced a credible military threat, (from Sukarno’s Indonesia,) it was not his country’s armed forces that turned back that threat but those of the United Kingdom.
While the latter country may be content to view these absurd declarations as simply such there must be some alarm at the prospect of a secure market for used weaponry, already encroached on by France, further shrinking. Can we expect any reaction from Whitehall?
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