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Malaysia’s Military Might Be More Powerful Than You Realise

Malaysia’s Military Might Be More Powerful Than You Realise

When the reality of 2020 finally hit Malaysians, never in a million years did we think we’d be making jokes about anything other than flying cars and Wawasan 2020.

As fate would have it, the conflict between United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran escalated (full story HERE) and World War 3 jokes – as well as legitimate concerns – flooded social media.

With the threat of a possible conflict in the air, it turns out that Malaysia might be better prepared than we thought.

Malaysian Armed Forces personnel march during a National Day rehearsal in Putrajaya.
(Credit: Firdaus Latif/Malay Mail)

For one, Global Firepower’s (GFP) 2019 Wold Military Strength Rankings put Malaysia’s military might at a solid No 41 out of 137 countries.

The ranking is based on each nation’s potential war-making capabilities across land, sea and air fought with conventional weapons. Each nation is given a power index based on geographical factors, logistical flexibility and financial stability with extra attention to available manpower.

Shooting exercise by Malaysian Armed Forces.
(Credit: Tentera Darat Malaysia/Facebook)

Malaysia’s power index is 0.6523, which places us above Syria, Denmark, Iraq and Singapore. The top power index score is 0.0000, but GFP says it’s realistically unattainable.

GFP points out that Malaysia’s manpower is around 15 million strong, with 12 million citizens fit for service. Malaysia’s total military personnel is estimated at 410,000 with 110,00 active personnel.

It also estimates that Malaysia’s armed forces currently have 91 fighter and attack aircrafts, 71 helicopters, 74 combat tanks, 1,460 armoured fighting vehicles, 41 patrol vessels and 2 submarines.

Military equipment at Malaysian Armed Forces’ ATM Carnival Day 2019.
(Credit: Tentera Darat Malaysia/Facebook)

However, it should be noted that experts have pointed out that Malaysia’s defence spending has been declining over the years. The Star reports that we will see a projected declined of 40% from 2019-2021, leaving Malaysia behind many of its Southeast Asian neighbours.

Malaysia’s military expenditure over the years.
(Credit: The Star)

Security analyst & professor at the National War College in Washington, Zachary Abuza told the English daily that Malaysia is behind the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore respectively in terms of percentage of defence spending compared to gross domestic product (GDP).

The Defence Ministry has only put in the proposal to set the country’s military spending to at least 1% of the country’s annual GDP in late 2019. This was announced at the tabling of Malaysia’s first Defence White Paper (DWP) at Parliament in December 2019. FYI, DWP is a comprehensive long-term plan for the nation’s defense.

That being said, it seems that Malaysia is set to make our own firearms, and potentially sell them overseas.

Malaysian soldiers at training.
(Credit: Tentera Darat Malaysia/Facebook)

According to Nikkei Asian Review, plans are in motion to build Malaysia’s first domestic firearms manufacturing and assembly plant with help from Turkey.

Following the 2019 Kuala Lumpur Summit where Muslim leaders around the world gathered in Malaysia, Turkish weapons manufacturer Tisas Trabzon Silah Sanayi (Tisas) inked the deal with KOP Mantap – a company owned by Royal Malaysian Police Cooperative and local IT solutions provider, IDC Technologies.

Weapons made at the local plant is aimed to supply firearms to Malaysia’s security personnel. If it all goes to plan, the weapons made in the Malaysian plant could potentially be sold to other nations, especially Southeast Asia.

There’s no word yet on the details of the weapons, but Tisas is providing technology transfer and industry know-how for the local arms factory. Products in Tisas’s catalogue include firearms, assault rifles and pistols.

So, if World War 3 ever hits, all hope is not lost for Malaysia. In the meantime, we’ll continue laughing at the memes.

What do you think of Malaysia’s military strength? Let us know on TRP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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