Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/23/2012 -- BMI's Malaysia Defence and Security Report examines the country's strategic position in South East Asia and the wider region. It provides an overview of the challenges facing the country in the context of national elections that BMI anticipates this June and the historic repeal of the Internal Security Act. Prime Minister Najib tun Razak is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity, raising the likelihood of an imminent election and reducing the chances of serious political instability, which had been feared. Nonetheless more 'Bersih' protests for free and fair elections are planned, and sceptics are waiting to see whether Najib delivers on promises to clean up the political process.
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The report also considers Malaysia's geopolitical challenges, with the South China Sea remaining unstable and territorial disputes there creating friction between the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) and China. Malaysia continues to stay on the sidelines of this dispute, though it could yet play a significant role in finding a solution. Malaysia also continues to balance its relations with China and the US, striving to maintain strong ties with both and downplaying the threat to stability that some governments think that China might pose.
In addition, the report examines the trends witnessed in the country's current and future defence procurement, and order of battle across its armed forces. The intention is to provide a clear and concise discussion of these issues. The report's general conclusion is that Malaysia has a good opportunity to attract overseas interest in its defence sector, with programmes such as the procurement of a new multirole fighter aircraft making Malaysia a desirable partner as international aerospace companies compete for orders.
But at the same time, Malaysia is not making any particular effort to increase its defence budget, as some other countries in the region are doing. As a result, Kuala Lumpur's procurement options will remain curtailed. This could become a political and strategic problem over time, as neighbours like Indonesia begin to grow their defence budget and update their military capabilities. However, so far Kuala Lumpur has not reacted to the military expansion occurring elsewhere in the region.
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