Sunday, February 5, 2023

Malaysia to Stay Neutral in Clash of Superpowers, says Hishammuddin

NewsMalaysia to Stay Neutral in Clash of Superpowers, says Hishammuddin

In the recent development of the AUKUS that involves Australia, the US, the UK and China, Malaysia may find itself at a risky position as siding either of the superpowers may cause Malaysia to be in an unfavourable position.

Hence, the Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein said the Malaysian government will not take sides with any superpowers and will remain neutral.

Hishammuddin added that the geopolitics issue which concerns Malaysia’s relationship with regional superpowers, and its position in the South China Sea have been outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan.

Source: Berita Harian

“Malaysia as a sovereign nation will not take sides with any superpower. We have our own stance on the issue.” he said, as reported by FMT.

Meanwhile, Kota Raja Member of Parliament (MP), Mat Sabu, who was the former defence minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration, also urged the government to engage with the ASEAN members to address the AUKUS issue with Australia as a regional force.

The AUKUS is a trilateral security agreement between the Australia, the UK and the US, which was announced on 15 September for the Indo-Pacific region. Under this agreement, the US and the UK is said to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

After the announcement of AUKUS was made, the Prime Minister Ismail Sabri had expressed his concerns over the pact during a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 18 September, saying that AUKUS could have trigger a nuclear arms race in the contested Indo-Pacific region.

On the other hand, Sungai Petani MP, Johari Abdul asked the Defence Minister on whether he will allow his Ministry to be audited by the Parliamentary Select Committee over the ordered defence equipment that have yet to arrive.

Johari added that the audit is necessary as the issue is detrimental to our national security. He said the Singapore and the US are seemingly aware of the defence equipment ordered by the Malaysian government.

In response, Hishammuddin said the equipment indeed have arrived late, but his Ministry could file a claim for the losses from incomplete sales.

“However, it is important to know that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Mindef to acquire assets ordered as soon as possible for the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).” he said.

Besides, Hishammuddin said his Ministry is looking into collaborating with the local defence industry to develop Malaysia’s own defence assets, besides the usual foreign corporations.

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