LANGKAWI: The role of the defence industry is changing dramatically as new and changing threats require further research and development.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this has led to the increase of overall costs and pricing of defence products and services.
In his speech at the launch of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA 2017) this morning, Najib said defence expenditure is likely to continue to rise, given the threats -- traditional and non-traditional -- that the region and beyond are facing.
"We need to equip our fighting men with capabilities required to face modern warfare, both symmetrical and asymmetrical, and LIMA 2017 brings together major aerospace and maritime firms from around the world to demonstrate their state-of-the-art static and aerial displays and cutting edge technologies.
"We take this very seriously here in Malaysia. The government has allocated a total of RM26 billion under the 11th Malaysia Plan to cover defence, public order and enforcement.
"Our defence spending will continue to grow as the Armed Forces have embarked on a long-term capability plan to modernise and upgrade the equipment that we have at the moment," said Najib.
He said Malaysia's future prospects in maritime and aerospace industries are strong, as the country is situated in the heart of one of the most vibrant maritime and aerospace markets, with strong connections to the region, and an open and business-friendly economy.
The launch ceremony this morning was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who is also the Home Minister, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Armed Forces chiefs and military delegates from around the world, as well as corporate figures from participating companies.
LIMA 2017 sees the participation of more than 300 defence and security delegations, 55 visiting warships and boats, 106 aircrafts and 467 journalists.