The current political climate and government austerity measures in Malaysia mean that a number of programs for the Malaysian armed forces look likely to be postponed until the time frame of the 11th Malaysia Plan, which covers government spending for the period of 2016-2020. A combination of public dissatisfaction over the cutting of government subsidies and the government’s need to balance an increasing deficit has made spending on military procurement politically unviable at the moment.
Royal Malaysian Navy
All three services of the Malaysian armed forces have received significant cuts to their procurement budget requests for 2012. The political context for this is the build up to a general election, which must be held by 2013. With defense spending being a contentious issue in Malaysia and the need to reduce state spending, the current government has opted for sizable cutbacks.
As an aid to combating piracy in this region, Alenia has offered the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) the use of two previously owned ATR 42 MP (maritime patrol) aircraft to be operated by a local company on its behalf. Reporting to the defense minister, the MMEA began operations in November last year under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department.
The first of 11 AgustaWestland A109 LOH (light observation helicopters) was handed over to the Malaysian army at the end of last year, during the country’s biennial Langkawi airshow. The start of training for (initially) five pilots began at the same time, coincidentally as an earlier contract to train Royal Malaysian Navy crews on their six new AW Super Lynx 300s came to a successful conclusion.