Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	18/02/86 

Honourable guests; Distinguished participants; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a pleasure for me to be able to be present here today at this Asian
Defence Exhibition and Conference- Defence 86 - and also to address this
distinguished gathering.

2. For Malaysia, this is the second time that we are hosting a defence
exhibition, the first being in 1980. I have been told that this Defence 86
Exhibition has attracted a large number of exhibitors from several
countries and this exhibition is one of the biggest in the Asia-Pacific

Ladies and gentlemen, 

3. Malaysia has managed to put down the menace of Communist terrorism in
the early years of its independence. Consequently this country recognised
the importance of defence and security in ensuring the development of the
country. Without security, we may not be able to achieve the objectives of
our development programmes. The importance is reflected in the financial
allocation for this purpose under the various 5-year plans. I would say
that Malaysia has been able to strike a balance between the importance of
economic and social development and defence requirements.

4. However, Malaysia being a developing country has not and will not place
the defence and security as the top most priority in our annual budget
allocation. It will still remain an important component, next to economic
and social development. The reason is obvious. If defence is to become
effective and get the backing of the people, what is to be defended must
be worthwhile. It is in order to make Malaysia worth defending that
economic and social developent has to be carried out.

5. If we take defence as a total concept, economic and social development
must be considered a major factor in national defence. In the context of a
modern nation, the backing of the people for the armed forces to defend
the country is as important as the strength and skill of the armed forces
themselves. Likewise basic defence is necessary for economic and social
development efforts to take place. Taking these factors in its
totality,defence and economic and social programmes are complementary
factors in achieving overall national resilience.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

6. There is never enough of anything. Certainly no country can find enough
funds for the needs of defence. This is made even more glaring because of
the increasing cost of sophisticated weapons. Where once we could buy a
whole squadron of planes, now the same amount of money can buy only half
an aeroplane. By the time enough money is raised to buy the squadron, not
only have the costs escalated but new technology would make the original
equipment obsolete. And new technology will cost more money.

7. I am reminded of a story of a weapon designer who brought blueprints
for the ultimate weapon to the commanding general of a country. He pointed
out the danger the country would face if it does not have this ultimate
weapon of his. So convincing was he that the general decided to buy the
blueprint. No sooner had he signed on the dotted line when the designer
produced another set of blueprints for a weapon to counter the ultimate
weapon. Again the general was persuaded to buy this new blueprint. Then
the designer produced yet another set of blueprints of a weapon to counter
the counter weapon he had just sold. The angry general refused to
buy. Whereupon the weapon designer said he would go to the country's enemy
to sell the weapons.

8. The situation these days makes this story no more a joke. Weapons get
obsolete so quickly that we get breathless merely trying to catch up with
the literature on the latest technology or what is tantalisingly described
as the state of the art. One wonders sometimes whether it is worthwhile
buying any weapons since it is going to be absolete by the time delivery
takes place. Then there is the problem of choosing between several with
the same specifications but are somehow different. To a civilian like me,
no choice is right. Invariably when a decision is made, everyone will
point out how much better are the other weapons.

9. Over and above all these is the question of how much to spend on
defence. We know already that it is never going to be enough, especially
to the professional soldiers. But even if it is not going to be enough, we
still have to determine how much more or how much less should the
allocation be. Can a price be put on the security of a nation? Can the
security of a nation be correctly assessed so as to ensure that the
correct allocation of funds and correct choice of weapons are made? 
10. These are problems that trouble every government. And Malaysia is no
exception. We do not really know whether our allocation and our weapons
are right or not. How much must we curtail development in order to cater
to the needs of security and defence? Looking at the vast array of weapons
and equipments that are on show at this Exhibition, we can become either
more enlightened or more confused. But one thing is certain. Defence costs
and the worst thing that can happen in terms of cost is an arms race. Even
the super powers can be bankrupted by such a race, long before we have
star wars. I do hope that here in South East Asia, we do not have a mini
arms race.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

11. Malaysia is not ambitious when it comes to producing arms. We have no
desire to become a supplier of arms to anyone else. We are a peace-loving
country and our needs for weapons are simple. If we go into the
manufacture of arms it is only to meet these needs. Only if economies of
scale forces us, will we produce more than our needs and sell the excess.

12. But there are many areas where defence needs coincide with civilian
needs. Thus the repair and overhaul of aeroplane engines are of interest
to both the military and the civil aviation. It is because of this that
the facility initially set for the repair and overhaul of military
aircraft has now been converted into a rivately-run industry, available
also to civil aircraft. That facility now owned by Aerospace Industries of
Malaysia will be expanded in order to manufacture flight instruments and
other avionics. AIM is still interested in having joint ventures for
servicing and manufacturing with interested foreign partners. It will not
go beyond that. It will certainly not be manufacturing aircraft.

13. Additionally we have gone into heavy industries hoping that we may be
able to fabricate some components of both civilian and military
vehicles. We have already begun to produce our own cars and the expertise
gained would be useful should we need to produce designs, parts and
components for military needs.

14. As you can see we are very modest about producing our own arms. For a
very long time we will have to buy our defence needs.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

15. It is useful to have a Defence Exhibition like this. It enables a lot
of people involved with defence and security to appreciate the range and
variety of weapons and equipments available. It might even be enlightening
to civilians like me who are willy-nilly dragged into making decisions on
matters that we are really not competent to make, and yet are expected to
make wisely.

16. The holding of a Defence Exhibition in Malaysia should not be
misconstrued as official support and endorsement for an arms build-up in
this country or in this region. As I have said Malaysia is a peace-loving
country. It has no wish to be a military power and it would be very
nervous if there are military powers around it. But it accepts the need to
upgrade its knowledge if not its capability for defence. Towards this end
your conference and the various papers that will be presented will be very

17. But, of course, this Exhibition is open to all. We are going to learn
nothing more than what others, including our neighbours, will
learn. Perhaps it may make us wiser so that, much to the disappointment of
the exhibitors, we will decide that it is futile to enter into an arms
race and spend our limited funds on development instead. However, I would
hasten to assure the exhibitors that their investment in this show is not
likely to have that effect. I am sure that a lot of us are going to be
persuaded to buy equipment which we will never really use. But weapons
that never need to be used may prove to be the best investment. We can say
that they are a deterrent. It was a British Prime Minister, I believe, who
said that "To have peace you must prepare for war". Britain was unprepared
then and Britain had war. Malaysia unfortunately cannot afford to believe
too much in that maxim.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

18. Once again I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to
officiate at this Exhibition and Conference. To all participants and
exhibitors I wish you success and a pleasant and memorable stay in

19. I now have much pleasure in declaring the Asian Defence Exhibition and
Conference open.

Thank you.