KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will continue to improve its defence and security along the Straits of Malacca and in East Malaysia even during these challenging economic times, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
Citing the recent pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden on two Malaysian oil tankers, Abdullah said Malaysia needed to be prepared for any eventuality and security challenge anywhere in the world.
“The incident is a prime example that governments cannot afford to relax where national security and the lives of its citizens are concerned.
“We need to be vigilant and continue improving our overall defence and security,” he said at the launching of the Langkawi International Maritimeand Aviation (LIMA) 2009 exhibition.
Abdullah said analysts believe that Asean’s defence and security spending would exceed US$350bil (RM1.3 trillion) in the years leading up to 2020, offering numerous opportunities for suppliers.
On the LIMA 2009 exhibition to be held from Dec 1-5 next year, Abdullah said the Defence Ministry had taken steps to further enhance and strenghten the show.
“We have departed from the conventional two-organiser structure towards a more coordinated single organiser approach for both components of the maritime and air shows.”
Abdullah said he believed that the consolidation would produce multiple benefits and cost savings to all participants especially exhibitors, adding that HW Lima Sdn Bhd had been appointed as the sole organiser for LIMA 2009.
HW Lima executive chairman Vice Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Abdul Wahab Nawi said about 50% of the 21,000 sq m of exhibition space at the Mahsuri International Exhibtion Centre had been taken up.
“We are set for what could possibly be the biggest LIMA we have seen so far,” he said.
Abdul Wahab said areas LIMA would be looking to improve included increasing the profile range of trade visitors and delegations, introducing a new shuttle service to ease traffic flow, a dedicated delegates information lounge and a purpose-built VIP complex.
Abdullah later witnessed seven major corporations ink their participation as exhibitors in LIMA 2009. The companies were BAE Systems (Britain), Boustead Naval Shipyard, Eurocopter, National Aerospace Defence Industries Sdn Bhd, Thales Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Sapura Group of Companies and Fincantieri (Italy).