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Malaysian navy makes rare appeal for more funds in 2023 defence budget

Malaysian defence budget from 2010 to 2030. (Janes)

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has issued rare appeals to the government for more funds to be made available under the country's 2023 national budget.

The appeals were detailed in two media releases issued by the Strategic Communications Divisions of the RMN's Western and Eastern armadas on 3 and 4 October, respectively.

“Three decades ago, the RMN proudly operated a total of 16 combatants with missile capabilities, but this number has reduced drastically today due to ageing equipment,” said the Western Armada in its 3 October media release. The armada also pointed out that the service last received a new surface combatant 25 years ago, in reference to its first Laksamana-class corvette.

A follow-on media release issued by the Eastern Armada on 4 October was more explicit in its appeal for more funds. “The Eastern Armada hopes that the government will give more consideration to the procurement and upgrade of military equipment in the national budget of 2023,” the statement reads.

“The additional funds are critical given that the RMN's assets are rapidly ageing and are now facing serious obsolescence issues. The Eastern Armada Command supports the navy's chief's call for an increase in the country's defence budget to 1.5% of the country's GDP in 2023,” the service added in reference to previous comments made by Admiral Reza Sany to the Malaysian media.

The Eastern Armada's statement went on to describe funding issues as the main challenge it continually faces when making deployment plans. “Given the changes in the security landscape, and the meddling by great powers in the South China Sea, the navy badly requires assets with combat capabilities,” the service added, without mentioning any specific countries.

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