French-Malaysian Defence co-operation
Based on agreements concluded from 1989 onwards (and in particular the Defence Agreement signed in 1993 by Defence Ministers), the French-Malaysian co-operation has been focusing on three key points: strategic issues, defence and armament co-operation.
One of the main partners of Malaysia
France is one of the main military partners of Malaysia as far as the supply of military equipment and defence services—such as training, assessments and technical assistance—is concerned.
Since 2002, Malaysia has chosen to develop a closer co-operation with France to create a submarine force. Two Scorpène submarines are at present being built in French (Cherbourg) and Spanish shipyards. This programme contains notably a thorough training of Malaysian crews in France: 160 Malaysian seamen have been trained in France since 2004. They form the crew of the two Scorpène which was delivered in Malaysia in 2009 and early 2010.
The investment in both countries is noteworthy: the Malaysian government has already chosen French military helicopters and missiles, military electronics and some important equipments in new heavy tanks, new fighting aircraft and the tactical radios of the armed forces.
Technological and knowledge transfers
In Malaysia, French military industrialists are productive investors who are committed to the development of industrial capacities and local savoir-faire through technological and knowledge transfers.
Initially, the French-Malaysian defence relationship was based on large military programmes of arms procurement. This relationship has now taken a new strategic dimension with the implementation of these projects. Frequent meetings of high authorities, crossed visits, training of Malaysian officers in both countries, are the core elements in the bilateral relationship.
The navy is at the heart of the defense relationship
The geographic distance makes joint trainings difficult. However the vessels of the French Navy under the command of the Admiral for the Indian Ocean Maritime Zone call frequently at Malaysia’s ports. These contacts are contributing to the development of a closer military relationship between the two countries. The navy is indeed the key of the defence relationship between France and Malaysia, which is perceived as an incentive by the other armed forces that have decided to develop their contacts.