Joint Statement - Malaysia-Australia High Level Committee on Defence Cooperation
25 June 2018
Malaysian Minister of Defence H.E Mohamad bin Sabu and Australian Minister for Defence Senator The Honourable Marise Payne, have convened the inaugural Malaysia – Australia High Level Committee on Defence Cooperation (HLC) meeting at Butterworth, Penang, on 25 June 2018.
The Ministers were updated on the progress of the cooperation under the Malaysia-Australia Joint Defence Program (MAJDP) which affirmed the importance of working together to strengthen the bilateral defence relationship, and meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving regional security environment.
Both Ministers agreed that the threat of terrorism is a key regional concern for both nations, including the return of foreign terrorist fighters from overseas conflicts. They unequivocally condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expressed their condolences to the victims of terrorism across the region.
They reiterated the commitment to work together, bilaterally and multilaterally, to enhance defence cooperation to counter terrorism and identify ways to strengthen counter terrorism cooperation through bilateral and multilateral means, and acknowledged the Perth Meeting as an important forum for this critical undertaking.
The Ministers affirmed their commitment to the FPDA, as an integral part of the region’s security architecture. The FPDA has built trust and enhanced interoperability among the militaries of member-nations. It has continuously promoted respect for international law, and contributed to peace and security in the region. The Ministers noted that the 10th FPDA Defence Ministers’ Meeting agreed to continually strengthen counter terrorism activities and enhance the operational value of the exercises including incorporating newer capabilities for the mutual benefit of all member-nations.
The inaugural HLC occurred during the 60th anniversary celebration of Australia’s presence at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Butterworth Airbase. Both Ministers acknowledged this presence as a key part of the relationship, and unique to the region. In particular, the longevity of this arrangement testifies to it serving the interests of both Australia and Malaysia. The people-to-people links created have been particularly strong, as demonstrated by the commitment given by former military personnel attending the celebrations.
Both Ministers agreed that the bilateral relationship was strong, with a comprehensive range of engagement activities including secondment of officers, training and education exchanges, joint exercises and sharing lessons learned. Ministers agreed to explore ways to further strengthen the relationship.
Both Ministers were pleased with the development of initiatives which include the upgrading of facilities used by the Australia Defence Force in Butterworth, the development of urban operations training facility at Pusat Latihan Tentera Darat (PULADA), Kota Tinggi, Johor, increased defence scholarships to study in Australia from 5 to 8 positions and provision of F/A-18 spare parts for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
Noting the value of this meeting, both Ministers agreed that the HLC would, in principle become an annual event. Australia would host the next meeting.