MH370 search: Malaysia to push for increased Asean aviation security, says minister

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (foreground).

KUALA LUMPUR - The government will push for ASEAN nations to re-examine their military and civil aviation security capabilities when Malaysia assumes chairmanship of the 10-member bloc next year.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia's chairmanship next year would be a good opportunity to look at the military and civil aviation capabilities of ASEAN countries.

"I have shared with some of my colleagues in ASEAN that there are systems out there that we can look in a regional manner.

"I think it is a great opportunity to look at the ASEAN capability not just militarily but also on the civil aviation side to look for a more constructive, effective and cost saving way to look at future threats," he told a press conference after closing the Defence Services Asia (DSA) Exhibition and Conference on Thursday.

Hishammuddin said looking back at this year's DSA, there was a change of mindset in those involved.

"There is a shift in thinking they cannot work alone," he said.

Linking it to the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370, Hishamuddin said the incident has shown cooperation was needed between countries.

"If you are talking about military radar, primary and secondary, without looking at satellite data or without working with sophisticated assets with the cooperation between countries, it is impossible to find a commercial aircraft," said Hishammuddin.

"The MH370 incident has actually given us some hope that we can cooperate but at the same time we need to cooperate in landscape that is much more complex," Hishammuddin added.

Hishammuddin said DSA was an opportunity to look at Malaysia's defence strengths and weaknesses.


"We do not need completely new equipment, we have got some upgrades. Basically at the end of the day we have to leave it to the air force as the end user to advise me what is the best way to upgrade and whatever we have disclosed because of the MH370 incident can be overcome," he added.

Hishammuddin added that the four-day biennial DSA was a highly successful event in the total number of exhibitors, visitors, commercial deals inked and the issues discussed.

"In the first three days, DSA 2014 received more than 30,000 trade visitors from more than 70 countries even with the total figure of the last four days tabulated. The figure indicates an upward trend in terms of visitors from last year," said Hishammuddin.

Hishammuddin pointed out that DSA 2013 had received 26,980 trade visitors from 66 countries, adding that throughout the week, he received 13 courtesy calls from counterparts.

"Pertinent issues related to defence and security were discussed in the meetings especially with greater bilateral cooperation and regional commitment," Hishamuddin added.

Chinese MH370 relatives protest at Malaysian embassy