(May 7): Washington has approved new multi-million-dollar missile sales to Indonesia and Malaysia this week, reports current affairs magazine The Diplomat.
American laws require that sales of arms to foreign countries must first be approved by its Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which acts as an intermediary between foreign governments and arms contractors.
The Diplomat said the approvals were part of a set of five deals worth some US$3.5 billion cleared for US allies and partners in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, including air-to-air missiles worth US$21 million (RM74 million) for Malaysia.
The Indonesian sale cost some US$47 million, involving the short-range air-to-air AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder missiles and associated equipment and logistical support.
The report quoted a statement by DSCA referring Malaysia as a “key partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in Southeast Asia”.
US-Malaysia ties are at their best in decades under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s stewardship, with President Barack Obama becoming the first US president to visit Malaysia in 2014 since Lyndon Johnson in 1966.
Malaysia is also regarded an important ally as the US seeks to finalise the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement involving 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Najib is also expected to visit the US later this year. – The Malaysian Insider