LANGKAWI: Asean countries must work together for the region to get a bigger slice of the defence industry "pie".
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today the Asean Defence Industry Collaboration was important if the region was to do this.
"I think we should have an Asean standard (of products). We have a bigger market space, I reckon, and I would like to urge Asean nations to converge in translating the Asean Defence Industry Collaboration (ideals) because the total revenue of this industry will amount to about US$100 bilion (RM442 billion) by 2030.
"Malaysia (and other Asean nations) have to take the opportunity to participate in an industry collaboration," he told reporters after the launching of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Zahid said with the collaboration between Asean nations in place, there could be opportunities for arrangements which would benefit Asean nations and "upgrade" them.
"Asean should not be regarded merely as end users, but upgraded to 'friendly collaborators' when it comes to the defence industry. We (Malaysia produces) the M4 (carbines for Colt) and we are producing some components (for aircraft)... we have been sharing not only in terms of transfer of technology but also transfer of knowledge.
"We (Home Ministry) are collaborating closely with Mindef (Defence Ministry) as we do not and should not be left behind in the defence and security industries... we would like to participate and grow along with these industries," he said.
On this year's edition of Lima, Zahid said the exhibition had come a long way from when it first began in 1991 when there were only 99 exhibitors, to more than 500 this year.
"It is estimated that there will be more than RM9 billion (in deals signed at Lima) this year... this is a great achievement and I am very proud. This is where the Asean Defence Collaboration can also benefit, and with the RM26 billion allocated under the 11th Malaysia Plan, I hope the armed forces, police and other security agencies will get the attention they deserve from the defence and security industries' development following this Lima," he said.