: Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the ''military diplomacy'' policy between Malaysia and foreign countries has helped strengthen the country''s position in the eyes of the world, as well as facilitating Malaysia to obtain assistance if needed.
Citing the time when country was facing challenging issues related to missing flight MH370, Hishammuddin said as many as 26 countries came forward to help in the search for the plane, including providing a variety of assets such advanced aircraft like the Poseidon and P-3 Orion owned by the US and Illusion from China .
"Hence, there is no reason to (ignore military diplomacy), and with the direction the Defence Ministry is taking, we should continue to keep it that way. The advantages (military diplomacy), as I see, is that not many countries possess the strength that we have," he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby after attending the Dewan Negara sitting today.
Hishammuddin, who is also the Minister of Special Functions in the Prime Minister''s Department, said this when asked to comment on the strength of the country''s military compared with other countries, particularly in view of the uncertain global situation.
Earlier, when replying to Senator Datuk Mohd Salim Sharif, he said the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2017 had successfully generated revenue of RM340 million in the tourism sector with an estimated RM5,000 expenditure, per person, of international visitors and RM1,000 for local visitors.
He said LIMA 2017 also made history when it was recognised as the biggest and best LIMA exhibition to date and attracted 555 exhibitors from 36 countries, including nine new countries, compared to 512 exhibitors during LIMA 2015.
"The exhibition also recorded a total of 40,280 trade visitors and 236,000 public visitors on the first three days," he said when replying to Mohd Salim who asked the ministry to state the success achieved during LIMA 2017.
He said several factors would continue to be emphasised to ensure that it would stay as the leading exhibition in the future, and the defence and aerospace segments would remain as the core of the exhibition.
"There will be more cooperation between the Defence Ministry and MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), on opportunities in commercial sector apart from promotional activities with international industry players in efforts to attract more trade visitors," he said.
In the meantime, he said his upcoming visit to Beijing would witness the signing of an agreement for the construction of four units of Littoral Mission Ships (LMS), which would be witnessed by himself and his Chinese counterpart, General Chang Wanquan.
"LMS is one of navy''s the ''15-to-5 Fleet Transformation'' (initiative aims to reduce its current 15 classes of vessels to just five), and once the LMS agreement is signed and sealed, they would be built in Malaysia and two in China," he said, adding that the ministry would then focus on the construction of Multi-Role Support Ships (MRSS) next.