Saturday, February 14, 2009


I have been handed some broachers of the military hardwares manufactured indigenously by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I am surprised at the range of military hardwares that Iran is capable of manufacturing. From the description given for each of the hardware, it leaves little doubt in one's mind that the technology used by the Iranians and the superiority of the product, is no different from its western and US rivals. I then when to Youtube and click 'Iran Defence Industry', and wasn't I surprise to view videos of the extensiveness of Iran's defence products for its Army, Navy and Air Force.

The history of Iran's defence industry is only recent i.e. immediately after the fall of Emperor Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Iran on Febuary 11, 1979 by an Islamic revolution led by popular spiritual leader Ayotullah Khomeni. During the Shah's regime, virtually all of Iran's defence needs were supplied by the US and its western allies. When Shah was ousted and fell out of grace, the US and its western allies imposed an economic and international arms embargo on Iran. Without the weapon it needs and continued maintenance of its fleet of US and European manufactured military hardwares, Iran was virtually placed on a defensive against any potential invader.

Realising the predicament that Iran was faced with in equipping its military forces against an invader, Iran then decided to go ahead quickly to develop and strengthen its capability and capacity to manufacture its own military defence requirement; thus the birth of a full fledge Iranian Defence Industry with full and unbridled state support. It then saw the emergence of a number of defence research and development establishments, recruiting hundreds if not thousands of scientist and researchers of various disciplines with a determination to build up the country's defence industry, with assistance from friendly countries, notably Russia.

It has been almost three decades now, and Iran can proudly stand-up as having the full capacity to indigenously manufacture its entire defence needs; be they Army, Air Force and Navy defence requirements, that are equally competitive, if not better than those of other established defence manufacturers.

Despite the advancement made by Iran, Malaysia a proclaimed Islamic state has yet to approach Iran for its defence needs. I was told that Malaysia will be placed 'under the radar screen of the US' if she decides to have any linkages with Iranian defence industry. I am not surprised by this, because wasn't the Iranians defence exhibitors told to vacate their stalls during the 2008 Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition held in Kuala Lumpur? For whatever reasons the organizors gave for Iran's eviction from the exhibition, the fingers are pointed at the US. It is indeed a shame for Malaysia as a sovereign state, to be humbled by the US, and what can we do about it? Virtually nothing. And for how much longer are we to remain subservient to the US?

We have the lessons of Iran to learn, but are we learning from it? My answer is NO. Why NO, because one only need to look around to see what have we really produced indigenously in terms of meeting the country's defence needs.

Is there a national strategic defence manufacturing plan for the country? Or is the government really serious in wanting to assist the local defence industry in the manner that the Iranian's did for its defence industry after the fall of the Shah regime? What are our priorities in defence manufacturing? Building a boat or a gun or an airplane? There are certainly endless questions to be asked and this can only be answered if the country is serious about wanting to develop its defence industry, with the brains that it has. And the country seriously does not lack the brains.

Therefore, for as long as we remain a net importer of our defence needs, we can do absolutely nothing but to have some white man walking the corridors of Mindef, making millions in profits out of our country's defence contracts; and at the same time generously giving 'hand-outs' to those in power. What we are able to achieve therefore are experts as profiteering, and not manufacturers of defence equipments.

Isn't this not a sad story for Malaysia, and 2020 is just 11 years away and when my grandson will attain his 23 birthday.

Posted at 5.10 pm Feb 14, 2009


maurice said...

We have to think in geopolitical terms in order to ensure the survivality and prosperity of our country.

Interests of the superpowers and regional players need to be taken into account to ensure the continued economic prosperity of our country.

About our defence industry, the government need to rethink the present model of allowing the private sector to take the lead.

The private sector has failed the country because we have not seen even one simple defence equipment been produced by any one of them after so many years of government support.

This means they are not interested to invest money in R&D that would eat into their profit.

The defence industries must go back to the government where certain critical defence weapon and equipment could be properly planned,funded and developed.

Iran and Singapore are good models to emulate.It is never too late to start all over again.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Maurice,

You are absolutely right on every point. I have read about the way Singapore started her defence industry, and today she leads in this region. It is a good model to learn, and despite the many visits by our leaders (military and civilians), nothing has happened. I suppose they all wore blinkers during the visit.

Luke said...


I am interested in the defence industry, do you where i can find a job in it. Or how can i even start one ?