1. First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all delegates and exhibitors to the island of Langkawi and Malaysia for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.
2. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to be here tonight for the 10th Anniversary of LIMA. The development of LIMA is something close to my own heart. I have the distinct honour of being involved in its inaugural staging in 1991 during my first tour as Minister of Defence. In total I have been personally involved in 6 LIMAs’ during my fourteen years and two tours at MINDEF. So you could safely say that I have clocked a lot of flying hours. ( In fighter pilots parlance I am already an ace)
3. It is not by chance or accident that at present LIMA’s is one of the world’s foremost maritime and aerospace events, a focal point for the defence and security community and a mainstay in the global defence calendar. I am happy to note that qualitatively each edition of LIMA is an improvement over the previous. This I believe is the result of meticulous planning, dedication and commitment by the organiser. Congratulations.
4. Despite the less than sterling global economic environment that we are currently in I am encouraged with the ability of LIMA to continue attracting exhibitors, trade visitors and delegates. Although this year saw a decrease of exhibitors as compared to LIMA 07 I was informed that in the maritime component 96 ships participated in the static exhibition, the most of any LIMA. Adding to the above facts and figures nearly 200 members of the press from 14 countries are here to report on LIMA. Their presence speaks volumes about its’ vibrancy.
REGIONAL DEFENCE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK
Ladies and Gentlemen,
5. It is reported that ASEAN’s defence and security spending will exceed USD 350 billion in the years leading up to 2020. Indeed, Asia’s defence market provides many opportunities for manufacturers, as regional governments seek to modernize their Air Forces, Navies, Coast Guards and security agencies.
6. Evidence of this is clear in the signing of multiple defence contracts during this edition of LIMA. I am informed that the total value of business generated at LIMA this year is currently at a very impressive RM 9.8 Billion. I am confident that as we progress deeper into the week, this figure will breach the RM 10 billion mark. Proof that all is well in the defence industry.
7. I am not in any way advocating greater defence spending especially as we adjusts to a world economy still reeling from the global financial meltdown. However, we need to be constantly reminded in this day and age of globalisation that for global security to be enduring it cannot be the work of one nation or a group of nations but it must be the work of every nation acting in concert. Everybody must contribute their fair share in ensuring global peace and security. No nation can afford to abdicate their responsibility, leaving others with the burden of meeting the current global challenges.
8. For Malaysia, the incidences in the Gulf of Aden, where two Malaysian oil tankers were taken hostage, is a prime example why global cooperation is important. In the final analysis global security is interlinked. In a globalised world instability in one country however geographically removed will eventually impact all, only the degrees differ.
9. As a peace loving trading nation Malaysia sees its’ ultimate interest is in consonant with all other peace loving nations, a world where conflicts are replaced by constructive engagements and free trade, where alliances of arms is replaced by alliances to fight global hunger, communicable diseases and the challenges stemming from climate change.
INVESTING IN MALAYSIA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
10. Where the medium and long term outlook for the maritime and aerospace industries is concerned, Malaysia is well positioned to take advantage of any future growth opportunities. Malaysia’s strategic location, competitive costs, skilled and talented work force and first-class infrastructure provides an excellent environment for investment.
11. Malaysia has already shown considerable commitment towards developing and facilitating sustainable partnerships recognising that aviation and maritime infrastructure is critical to national development and global integration, especially in strategic areas such as Original Equipment Manufacturers, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul in support of our defence industry. Our shipyards, are already building for overseas clients especially for the Middle East.
12. My government will continue to be business friendly. We will continue to build on the foundations for growth that has seen the Malaysian aerospace industry more than double in value over this decade, from RM10.8 billion in 2001 to RM 24.5 billion in 2008. This uptrend is set to continue this year, even under extreme pressure from the current state of the world economy; with total industry revenue for 2009 expected to increase by 7% to RM26.2 billion.
13. Within the period of the last decade, Malaysia has managed to attract Foreign Direct Investment from some of the leading manufacturing and MRO companies in the world, namely Honeywell Aerospace Avionics and Spirit Aerosystems, General Electric, Eurocopter, Hamilton Sundstrand, Parker Hannifin, Agusta Westland and AAR to name a few. With their presence here in Malaysia, local companies will have the opportunity to access Tier 1 leadership and with it, work packages from both United States and Europe. A prime example being the contract between CTRM Aero Composites and Spirit Aerosystems.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
14. I would to congratulate the Ministry of Defence, especially its Minister, YB Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on a very successful LIMA ’09. And of course to Vice Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Wahab Nawi and HW LIMA Sdn Bhd, the organisers. I would also like to thank YB Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen and the Ministry of Tourism for their active participation to enhance LIMA ’09 this year.
15. To the 244 delegates whom have taken time off their busy schedules to be in Langkawi this week, thank you. I hope that you will make it a point to enjoy Langkawi and come back, hopefully as tourists. I am sure that Dato Sri Dr Ng will be more than happy to welcome you.
16. My sincerest gratitude to all exhibitors and sponsors that have come out in support of LIMA ’09. And I hope you will continue to do so for the next show.
Ladies and gentlemen, do enjoy the rest of the evening. Thank you.