KUALA LUMPUR, April 18– The 15th Defence Services Asia 2014 (DSA 2014) Exhibition and Conference which ended here today, was a record-breaker of sorts with the participation of 1,000 companies from 60 countries, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said this year’s four-day exhibition drew more than 30,000 trade visitors, officialy setting a record for the highest number of visitors a DSA event had ever attracted. At DSA 2012, there were 26,980 visitors. “DSA’s ability to be a platform to cement commercial ties is testament to this event being one of the leading exhibitions for defence and security, globally. “The defence industry is indeed, one of the growth industries with strong potential which the government seeks to nurture,” he said in his appreciation speech of the DSA 2014 here today.

Hishammuddin added that the exhibition, which was reckoned as one of the five biggest defence shows worldwide, had witnessed the signing of four memorandi of understanding (MoUs), five letters of acceptance (LoAs), six letters of intent and 10 contracts. Hishammuddin, who is also acting transport minister, drew attention that the DSA gathering had reinforced the belief that keeping good relationships was of paramount importance to the defence and security policy. “Furthermore, the support expressed by my counterparts and fellow governments (over the missing Flight MH370) from all over the world in the past weeks, has boosted my personal resolve in getting to the bottom of this tragic incident. “I believe, with the help of our friends, we will persevere in our search efforts, optimistic that we will find the answer we are looking for,” he said.

Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day. The search and rescue (SAR) mission in the southern Indian Ocean, which entered its 41st day today, joined by 26 countries, has marked the biggest operation the aviation history ever recorded. Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said the defence industry should not be monopolised by any one nation, while barriers to entry into this industry should be lowered and competition encouraged for the greater benefit of all. On a related matter, he reminded everyone that the world had witnessed several occasions where multifold shifts in technology and societal behaviour had created unpredictable threats to the environment globally.

He said the nature of security threats, both traditional and non-traditional had rapidly evolved and further challenged everyone’s ability to find suitable solutions. “The sudden change in dynamics has seen a decline in traditional security threats, while other non-military threats had became more dangerous, demanding every involved party to find a better approach. “These new dynamics and threats demand that we think outside the box, testing ‘blue ocean’ strategies, primarily in the interest of peace and stability of our nation states,” he noted. To move forward, Hishammuddin said, countries including Malaysia had to make sure defence capabilities were up to date in terms of technology and function, where assets were carefully maintained and military personnel equipped with the relevant skill sets. He also noted that DSA 2014 had reminded every participant on the importance of working together, especially inter-agencies, to increase the level of preparedness. “Indeed, I am a strong advocate of tearing down the walls of separation, breaking up silos, and promoting efficient best practices for the greater benefit of the nation. “Let us rise to this self-imoposed challenge in the name of peace and stability,” he said further.

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