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Monday November 5, 2007
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a licence to manufacture M4 carbine assault rifles locally and the potential to export them to other countries in the future, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
We are buying the firearms from the United States but have the licence to produce them now through a local company, he said yesterday.
Najib, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said they decided to go for the United States-made M4 Carbine as the Steyr rifle had problems because of its limited research and development technology. The Steyrs have been used for 15 years.
The M4 Carbines are more suitable, effective and have extra capacity compared with the Steyrs.
We took this decision as we want to enable our soldiers to be soldiers of the future, equipped with the latest modern technology, he said during question time with student leaders after closing the Overseas Umno Club's leadership course.
The US Congress, he said, had approved the sale of the rifles, which should be delivered in the near future.
Last year, Najib had presented a letter of intent to SME Ordnance Sdn Bhd (SMEO) for the procurement of 14,000 rifles in a RM70mil deal.
SMEO had signed a contract with Colt Defence LLC for the weapons.
While it was not practical to produce all military needs locally, Najib said the country was doing well as it was producing its own Offshore Patrol Vessels and was in the process of producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) locally.
UAVs are the way forward in war tactics and many armies are using them as this will help reduce the number of casualties, he added.
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