LANGKAWI, March 29 — The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA’19) is a major event that can position Malaysia as a hub for the defence industry in Southeast Asia, said Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.
“About 20 to 30 years ago, Asean was the main importer of defence products from European countries but now, we want Asean to play a role to have our own technology and defence industry,” he told a joint press conference with Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
He said there is now collaboration between Malaysia and major countries to build defence products domestically.
“We can work together with America, China, Turkey and other countries to explore this industry,” he said.
Earlier, he said a total 42,030 trade visitors from 63 countries had attended LIMA’19 in the last three days.
He confirmed that the contracts signed during the three days amounted to about RM4 billion while business-to-business contracts signed totalled RM500 million.
He said when LIMA started in 1991, there was only one Malaysian exhibitor but this time, there were a total 206 Malaysian exhibitors.
“This showed the growth of the industry and we can expect more demand for expansion into the aerospace industry,” he said.
He said this is the first time the Defence Ministry is working with the Transport Ministry to organise LIMA.
“As the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said, LIMA’19 is the best LIMA and we are proud of this achievement which is made possible by all involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, Loke said they will look into increasing the commercial participation in the exhibition to 50 per cent.
Currently, the percentage of exhibitors comprises those from the commercial sector, at 40 per cent, and those from the defence sector, at 60 per cent.
“We hope to achieve a similar success in the next LIMA in 2021,” he said.
Loke said LIMA brings in tourism for Langkawi every two years while the launch of a direct flight from Langkawi to Phuket by Malindo Air will also bring in tourism to the island.
“An RM5 million International Tourism Promotional Fund (ITPF) was also be launched to promote and market Langkawi as a tourism destination,” he said.