Malaysia Joint Defence Program MJDP
The last major development in the history of Australia’s close defence relationship with Malaysia occurred in 1992 with the signing of the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program (MAJDP), aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the bi-lateral defence relationship between Malaysia and Australia. Under the program, ADF officers have the opportunity of undertaking long-term attachments with the MAF while similar numbers of Malaysian officers are attached to ADF Units. Significant numbers of MAF personnel also undertake military training courses in Australia at institutions such as Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Australian Command and Staff College, Australian Defence Force Academy and the Duntroon Royal Military College while Australian officers attend the Maktab Turus Angkatan Tentera. Australia and Malaysia also conduct frequent bi-lateral exercises to improve interoperability, promote understanding of each other’s unique operational environments and to strengthen the military skills and capabilities of both forces.
In Kuala Lumpur on 22 November 2015, Australia and Malaysia announced a Joint Declaration of Strategic Partnership. Recognising that 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic presence in Malaysia, looking forward to the 60th anniversary of Australia – Malaysia diplomatic relations in 2017 and acknowledging the enduring nature of our bilateral ties, the Prime Ministers have agreed to elevate the relationship to a Strategic Partnership.
Political and Strategic Engagement
The Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of promoting a rules-based international order, respect for international law, ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce. They expressed concerns about recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea which have eroded trust and confidence and increased tensions. They agreed on the critical importance of refraining from the use or threat of force, of exercising self-restraint and avoiding actions that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability in the South China Sea. They emphasised that disputes should be settled through peaceful means, in accordance with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They stressed the need to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety and urged the early establishment of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Collaboration in Defence and Security
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program which provide a sound basis for ongoing collaboration on defence matters. They underscored their support for United Nations’ efforts towards global peace through the Joint Malaysia-Australian Peacekeeping Training Initiative.
The Prime Ministers expressed grave concern at the rise of non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, violent extremism, radicalisation, foreign terrorist fighters and cyber security challenges. The Prime Ministers praised the existing excellent cooperation between Australian and Malaysian police, maritime and border authorities and agreed to strengthen further security cooperation, including through enhanced exchange of intelligence and analysis. The Prime Ministers directed the Joint Working Group on Transnational Crime to enhance engagement under the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Transnational Crime.
In declaring a strategic partnership between Australia and Malaysia, the Prime Ministers pledged their commitment to deepening cooperation and mutual understanding in order to contribute to the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, and to strengthen further the bilateral relationship.