Defence Ministry Upholds ‘Palm Oil First Call’ in Proposed Jet Buy Deals with France
by Sangeetha Amarthalingam (The Edge Markets) The proposed palm biodiesel ban by the European Union (EU) parliament has bearings on negotiations on Malaysia’s plan to buy multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) from Europe.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein indicated a bilateral relationship involved all aspects and that it cannot be detached from economic considerations.
“However, negotiations for defence assets take years, so the jets the French are looking at (while) competing with Britain; they have to take into consideration (our views). We don’t have to decide on the MRCA requirement now. …”
Malaysia plans to replace its knackered Russian MiG-29 fighters by purchasing up to 18 jets. It is considering options, including France’s Dassault Aviation SA, which makes Rafale jets at a cost of about US$2 billion, and Eurofighter Typhoon, manufactured by a consortium comprising Airbus SE, Alenia Aermachhi SA, and United Kingdom-based BAE Systems Plc.
On Tuesday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said talks on palm oil discrimination would have to be resolved first, before the reinitiated EU-Malaysia free trade agreement (FTA) takes off. READ MORE