Singapore Home Affairs Minister Shanmugam shared on 22 August a video by Malaysian Army that shows a military commander going about taking two crossings using 10 Parachute Brigade. He contextualised the video, saying that video was uploaded while the National Day Parade was ongoing; that the video was voiced in English and subtitled in English.
Naturally, there were many on his post going about how the video is a reminder of that there is always an element of military aggression from our neighbours.
About Operation Para Predator
The main objective of the exercise is to assess the competency of each Leading Parachute Battle Group (LPBG) in Quick Reaction Force (QRF) deployment, and test military commanders’ abilities in regards to leadership, and the ability to command, train, and manage their troops.Malaysian army video during National Day Parade gives Singaporeans anxiety attack
While watching the video, I noticed that the most of the text and maps in the background were blurred out. What was not blurred out, some of these text could be made out. A scenario can be crafted out from these.
The text in the red box sets the scenario an aggressor force capturing small islands off the east coast of Malaysia and launching attacks on to the peninsular. A main attack force will then proceed to capture Kuantan, before reaching the final objective at Putrajaya.
The blue box outlines that Commander’s Intent. The objectives listed are:
- To deny xxx Corps invade peninsular Malaysia
- To deny xxx Corps capture Putrajaya
The yellow box is the general operation plan of 10 Parachute Brigade. A portion of the brigade will be deployed behind enemy lines and at Chenor. Subsequently, the various forces will consolidate at Kuantan. The brigade is expected to hold the critical areas for up to 7 days.
A show of force?
Pukul Habis in 1991 was a joint exercise between Malaysia and Indonesia, parachuting over Johor 20km away from Woodlands. This was conducted while the 26th National Day celebrations was ongoing. The entire Singapore Armed Forces were mobilised, live ammunition were distributed and troops standing by at various military installations preparing to move out. Comparing to Pukul Habis, Para Predator is rather tame.
Para Predator is a defensive military exercise aiming to defend the peninsular from an invasion force that is coming down from South China Sea. There are only two forces in the world that have the capability to do so: USA and China (even though this may be an unproven force in battle). If it is a show of force, it would be to either countries.
What to make out of this?
What I feel is that Shanmugam is making a mountain out of a molehill. He chooses to politicise the video, reminding Singaporeans that Malaysia can always be a military aggressor to Singapore.
Instead, we should take comfort in the fact that Malaysia is considering its defensive position actively. Its defensive positions should allow Singapore more time to react to offensives by a third party and prepare our defences accordingly.