The declining trend in Malaysia’s defense outlay was halted in 2013. That year, Malaysia was shocked when China staged a naval exercise around James Shoal, a 72-foot deep underwater bank lying 55 nautical miles (nm) off the Malaysian Borneo coast. It was also in 2013 that China Coast Guard ships started to anchor at South Luconia Shoal, an oil-rich area lying 70 nm off Borneo. Each of Malaysia’s armed services face challenges in securing their areas of Malaysia’s claimed maritime territory with their current assets.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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