Malaysia seeks Russia’s help in fighter jet maintenance

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 33rd Asean Summit in Singapore. (Bernama pic)

SINGAPORE: Malaysia is seeking Russia’s help to maintain the aircraft bought from Moscow, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

“As you know we have bought a number of Russian aircraft and I think we need to learn more on how to maintain and repair the aircraft,” he said during his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 33rd Asean Summit.

However, further details were not available as the press were asked to leave.

Malaysia is known to have Russian defence equipment.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence has been operating Sukhoi Su-30MKM and MiG-29 fighter jets. It has been reported before that there were issues with regard to maintenance and services.

Its minister Mohamad Sabu had also said before that only four of the 18 Sukhoi jets were able to fly well, while the remaining were under repair.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Russia hope to increase trade between the two countries.

“Relations between Russia and Malaysia have been developing and we have been doing quite well,” said Putin, adding that both countries had seen a significant increase in trade in the first eight months, at over 60%.

“A lot more can still be done and I think a lot more could have been done during the previous years. I am very glad to meet you and to have chance to talk… to have an opportunity with you,” he told Mahathir via a translator.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said the meeting would be a platform to look into the relations with Russia and hoped to increase trade with the country.

“Our trade is quite good but we can do better,” he said.

Last year, Malaysia and Russia celebrated their 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.