China has offered Malaysia a regional counter-intelligence center in Johor, which comes equipped with a radar surveillance and missiles.

According to a Malaysian government official, who spoke to reporters anonymously, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong spoke on the topic of the radar and missile system when they met to break the ground for the East Coast Rail Link project in Kuantan on Wednesday (9 August).

Malaysian news reports that China is offering Malaysia up to 12 units of the AR3 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), which defense experts say is predominantly a surface-to-surface missile system.

The Malaysian Insight, a Kuala Lumpur-based news website, had reported that China would offer Malaysia up to 12 units of the AR3 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) at the ceremony. Experts state that China’s AR3 artillery rocket system is primarily used to engage remote strategic targets like command centres, and is capable of launching conventional rockets as well as guided missiles with a range of up to 280km.

The offer reflects the deepening ties between Malaysia and China at defense and trade level, which some opposition members in Malaysia have expressed reservations about.

Malaysian officials have confirmed that they are considering the Chinese offer, adding that a firm decision would only be made when Prime Minister Najib Razak meets with Chinese president Xi Jinping. They added that Mr Najib will not refuse China’s offers to boost Malaysia’s security capabilities if the financial assistance to take on these projects is attractive.

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