Last week, Malaysia completed its hosting of a land exercise with several other regional states.
From September 19 to 29, Malaysia had hosted the 26th iteration of Exercise Suman Warrior, a command post exercise involving the five countries which are part of the Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA) – Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. The name “Suman” is an acronym from the names of the five countries.
The FPDA was formed in 1971 to help defend Singapore and Malaysia after their independence following the withdrawal of British forces east of Suez, making it the longest standing multilateral security arrangement in Southeast Asia today.
Exercise Suman Warrior is meant to enhance interoperability and provide a platform for facilitating more professional exchanges among the various militaries. This year’s exercise, held at the Malaysian Army Wargaming Center in Gemas and organized by the Army First Brigade’s headquarters, involved around 180 personnel from all five countries.
According to the New Straits Times, Brigadier General Sofi Mohd Sofi Md Lepi, who headed this year’s exercise on the Malaysian side, said that this year’s exercises, which focused on offensive and defensive formation operations, would be very useful in improving the skills of FPDA commanders, especially at the lower levels.
Lieutenant Colonel Wong Shi Ming, the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment, who led the delegation of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) this year, said that the exercise was a valuable platform to enhance interactions and build relationships.
“Exercise Suman Warrior is a valuable platform for enhancing professional military interactions among the FPDA countries,” he said according to a statement by Singapore’s defense ministry (MINDEF).
“The exercise offers an excellent opportunity to build professional networks and personal friendships. We have learnt a lot from our interactions with the other FPDA armed forces. Most importantly, we have made many good friends here, and will take with us many wonderful memories of the two weeks that we spent with our counterparts from FPDA.”