Friday, September 24, 2021

Armed forces downplay ‘do or die’ video after alarm in Singapore

The army says the exercise was to test the competency of the army's parachute troop units, and that the overlap with Singapore's National Day celebrations was a coincidence.

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The armed forces have sought to allay concerns expressed by Singapore over a video showing Malaysian military forces participating in various drills released in tandem with the republic’s National Day parade on Aug 21, saying it was just a normal military exercise.

The video, which went viral after Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam shared it on his Facebook account on Sunday, had depicted a montage of soldiers as well as an officer briefing them on an operation codenamed Para Predator.

“If we successfully secure these two crossing sites, nothing will stop the Third Combined Armed Division to punch through direct into the heart of the enemy centre of gravity,” the officer says.

“We will face a tough, stubborn enemy. Speed is essential. Bold action! Fight to the last drop of the blood! By hook or by crook, we seize, we secure and we hold the crossing sites. Do or die mission!”

Shanmugam had questioned the timing of the video release, saying it was uploaded “as our NDP was going on”.

“It is about a Malaysian army para troops exercise, to secure two crossing sites.”

He also noted that the commander was speaking in English, and that the video had featured English subtitles.

“The video doesn’t show much by way of tech or platforms or tactics. Instead the focus seems to be on what the commander says the Malaysian army will do to the enemy,” he said.

But a source in the armed forces said the timing of the video had been a coincidence.

“It is nothing more than an exercise formulated to test the competency of the army’s parachute troop units,” it added.

“It is just a normal military exercise, that’s it.”

The source said the video was posted in order to show Malaysians the military’s routine.

“We had three objectives for this exercise,” it said. “Firstly, to assess the competency of the army. Secondly, to create public awareness about military exercises.

“We also released the video because we thought it was good timing for us to share about our military exercises in conjunction with our national independence month.”

On the fact that the officer had spoken in English, the source said the armed forces regularly hold military exercises with other countries.

“They do not only involve the Malaysian armed forces,” it said.

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