If Singapore and Malaysia go to war, which country will emerge victorious?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 12, 2020 05:06 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 12, 2020 05:06 AM

I am answering because I find some of the replies very disappointing. In consideration of which country will do better, the single most important factor are the quality of personnel and that I will leave to the last.

My first consideration is the global firepower index. This compares Malaysia with Singapore
Let’s first dispense with the very broad index of Singapore being #64 and Malaysia being #34. If we assume this rating to be rubbish, then we should also rubbish the fact that the USA, Russia and China are #1, #2 and #3 respectively. So if Singapore at #64 could beat Malaysia at #34, then it is also very possible that Malaysia at #34 could beat China at #3.

Looking into the details on which the index is based. Singapore, in nearly every category, has more military assets than Malaysia and also a substantially larger reserve manpower. But if all this is the case, then how did Singapore get to be so much lower in the index than Malaysia?

My opinion is that some of the reasons why Malaysia is much higher than Singapore is that it has a large oil reserve and is also a producer of petroleum. This means that assuming Malaysia has access to refining capabilities, Malaysian military assets will remain mobile for as long as it takes. Singapore without oil reserves or oil wells is severely constrained in how it applies its motorized assets. This would affect the ratings but in the real world it is inconceivable that Singapore which spends more on its defense than Malaysia, does not buy oil to run the assets it buys.

Another reason why Singapore is MUCH lower is because Singapore itself is basically indefensible. So the natural strategy on the Singapore side is to not fight on Singapore itself, but this is such an obvious strategy and it has been around for so long that I would be very surprised if the Malaysian army had no counter to this.

Let’s look into the equipment now. The RMAF at 42 fighters will be no match for the RSAF’s 119 fighters. In terms of equipment, the RMAF SU-30 may prove to be better than the RSAF’s F-15’s and F-16’s but the large discrepancy in fighter numbers would give Singapore the air. Navy wise although the RMN has more ships, most of them are patrol craft and the RSN has more of the serious craft e.g. 6 sub’s to 2 Malaysian subs. 6 Frigates to Malaysia’s 2. So naval wise, Singapore would also have the edge. As for Armor and Artillery, Singapore totally outnumbers Malaysia in this area.

The Malaysians would be foolish to engage Singapore head on. My 2 cents worth is that the Malaysian army would not engage Singapore head on but rather would capitalize on Singapore’s weaknesses e.g. its size.

Now for the most important part. The people. Let me now introduce to you

Lta Adnan Saidi. His deeds can best be described by this entry

Lt. Adnan bin Saidi

From wikipedia Adnan Saidi ,

“Adnan led a 42-strong platoon from the Malay Regiment in the defence of Singapore against the invading Japanese. The soldiers fought at the Battle of Pasir Panjang, at Pasir Panjang Ridge in the Bukit Chandu (Opium Hill) area on 12–14 February 1942. Although heavily outnumbered, Adnan refused to surrender and urged his men to fight until the end. They held off the Japanese for two days amid heavy enemy shelling and shortages of food and ammunition. Adnan was shot but carried on fighting until he succumbed to his injury. After the battle was lost, the Japanese soldiers tied him to a cherry tree and repeatedly bayoneted him to death.”

Lta Adnan and his platoon remain perhaps the only group of people who fought the enemy face to face and died in defense of Singapore. If in any war involving Singapore, there are others who rise to their call of duty (!) with as much valour and sacrifice as Lta Adnan and his platoon, then that is a good thing. But in a conflict between Singapore and Malaysia, the mettle of the Malay soldier has already been proven and the SAF is still untried in war. So in a conflict between Malaysia and Singapore, who would win? The side with more heart.

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