i am really amazed how they pulled this off.1) Unless China is picking a fight with Malaysia then no fighter escort is necessary like in the case with Japan/Taiwan.
2) You need multiple mid-air refueling to support flights this far. Quantity of refuelers is one of the weaknesses with PLAAF.
Where did these a/c take off from? Woody island or islets from SCC? Because we have not seen any previous news picking up large group of transport planes parked there. Or they take off directly from main land? seems impossible given the distance, was there air refuel operation?
and what would be the tactical value for such a move? being able to air-drop troops in Malaysia?? I did not know PLA had planned such capability as their target.