KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The formation of the Defence Investment Committee is intended to liberate, expand and spur innovation in the nation’s defence industry, said Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong.
The formation of the committee is listed among the major reforms under the defence White Paper (DWP), which sets the direction for the nation’s defence and security over the next 10-years.
Liew said the committee, which will be created at the national level and chaired by the prime minister, would allow local defence corporations to engage in the market more freely.
“They cannot expect that the Defence Ministry would be their sole customer. Our country is not big and they cannot sustain the economies of scale and a sustainable industry if they only sell to the ministry.
“What we want to work on is for other security agencies to also think about the aspect of investment. The defence industry must also consider dual-use.
‘’What I meant by dual-use is that besides selling their wares to the military, perhaps they could also sell the appropriate products to civilians use as well,’’ he said.
Liew also added that the committee will look at issues of commonality among security agencies so that any defence products or innovation can be applied across the board to create economies of scale for the local defence industry.
Liew also stated that the local defence industry possesses a lot of “agents”, referring to the marketers, but lacks innovation.
Liew added that the expansion of the local defence industry could also boost employment, especially among veterans for a second career after retiring from the armed forces.
To ensure a strong check and balance mechanism within the defence procurement process, a Defense Policy and Reform Committee will be created and co-chaired by the Defence Ministry’s chief secretary and the Armed Forces’ chief under the DWP.
The DWP also recognises the Special Select Committee on Defense and Domestic Affairs by the Dewan Rakyat as a proactive step towards achieving a higher level of governance.