Minister tables defence White Paper in Parliament; Armed Forces to be revamped

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 28, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 28, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The defence White Paper tabled in Dewan Rakyat today aims to revamp the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and transform the country’s defence through more comprehensive means.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said several committees would be formed by the government in order to ensure the reform of Malaysia’s defence industry is achieved as planned.

He said the defence White Paper will follow a master plan — the National Defence Investment Plan (3PN), which includes direction and planning for ATM’s capacity development plans, defense capacity framework and the drafting of the National Defense Industry Policy.

“Various agencies will be created to look into the Defense Investment Committee at the national level, and the Defense Policy and Reform Committee at the Ministry level.

“The government also recognises the active role of the Special Select Committee on Defense and Domestic Affairs by the Dewan Rakyat as a proactive step towards achieving the highest level of governance in the country’s spending and procurement (for the defense industry),” he told Parliament this morning.

The Defence Investment Committee will be chaired by the prime minister while the Defense Policy and Reform Committee will be co-chaired by the Defense Ministry’s Chief Secretary and the Armed Forces chief.

Mohamad said the defence White Paper focuses on incorporating science and technology such as optimising computers, cyberspace technology and state-of-the-art systems to ensure a secure, sovereign, and prosperous nation.

“The White Paper mainly details two ATM roles: The role of protecting the national interest, defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity from all threats through the implementation of maritime, air, land and cyber-electric operations.

“The second role is to carry out military operations other than the Military or Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW), assisting public authorities in the enforcement and support of global peace efforts through the United Nation flag,” he said.

The 90 page document, however, lacked details on the value of funding needed, details on assets and other specifics on Malaysian defence.

Former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein (BN - Sembrong) questioned the general information listed in the White Paper.

He said that the White Paper, which was actually given to MPs last week, lacked everything that should be addressed by the country and described it as ATM’s “wishlist”.

“I have no mood to debate this,” he said.

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