KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) today presented its report card on accomplishments and initiatives implemented throughout 2019 to ensure the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is in the best position to safeguard national security and sovereignty.
The 19-page report outlined four main cores, namely constructing a credible ATM, ensuring the country’s defence is free from external threats, upholding financial and procurement management integrity, and preserving the wellbeing of ATM personnel and veterans.
Year 2019 witnessed the ministry, led by Mohamad Sabu, on December creating new history after it tabled in Parliament a White Paper outlining strategic directions and planning in national defence which was passed by the majority.
To establish a credible ATM, Mindef had undertaken efforts to enhance the readiness of its commands in any mission as well as strengthen national security through integrated operations with foreign agencies.
Mindef also undertook initiatives to strengthen security at the borders via combined and joint operations involving all three branches — Malaysian Army (Army), Royal Malaysian Air Force (RAMF) and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
The Army carried out ‘Op Keris Parang’, ‘Op Jagakawan’, ‘Op Balasah’ and ‘Op Gateway’, while RAMF conducted ‘Op Eye In The Sky’ and RMN undertook ‘Op Trilateral Maritime Patrol’, while ‘Op Pasir’ and ‘Op Pesisir Pantai’ were joint operations by all three branches.
The ATM also upheld the highest level of preparedness through exercise or joint training known as ‘Eks Pahlawan’.
To build a credible military force, it needs stable and sustainable financial allocations, as such the government had increased the allocation to the Ministry of Defence in the budget 2020 from RM13.9 billion (2019) to RM15.6 billion, an increase of 11.92 per cent (RM1.67 billion).
The ministry also reviewed its procurement standard operating procedure (SOP) to enhance transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, based on existing regulations.
Besides that, the government will also increase ATM’s role in the United Nations (UN) peace missions, particularly in the United Nations Interim Force Lebanon (UNIFIL) as well as the continuation of Malaysia’s field hospital operations in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh until 2021.
The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2019 exhibition was considered the best in its organisation history after about RM4 billion worth of contracts and agreements were signed during the exhibition.
Various efforts had been carried out to strengthen the local defence industry including the implementation of five transfer of technology (TOT) programmes and the registration of four defence industry products as intellectual property.
The ministry also established Rahmatan Lil ‘Alamin secretariat under the Armed Forces Religious Corps (KAGAT) in an effort to establish a credible ATM.
To ensure the national defence is free from external threats, Mindef had strengthened the defence and security of Sabah via patrolling activities under the Trilateral Maritime Patrol; Trilateral Air Patrol and Maritime Air Patrol, apart from enhancing cybersecurity through the National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) and Cyber Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA).
Mindef also strengthened defence diplomacy through bi— and multilateral cooperations such as Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM Plus, as well as exercises like Eks Tiger Strike between Malaysia and the United States.
To ensure the wellbeing of ATM personnel and veterans, the government allocated RM50 million to maintain and upgrade the Armed Forces Family Homes (RKAT), involving 2,062 units.
According to the report card, the ministry also established Yayasan Amanah ATM to provide education and welfare aid to its personnel and pensioners and associations.
They included RM500,500 special assistance to the ATM Veteran Association; one-off assistance of RM500 to the recipients of Pingat Jasa Malaysia that benefited 68,804 individuals totalling RM34,402 million; and RM250 ‘Bantuan Harapan Negara’ that was paid as a one-off to 146,316 ATM veterans amounting to RM73,517 million.
Meanwhile, the Tabung Pahlawan 2019 campaign also recorded a new history after it collected nearly RM110 million, surpassing the initial target of RM6 million.
The report card also stated Mindef’s effort to create strategic collaboration between Armed Forces Ex-Servicemen Affairs Corporation (Perhebat) and government-linked companies, private entities and industries which saw 548 veterans were hired by private firms and 28 companies/employers under [email protected] platform. — Bernama