KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — The Ministry of Defence has received an increase in allocation at RM15.86 billion as announced in the 2021 Budget which clearly demonstrates the government’s deep commitment to national defence priorities.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that this is an increase of 1.8 per cent or RM280 million compared with the previous year’s RM15.58 billion.

He said that this was due to the uncertain security environment as well as non-traditional security threats. These two factors require a high level of readiness of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

He added that a significant increase was the allocation for development expenditure (DE) at RM4.50 billion, an increase of RM1.42 billion or 46.1 per cent.

“The allocation for operating expenditure (OE) is RM11.35 billion, a drop of RM1.14 billion or 9.1 per cent.

“This reduction is due to the large increase in DE allocations for maintenance and upgrading of key assets of the MAF to ensure its readiness is always at the highest level,” he said. 

He was referring to the 2021 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, themed ‘Teguh Kita, Menang Bersama’ (Resilient as One, Together We Triumph), involving an allocation of RM322.5 billion, the highest ever recorded.

For this budget, he said that his ministry will focus on two main issues, namely, team capacity building and readiness, and the welfare of MAF personnel and veterans.

The allocation includes the acquisition of new assets (RM1.6 billion), maintenance of key assets (RM2.3 billion) and construction of almost 1,000 units of Armed Forces Family Housing (RKAT) (RM500 million).

“Another RM105.3 million will be allocated to the MAF Veterans Affairs Department (JHEV) to look after the welfare of the veterans, entrepreneurship training programmes for veterans by Armed Forces Affairs Corporation (Perhebat) (RM30 million) and RM300 special financial assistance for both pensionable and non-pensionable veterans,” he said.

At the same time, he said that the 2021 Budget also took into account the role of the MAF in dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19 and ‘Ops Benteng’, involving the integrated work of security agencies in controlling the country’s borders.

Apart from that, he said that the ministry was also given part of the RM27 million allocated by the government to cyber security to increase the country’s cyber security control. — Bernama