KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — The application to increase the defence budget for 2023 to 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will facilitate planning for asset acquisition, said Senior Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

However, he said it depends entirely on the state of the country’s economy and discussions with the Ministry of Finance and agencies responsible for looking at the total amount available for national development.

“There is an argument that the allocation requested by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) is large but the return to the national economy is not much,” he said.

He said this in a press conference after visiting Sekolah Kebangsaan Kementah and the Rumah Keluarga Malaysia Angkatan Tentera in Desa Tun Hussein Onn, here today.

Hishammuddin said he hoped that the Defence Industry Policy which will be launched soon could prove that the ministry is capable of bringing returns to the national economy.

“Through the policy, we will be able to bring economic returns to help us prove to the relevant ministries and financial agencies that the allocation for Mindef is not in vain.

“In addition to maintaining the stability, security and sovereignty of the country, we are also able to improve the national economy,” he said.

Hishammuddin commented on the statement by the Chief of Defence Force Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang yesterday that the allocation for national defence needs to be increased to 1.5 per cent of GDP compared to the one per cent received through this year’s budget. — Bernama