Budget 2023: Don't be stingy at the cost of national security, experts say

27 Sep 2022 06:00pm
Military tanker. Photo: Kuala Lumpur Command Control Centre’s Facebook page
Military tanker. Photo: Kuala Lumpur Command Control Centre’s Facebook page

SHAH ALAM – With Budget 2023 expected to be tabled in less than 10 days, experts advise the government to not be stingy in giving allocations for national defence assets.

Defence Analyst Zaki Salleh suggested that the government should give at least an additional RM2 billion compared to the previous budget in order to purchase national assets meant to elevate the defence systems in the country.

"Last year, RM16 billion were allocated and this time at least RM18 or RM20 billion should be given.

"The amount can also be used in the maritime sector by increasing and preparing their assets," he told Sinar Daily.

When asked about the defence team’s existing assets and the issue of the military tankers which broke down just before National Day celebration last month, Zaki said the incident should not be taken as an indicator that the national assets were in dire straits.

"In fact, the immediate action of the military maintenance team to send a repair vehicle to immediately tow the tank off the highway is also part of the same measures that will be taken during operations or battles," he said.

Last month, two separate incidents saw military tankers broke down which sparked panic among the people over the state of the nation’s assets and if real security threats took place in the nation.

Meanwhile, University of Malaya Senior Lecturer of International and Strategic Studies Dr K S Balakrishnan said the national defence needed more equipment as 70 per cent of their assets such as tanks, ships, and aircraft were old.

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Such situations, he said, could weaken the defence system.

"Our readiness on assets is not good enough and the government need to work in upgrading the equipment," he said.

Asked on his thoughts regarding budget allocations for national defence, Balakrishnan predicted lesser amount would be allocated due to the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15) where the country would be more focused on economy recovery, development and expenditures.

Yesterday, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil reminded the Defence Minister that it would "not be business as usual" after the Littoral Combat Ship scandal and the army tank breakdown issue.

He said this was not something to discuss lightly as it had happened before the eyes of the people.

"This is not something to discuss lightly because it also drew the attention of the world on what happened in Malaysia that day (National Day)," he said.