'A man of his words'

20 Jan 2024 01:00pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Original image by Bernama, edited on Canva
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Original image by Bernama, edited on Canva

ON Jan 9 last year, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin delivered his 2024 New Year Message to convey his plans, direction and wishes in an effort to empower his ministry.

In his mandate, he focused on five pillars of how the matter will be realised.

First, ensure that the national defence system is always ready, respected by friends and enemies.

Second, develop and update more up-to-date defense planning.

Third, ensure that aspects of welfare and capacity development receive attention.

Fourth, fostering patriotism as the country's best defence and fifth, continuing to make the country a catalyst for universal peace.

Also highlighted was the new corporate image of the Defence Ministry, reflecting towards modernisation that always practices common values such as integrity, efficiency and professionalism in carrying out responsibilities.

In the keynote speech, he emphasised that he would not tolerate cases of abuse of power, misappropriation and waste of public money and would impose appropriate actions and punishments on those involved.

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A congratulatory message should indeed be given to him for having given the vision and mission of the newly led ministry.

However, it should be remembered that the entrusted task is not something to be taken lightly.

In early 2024, the Defence Ministry should focus more on matters that have been overdue for implementation.

We have to accept that there may be some plans that cannot be made into reality.

The reason why that happens is mainly due to constraints from the country's financial point of view or involving foreign countries that have their own policies.

However, there are programmes or policies that only involve players in the country and do not require large expenditures.

Among the things that every Defence Minister has emphasised for a long time is the ability and capability of defence to preserve national sovereignty as outlined in the Defence White Paper (KPP) by developing local defense-related industries.

The failure of the development of the local defence industry to meet its development objectives can be accurately measured through several indicators.

For example, the Defence Industry Blueprint document was drafted in 1990 and revised to see its effectiveness in 2000.

During that period, the Defence Ministry and local industry have been granted 230 offset or technology reciprocity programs with various domestic and foreign firms.

Sadly, only 55 programmes were successfully implemented or 24 per cent. Of course this is an 'F' or fail!

Aware of the weakness, the then Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in 2021 was optimistic that a policy called the National Defence and Security Industry Document (DIPKN) would be introduced in the near future to rectify the situation.

At the end of the same year, then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who had served as Defence Minister (2020 to 2021) stated that DIPKN was expected to be launched within one or two months.

In 2023, the new Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan stated that DIPKN is proposed to be launched by the Prime Minister in May 2023.

Anyway, it seems like a curse on DIPKN, despite Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) exhibition passing with the roar of aircraft engines but DIPKN still did not appear.

Now in 2024, there is a new Defence Minister who also wants to rebrand the ministry to be seen as more committed and professional.

In fact, the new logo of the ministry was also introduced.

Hopefully, the changes can be implemented and DIPKN finally emerges after the four Defence Ministers change.

We don't want to be Pak Maon who is disappointed as in the movie Nasib Do Re Mi.

*Muhammad Fuad Mat Noor is a defence analyst and has received the best journalist award from the Defence Ministry in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.