SHAH ALAM: In the run-up to the unveiling of the 2014 budget, I was asked for my thoughts on the allocation for the Defence Ministry by a local newspaper. I was asked whether the defence budget for 2014 will be increased following the Lahad Datu incident.
I answered that despite the rhetoric I expected only a slight increase in the operating expenditure with cuts to the development expenditure.
Guess what? When Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak unveiled the 2014 Budget – a total of RM264.2 billion (RM217.7 billion is for operating expenditure while RM46.5 billion is for development expenditure) he did just that -increased the management expenditure and reduced the development allocation!.
For 2014, the Defence Ministry got RM16.1 billion – RM13.355 billion as operating expenditure (OE) and RM2.745 billion for development costs (DE)- some RM849 million higher compared to the budget in 2013 which was RM15.251 (RM11.970 billion for operating costs and RM3.281 billion for development.
This means the development expenditure for 2014 has been reduced by RM536 million. The OE which pays for everything from salaries to fuel, parts and maintenance got a whopping increase by RM1.385 billion.
As usual the budget document however did not revealed much in terms of new assets expected to be procured. In his budget speech, Najib did gave a clue saying “In addition, the Government will continue to enhance national security of our territorial waters and borders by strengthening surveillance and upgrading defence equipment. This includes the purchase of six offshore patrol vessels; four cargo aircraft and support equipment; as well as armoured vehicles with an allocation of RM2.4 billion.”
There is nothing new on the list, the OPVs are of course the SGPV/LCS/Laksamana class ships and the four cargo aircraft and support equipment are the Airbus A400M Atlas. As for the armoured vehicles, I am not sure if its only for the AV8. Perhaps it include funds for the Condor Replacement Programme.
As for the surveillance programme, it is likely that the AEW programme will be funded although I don’t expect any confirmation soon. What ever it is I expect some of the things to be the highlight of DSA 2014 next April.
Do note that the lack of a detail procurement list in the budget allow for a large wriggle room for “urgent” purchases ranging from X-band satellite transponders to attack helicopters.
As for the police, Najib in his speech said the Government will allocate a sum of RM8.8 billion to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and RM13.2 billion to the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) to reduce crime and enhance military preparedness.
“To further strengthen the police force, the Government will build and upgrade the Police Headquarters, District Police Headquarters and staff quarters involving an allocation of RM128 million. The sum includes the construction of a new IPD in Pasir Mas, Kota Setar, Johor Bahru Selatan, Sipitang and Nusajaya as well as building a new Police Station in Pengerang, Tongod and Country Homes Rawang.
“In the fight against serious crime, the Government has allocated RM200 million to equip PDRM with the latest tools and equipment such as firearms, ammunition, bulletproof vests, narcotic detectors, biometric systems and forensic vehicles. The Government also will provide 496 closed-circuit cameras (CCTV) in 25 local authorities involving an allocation of RM20 million.
“In addition to the 1,000 motorcycles purchased this year for the Police Motorcycle Patrol Unit, the Government has agreed to procure an additional 800 motorcycles with an allocation of RM20 million this year. The Government will also procure an additional 200 motorcycles bringing it to a total of 2,000 motorcycles for 2 years.
“The armed intrusion in Lahad Datu is a black mark for Malaysia. The sacrifices and the patriotic deeds of the armed forces in defending the nation is highly appreciated. What is important is that we will not allow even an inch of our land to be taken away by anyone. Sabah will remain with Malaysia forever.
“To safeguard our territorial waters from foreign threat, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak, the Government established the East Coast Special Security Area (ESSCOM) early this year. To further strengthen ESSCOM operations, the Government will allocate a sum of RM75 million for 2014.
“In addition, the Government will continue to enhance national security of our territorial waters and borders by strengthening surveillance and upgrading defence equipment. This includes the purchase of six offshore patrol vessels; four cargo aircraft and support equipment; as well as armoured vehicles with an allocation of RM2.4 billion.
“The Government is concerned about the welfare of armed forces personnel and veterans. In recognition of their contribution to the nation, the Government will allocate RM48 million to cater for the welfare of 20,000 ATM veterans, including health payments, ex-gratia and education.
“In addition, a total of RM202 million will be allocated to build and refurbish ATM quarters. The Government will also provide school bus services for the children of military personnel to replace the army trucks.”
Thanks to FareedLHS for the links.