SHAH ALAM: Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan today said that there was a possibility that the 2023 defence budget could be lower than the one proposed by the previous government. He said that a lower funding was a possibility as the new budget to be tabled in Parliament this February 24, was based on estimates that the cost of oil was US$80 dollars per barrel. The Ismail Sabri government proposed budget was based on US$100 dollars per barrel.
“The estimate shows that the government will have a lower revenue. However, we will have to wait for the tabling of the budget to see the actual allocation. Maybe we will get the allocations we had asked for recently or not,” he told a press conference after visiting the project of a housing complex meant for members of the Armed Forces at Sungei Besi.
From the proposed 2023 budget report:
The government has allocated some RM35.6 billion to the national security sector – national security and defence – from the 2023 budget which amounted to RM372 billion.
The defence budget is RM17.4 billion; 0.47 per cent of the total budget or 0.98 per cent of the 2021 Malaysian GDP, which is much lower than the 1.5 per cent sought by the Armed Forces shortly before the presentation of the budget.
The operational expenditure for 2023 is RM11.4 billion (RM11.1 billion for 2022) and the development expenditure is RM5.964 billion, an increase of some RM900 million from the 2022 figure of RM5.039 billion. This mean there is an increase of around RM1.3 billion for defence in the 2023 budget. However, in US dollar terms, it is a decrease of around US$200 million.
As for the Home Ministry, it is getting RM18.3 billion with RM13.8 billion (RM13.5 billion in 2022) in OE while the DE has been pegged at RM4.5 billion (RM3.6 billion). MMEA’s DE expenditure for 2023 is RM719 million in 2023 compared to the measly RM103 million it got last year.
He also said the Armed Forces have enough assets in the South China Sea to prevent intrusions by China in the Exclusive Economic Zone off Sarawak and Sabah. He was asked to comment on news reports that China has sent its biggest coast guard ship into the Malaysian and Indonesian EEZ in the SCS.
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