Ask, Godammit, Ask…

PETALING JAYA: We all know our politicians are a strange breed. Every now and then we hear politicians screaming that “the defence budget iwas passed without any debate”. Well this week and last was the time to debate about the defence budget and what happened? No one bothered of course.

You can bet that if next year, they proceed with the MRCA purchase, one smart aleck will start screaming again…sheesh.

Why is it so hard to ask? Again its above my pay grade but below are sample questions for the Defence Minister. It will not be hard the minister to answer the questions, it does not affect operational secrecy. Of course they (MPs) can ask anything but godammit ask, you may get an answer!

1) Why does Mindef needs 15,000 civilian staff?
2) Can you tell us how the defence allocation is divided among the services? Of the amount allocated how much money is for remuneration, operations etc
3) A small number of non-Malays served in the Armed Forces. Has the Armed Forces gotten around to ask them why they join the service?
4) Some 100,000 National Service trainees are selected each year. Why couldnt the Armed Forces conduct a survey to determine why the younger generation shunned the services?

Ex-servicemen with one-day service can also gain under Veteran’s Act
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 08:49:00

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Act will ensure ex-servicemen were better taken care off, even if their service was only for a day, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

He said the Act, which was approved by the Cabinet last Friday and would be tabled at the next Parliament sitting, only required members to register as veterans.

“Even those who served the armed forces for only a day, will also get to enjoy benefits under this Act,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2011 in the Dewan Rakyat today.


–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2185 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Marhalim,

    Let’s face it our BN and Opposition MPs have very little interest on the military and they don’t take the trouble to learn the organization.

    If their understanding of military plannning, operations and logistics and the theory of military deterrence is not that commendable, how do you expect them to contribute to the defence debate?

    Also I have the feeling that if the Opposition Party come to power they will slash the defence budget drastically like what is happening in the UK.

  2. all politician need military training. only then they stop talking nonsense

    Marhalim: Theres no need for military training, just common sense….

  3. I agree with u loreng, it will b 2 late when the outsider will breakthrough our national defence, for them defending the nation is not importance.

  4. Any news on the tender for 155 mm SPH? This is one area where i believe we are very short though. Apart from the ever reliable but antique Mod 56 105 mm otto melara (around 150-200)since 1968, we only have 22 Denel g5 155mm, 12 FH70 (i believe retired already due to barrel exhaustion), 36 Astross (is this considered artilery piece?) and the 8 120mm SPH mortars plus several hundred 81mm mortars.

    Marhalim: Unfortunately, no, Kamal. Thats the reason I was bloody piss off when no MP rose in parliament to ask what things are going to be procured with the 10th MP…..It remained a long shot anyway as the Army has other pressing priorities…

  5. kamal, don’t think the ASTROS can be described as artillery per se. Interesting enough, the 2 ARTHUR’s are operated by the 2nd ASTROS regiment, which gives us a good idea as to what the army intends to use the ASTROS for if bullets start flying for real.

    Marhalim: Astros is considered rocket artillery while guns are called tube artillery…so both are gunners…guns are faster in the reloading department while rockets gives the saturation effect…

  6. Me, I want the MPs to dig up the steyr thing, the lawsuit etc.. nationalize sme with new management personnel who put national interest first..

    Marhalim: If I got the money, bro, i will buy over the company and hand it back to the government though I will insist on being on the BOD not for any reason but to ensure that it remained on the ball. I have met many of the SME personnel and I believed many are patriots …And I will pay when i used the ammo….

    As for investigating the Steyr debacle, it cannot happen at the Dewan Rakyat, only a Royal Commission will be able to dig the truth. Anyhow you cannot point finger at anyone for the debacle its a shared responsibility, from the management, Mindef, EPU and the Old Man himself…

  7. Thats right, the ASTROS does not have the precision capability like the HIMARS but like the Grad is perfect the saturation role. Kamal, certain army units at section level still use 60mm mortars for illumination and fire support. The RUAG MAPAM anti-personnel round is being manufactured under licence by SME.

    Marhalim, you posted a report here some time back about the Auditor General’s report concerning the defective helmets. Seems the helmets were sourced from China. There is a company it seems [Brit technology], based in Melaka, that has exported helmets to Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia, the Middle East, but they didn’t manage to sell anything to MINDEF.

  8. My take is there should not be any defense industry in Malaysia in the first place unless we have economies of scale and defense budget at least twice what we are having now. Pakistan can afford to have their own defense industries as their budget itself is at least USD 5 billion which about 3 times ours (before other foreign assistance), plus due to the very cheap labour rate, they can afford to produce defense article at relatively competitive price either guns or even submarines.

    MArhalim: Well it depends, we can never have economic of scale for everything. And more importantly whether we can fund these factories even if we do not receive export orders. Thats one of the reason Pakistan and Singapore defence budgets are much,much higher than ours, they are not simply buying new things, they are also paying for their defence industries .
    Yes, they have received small orders here and there but they have not yet reached the economics of scale like those in US and in Russia. Nonetheless they are committed to fund these projects for the long term. It does not make economic sense of course, but in the world of strategy it does.
    We also saw the same thing but we tend to be clouded by short-term, affordability is a dirty word here.
    If we do not have the stomach or the capability to fund these projects for the long term then we should stop having wet-dreams about them and purchase our arms abroad and make sure that we reserved funds for the next 30 years so we can maintain them during that period.
    I am all for a huge gun factory in Malaysia if the gun in question is a laser blaster!
    Otherwise a small plant that produce 1,000 guns or even less a year will be enough but the powers that be must be ready to fund it forever…..

  9. Firstly, to Marhalim ,thanks for the blog.

    Secondly, There’s always hope somethings can be changed for the better.

    Thirdly, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and Happy Holidays.

    Take care.

  10. Just got a very interesting book – ‘The Little Iban’ by Linus Lungsong. Has a lot of interesting stuff about the Emergency. These days when there is so much emphasis on technology and words like ‘network centric’, ‘combined arms’, etc, are commonly heard, it is interesting to read about how the army hunted down the CT’s, relying on good infantry skills and good intelligence. The author was the CO of 22 Para Commando Regiment and writes about his training experiences with the Royal Marines, Australian SAS and Kopassus. Highly recommended.

  11. Gentlemen,

    It is interesting to read to all your comment in this blog regards our nation’s protection shield.
    I m here to join u guys and providing my comment and ideas. First of all I m not sure that our comment would be material as I dont think our thought would be a matter enough for people with the decision making power.
    Most decision making made by people without much military knowledge.Though the process usually involve evaluation from military personnel but often this is not the main criteria in choosing the the suitable weaponry assets for the country.My comment probably a bit long so bear with me an i hope u all can participate in making comment to them.
    For me the last time we really serious in procuring suitable weaponry was in late 70s and 80s.Of which i m proud to say we are among the strongest nation in this region at that time. Look back and see our assets at that time.
    Nowadays we tend to chose origin of weapon instead of the weapon itself. We tend to take other factors in deciding the weapon rather the the suitability.
    We probably to conform with the peace time that we achieved therefore we are not taking the needs of strong defense a a crucial matter.
    This is for me the first biggest mistake that we make which can give us gravely consequences in the future.
    It is my personal opinion that if we are in war right now we will be in big trouble. Dont need to go far..just see our surroundings. Our neighbor is either so much sophisticated than us or have greater military numbers that could overwhelm our military if confrontation occurs. And remembers though we have allies such as the FPDA, do we really think this people would go to war with us against our would be ‘enemy’ if they also have political ties with that country? I think not. In the end it is ourselves that we need to depends on.
    Often said that the strength of our military is not to star a war but but to prevent it. I believe it is true. We see that is not need to have big budgets for defense as we are not in war with anybody but this is the wrong thinking that we all have. We have no time to purchase strong military equipment when we are in war as this purchase that time and looking at we are not really a weapon producers we likely to depends on equipment that we already have in our inventory at that time. This time all the wealth of a nation wont be a matter as we cant purchase new weapon but only have to use existing ones to defense our beloved nation.
    Sadly to say looking at our current inventory we are at losing side. We do not have an advantage in number nor the equipment. Certain nation bless with population and patriotic spirit of its people therefore although they were a bit lack with the equipment but their sheer numbers and spirit would add to that advantages. We are not! We are just a small country with less manpower of which with less spirited people and a bit of modernity which is really just not enough.
    Therefore if we really a Malaysia and love our country we must support the development of our military and defends to a level at least make people think 5 times before have war with us.
    It is ok to for gone a bit of budget for the nation modernization to give extra budget for our safety. If we go to war all the money spend for economy, school, people, medication, health, development etc would be waste and no used as all will be destroyed. Therefore what some nations do which proving bigger budget to safeguard this development is kind of good decision. JUst take example of ourselves at home. Among the first we consider in house inventory is the safety. We put good lock, chose go neighborhood, employ security etc. We do this in spite of we know that we have police but we still do as the first responsibility to our safety is..ourselves.
    Therefore I hope if the government people read this please consider our safety and future of this nation more seriously and don t mix it with personal agenda. A lot of other thing we can make mistake and disturb but please not the safety of our nation.

  12. Dear princeofthi3ves,
    Personally, I believe that other country will think not only 5 times but a thousand times if they want to go for a war with Malaysia. The reason is simple, anything that will affect the stability in this region especially when it comes to the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea matter, it would be a global issue. Many world power like the US and the Chinese may have their consent regarding this matter as the Strait of Malacca is one of the world most important water of which one quarter of world trades depends on this very important shipping lanes and it would be the worst nightmare for everyone if anything bad happen to this shipping lanes. In short words, anything that affect the stability in this region will be watched closely by those people.

  13. Prince of Thieves,

    The procuring of weaponary in the 70’s and 80’s was under the PERISTA programme which was intended to better ‘conventionalise’ the ATM. PERISTA was largely driven by the the fall of S. Vietnam, the possibility of an overland threat from N. Vietnam, the invasion of Cambodia, the Soviet military presence in Vietnam and the declaration of our EEZ. Though we were trendsetters in that we were the 1st to operate the Exocet,F-5E etc, I wouldn’t go so far as to describe us as ”the strongest nation in this region at that time”.

    The size and composition of the army today is a legacy of it’s counter insurgency days, which was the main focus for several decades, and not dealing with high intensity conventional wars with our neighbours. The FPDA is not a formal/obligatory defence arrangement like NATO and does not bind Britain, Australia and New Zealand to aid Malaysia or Singapore in case of an external threat – which was originally Indonesia. As such, I would classify the other FPDA members as partners, not ‘allies’.

  14. Marhalim,

    Do you mean the F-18D simulator/weapons trainer? Apart from the F-18D simulator, the only U.S. simulator operated that I can think of is the ETC centrifuge simulator/trainer at Subang which was not bought under FMS.

    Marhalim: No idea, sim companies dont like to be specific…part of their contract obligations…

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