Defence Ministry Wants Bigger Allocation

Two soldiers patrolling in ESSCOM as part of Op Benteng in 2020. Both are using regular helmets. Kementerian Pertahanan

SHAH ALAM: Defence Ministry wants bigger allocation. Defence Minister DS Ismail Sabri wants a bigger allocation for the ministry in the 2021 budget set to be announced next Friday.

He said a bigger allocation was needed to ensure the readiness of the military and the construction of new or the repair of family quarters.

Bernama reported that Ismail as saying that the military needed more new assets including for 19 posts in Sabah and Sarawak as part of the on-going operations against illegal immigrants, Op Benteng.


Two soldiers patrolling in ESSCOM as part of Op Benteng. Kementerian Pertahanan

“Kementerian melihat kesiapsiagaan mendapatkan aset baharu untuk Ops Benteng sangat diperlukan sekarang ini.
“Kita bukan sahaja menggerakkan anggota, tetapi aset juga perlu ditambah terutamanya di Pantai Timur Sabah, kita juga bercadang membina kem tentera di Lahad Datu,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas menyampaikan taklimat harian mengenai perkembangan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Pemulihan (PKPP) di sini hari ini.

Ismail Sabri berkata ketika ini terdapat 17 pos kawalan di sempadan negara di Sabah dan Sarawak.

Katanya beliau melihat pertambahan pos kawalan sangat penting bagi menangani isu pendatang tanpa izin yang tidak pernah selesai.

Ismail Sabri berkata peruntukan itu juga diperlukan bagi menyelesaikan projek perumahan yang melibatkan puluhan ribu anggota tentera termasuk pesara.

“Kita belum tahu dari segi jumlah bajet yang akan diluluskan… walaupun tidak menghadapi perang tetapi kesiapsiagaan itu mesti sentiasa tinggi,” katanya.


On patrol off Lahad Datu with a P38 FIC. Kementerian Pertahanan

It is interesting that the minister is saying that while the country was not at war, the readiness of the military was high, which pretty much sounds like that even without a much higher allocation the military was ready for any eventuality.

Army patrol along the Sarawak-Indonesia border

To me however as long as we continue to used the term “not at war” to gloss over the lack of allocation, I do’nt think we will ever get the money for the military’s plans.

Army and GOF joint patrol in ESSCOM AOR. Note the GK-M1 weapon carriers. The left one is fitted with a 12.7mm machine gun while the other is fitted with an automatic grenade launcher.

It must be noted that the same term is used every time to deny the military any substantial allocation for the last three decades or so. As for the bigger allocation to tackle the border and housing issues, it should be given that the military has more than enough capabilities to deal with illegal immigrants and quarters instead of scrambling to get them as what’s happening at the moment. Makes one wonder what will happen if we ever need, god forbid, to go over the top.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Im glad DS Ismail made a good decision. But let’s hope on desember we gonna get new toys.

  2. Positive movement by DS Sabri..hope government will seriously consider this request.

    BTW, can I know roughly how many Weststar GK-M1 in service with the armed forces right now?

    No idea really

  3. Every ministry and their mother wants a bigger allocation. Which is a problem as the nations income is reduced by the pandemic.

    I don’t see how we can afford to have a bigger overall budget in 2021 when compared to 2020. I would be glad of they could commit a solid number for defence and home ministry for the whole of RMK12.

    Then the defence and home ministry needs to declare how the allocation could increase the mission capability of our armed forces. Peacetime mission capability KPI needs to be set, while readiness of our deterrence systems needs to be maintained (to give % of readiness status) and regularly tested through exercises.

    Another thing they need to prove IMO is how can they increase the operational capability with the given budget when compared to the current RMK. Maintaining current capabilities is one thing, they also need to plan an increase the capability in RMK12 by a set percent (say 25%) when compared to RMK11. So that means say for the air force, the fighter capability, or the helicopter lift capability needs to be better in RMK12 when compared to RMK11. So when the look at fancy expensive toys, they need to justify how much better that expensive equipment can increase the overall capability when compared to a simpler cheaper one.

    That said, there is a lot of hard decisions to be made. The LMS, LCS, army armoured vehicles, LCA/LIFT, MPA, MALE UAV, medium lift helicopters, OPV and NGPC batch 2 all need to be preferably decided by the end of 2021. That is a lot of decisions to be made.

  4. Safran – “Im glad DS Ismail made a good decision”

    What “good decision”? As the Defence Minister it’s his job to ensure the armed services have what they need and to keep making a case for them to have the funding they require.


    Yes, sadly. It’s all boils down to the general attitude we have; defence is something we should only spend on when we actually have extra funds or when times are good. Until that changes and until we actually totally revamp the way we do things; nothing will change; e.g. the RMN or army will ask for something and the bureaucrats will say “we are not at war or in a state of tensions. Why do you need 4 of ‘x’ when you can make do with 1? When times are better or when we actually face a serious threat then you can have more”.

    I’ve met people who were involved in drafting requirements and justifying them to committees who would ask a whole list of questions as to why something should be registered for funding ..

    We’ve been doing things in such a flawed manner for so long; so deeply part of and ingrained in the system that really changing things will a whole lot of political will and effort.

    A good indicator of things will be the MPA and UAS requirement. Will politics/national interests (offsets/benefiting the local industry) be the determining factor or will be the need to ensure we get what best suits our operational requirements based on what we’ve allocated …

  5. Bigger budget is the key.
    Want something nice takes extra money.
    Looking at SG hardwares with pinoy budget is not the way…hahahaha.

  6. “it should be given that the military has more than enough capabilities to deal with illegal immigrants”
    Are you sure about that? We wouldn’t have an illegal immigrant population that far outnumber legal foreign workers here if ATM were effective at preventing illegal border crossings. My opinion, they need more help, more resources, more tech for surveillance and detection, more manpower, more vehicles, more ships, more planes & choppers, more of everything.

    Another thing, Ops Benteng only help prevents more coming in (esp those Rohingyas) but that doesn’t solve the issues of those already here. There is need for a 2 prong approach now the border is effectively closed, the PDRM & Imigresen should take this chance to sweep the illegals back to their home countries. Once Covid is over and borders reopened, use the added resources I mentioned above to maintain constant vigilance so illegals knows we continue to mean business when comes to border crossings.

    Now is the chance to use Covid as excuse to ask for more budget.

  7. Romeo – “Bigger budget is the key”

    If only if were that simple.

    No point having a ‘bigger budget” if we don’t put the cash to best:optimum use. No point having a ‘bigger budget” if it’s just a temporary measure.

    We need a total revamp and relook into our defence policy to see and be honest with ourselves with where we’ve been going wrong. We need to adopt a more realistic, holistic and serious approach with regards to defence.

  8. Bigger allocation is a good start in a way. The next thing is to make sure the cash is spent wisely, let’s see if Sabri can come out with better plans than Chin Tong (Sabu was a useless piece of ….).

    If I recalled correctly, it was mainly Pakatan people who were constantly remarking ” we are not at war why need this and that…”, Charles Santiago and Koon Yew Yin among them. The Covid cases would have been 10 times worse if the Armed Forces were not here to assist the police

    Not only PH people, its actually started during BN time. Apart from the politicians it was also used by civil servants especially those in Finance Ministry and EPU, which was previously the gate keeper to the budget allocation. I agree that the military needs to spend their allocation wisely but when faced with the government policies or things due to the influence of politicians its a fools errand

  9. For the immediate coming year budget, the lions share must without doubt go to 3 sectors namely:
    1. Health which has been underfunded all along. Simple matters like salary for more headcounts for MOs , medicine, masks, PPEs n the purchase of Covid vaccines in 2021
    2. Take care of jobless rakyat. If gov does not want to borrow money from the EPF , gift to gov for gov to redistribute to rakyat, easiest n most direct route is to allow monthly withdrawal of EPF for those out of a job
    3. Revival of industry n production.
    All other sectors must give way to the 3 priorities

    The third one is difficult really as it depends on external and domestic consumption perhaps it is better to start new infrastructure projects not privatised ones of course

  10. @ASM

    why point out PH people when most Malaysians in general are like that. As if PH had so much power to influence rubber stamps.


  11. Will,

    I highlighted Pakatan because their people were the most vocal about it. Civil servants seldom put their views out in public. And PH was the government after GE-14, in case you forget, so yes they have the power to reform if they wanted to. If they were really serious they wouldn’t have put a clown like Mat Sabu to be in charge of Mindef. BN was bad, correct but nobody told them to follow what BN did.

  12. @ marhalim

    ” it is better to start new infrastructure projects not privatised ones ”

    Not privatised ones? Nak suruh orang JKR angkat cangkul bancuh simen? Dah berdekad orang JKR tak buat dah semua tu.

    The work can be privatised to companies of course but funding comes from the government so it will be owned by the country unlike toll highways. And no more built and transfer method as well

  13. @ASM
    LCT was promising. Sabu was put over him for reasons we all know.

    However with only a year and a half what change could they possibly have done. To turn a large company around usually people plan in terms of 3 to 10 years; to turn a nation around it should take a minimum of 10, more like 20 years… and that with full co-operation, not half-assing it.

  14. @Marhalim
    Public funded but private built? Something like MRT PPP way of working pioneered by Najib? But I heard there are plenty of grouses coming from the private partners, mainly cannot increase the costing due to material cost increased, minimum wage salary increased, utilities increased, salaries increased, bonus increased (but mainly no way to increase the “extras” lah).

    With such rigid structure (to prevent cost overrun), no others than GLC MMC-Gamuda or WCT or similar would be interested. Parts of the project could be parceled out to purely private firms (ie Sunway) but IMHO these sub-cons have poorer safety record than main-con (recall all those accidents & deaths came from their portion).

    Better than having infrastructure perpetually under private hands. The current imbroglio over the projects were the result of the PH Government insistence of a review of the contracts given out during BN times. The standard policy was 20 per cent reduction in contract price, take it or leave it. Yes I am aware the BN govt was profligate in their contracts. So going forward the government must do it in a fair way to ensure money is not simply thrown away while at the same time provide the economy a boost post Covid

  15. Chua,

    I didn’t expect the PH gov to get anything done in one term. At least provide the foundations, but what happened instead was in-fighting among themselves. Loke was OK as transport minister, Yeo Bee Yin was OK as well, although I think she could’ve gone further with her credentials.
    LCT was….like you said.

    My point was the noisiest ones in the media casting stones at the Armed Forces tend to be Pakatan politicians (and their supporters). The BN ones were more covert about it (as they were the gov then) but we can guess more or less what they were thinking about by the way the procurement is being done.

    Where I do draw the line is disrespect leveled towards the Forces, poking fun at their sacrifices, denigrating their level of competency etc. Criticising/ questioning the decisions regarding defence procurement is fair and warranted, but not the point the entire organisation is labeled as useless and incompetent.

  16. @ASM

    I disagree, for a few reasons.

    Firstly, defence procurement is one of the blackest of black holes in our country’s (mis)spending, with more sums gone missing here than most other departments. If we don’t have a proper Govt in charge, I too am of the opinion that the less money goes to “defence” then the better, since that means less “wastage”.

    Secondly, as with most things in Malaysia, what one side reads as “disrespect” is actually nothing more than constructive criticism. However in Malaysia we have a big problem getting people to acknowledge weakness, because we need to “save face”. This has been the source of disagreement even here also, which I think you should have witnessed.

    Lastly, even if there has been some disrespect… so what? It’s not like we Malaysians have an excess of humility. Rather we swing the other way with a massive ego to the point where we refuse to see the truth, because of pride or inferiority complex or whatever. If a few sharp words will break us out of our complacency, I welcome it.

  17. @ ASM

    ” Where I do draw the line is disrespect leveled towards the Forces, poking fun at their sacrifices, denigrating their level of competency etc. Criticising/ questioning the decisions regarding defence procurement is fair and warranted, but not the point the entire organisation is labeled as useless and incompetent ”

    Exactly why I am very upset with the AG report on the Guardian APC. Pick on other things like LCS or Little Birds i dont mind (and what i also want to know why), but why create an issue with the Guardian APC when there should be none in the first place?

  18. “Better than having infrastructure perpetually under private hands.”
    Depends. Infra that benefits the private sector more than joe public should be fully done by the private sectors. For public sector works that would benefit the public more, the PPP way of working is the best compromise IMHO. Using taxpayers money but leveraging on the professionalism & efficiency of private sectors, when done properly, would get us the value for our money. The pitfall is too rigid structure which would eat into the profits of these main-cons nor too relaxed will result in something like LCS overrun.

    The best way is to embed Commissioners, or Commissars if you like, for each project who would oversee and report back any misdemeanours or trouble or anything not up to standards.

  19. Chua,

    Your points are valid, and I agree to points 1 and 2, the third is more like half and half.

    I did mention earlier that criticism that highlights the weakness/loopholes in the system and for the betterment of the Forces are warranted, and even necessary. If it’s a bitter medicine that has to be forced down to be swallowed but will improve the structure, performance and condition of the Forces then I am all for these criticisms.

    What I don’t agree with are the insults disguised as “criticisms”; that provide no value whatsoever other than to belittle and to demean ie useless, government dogs, questioning their competence on the basis that “they’re Malaysian, so they’re bad”.

  20. @…

    The plate carrier that the para wear in the picture is not equipped with chest rig at all. in fact, the pouch was attached directly to the pals webbing on the vest itself.

    So, yeah I get your point. The army needs to stop wearing all black equipment over their uniform. kinda pointless for their camo.

  21. @ smellyboy

    ” The plate carrier that the para wear in the picture is not equipped with chest rig at all ”

    thanks for the clarification. i am not very knowledgeable about soldier personal equipments.

    So i assume that is the latest plate carrier for the army? has it been rolled out to all the infantry battalions? can it be worn during parachute drop?

    IMO if you cannot buy your webbing in the latest army camo, please buy them in plain olive drab or khaki rather than black.

  22. @…

    It is new but I wouldn’t expect them to be issued to all of the boys already. The last time I saw they issued this vest is when we sent our boys for shooting competition (last year or two years ago? I kinda forget) and outside of that, I’ve never seen them during operations. Suffice to say that, these new plate carriers seems scarce for all units.

  23. Chest carriee with pouches,you sure about that,cause thru experience most of the time soldiers are in prone position…boy oh boy….how the magazine to be taken out of the chest when you are at prone position….you guys like to follow what the mat salleh are wearing blindly,wirhout thinking…chest webbing is actually for CQB….

  24. @RedSot

    ’cause thru experience most of the time soldiers are in prone position’

    not all the time though. If you have cover nearby, then use it.

    ‘you guys like to follow what the mat salleh are wearing blindly,wirhout thinking…chest webbing is actually for CQB….’

    Might as well don’t use Safariland holster and stick with the cheap button lock holster in combat when you want to switch your handgun faster…

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