Defence White Paper, Why

SHAH ALAM: Defence white paper. Since the Defence Ministry announced that it was formulating a White Paper, last year, the minister, deputy and officials have try to explain the reasons for it.

The ministry has even come up with a graphic to explain itself.

The Defence White Paper, the reasons. Mindef

Despite this, I believed, the ministry has yet to come up with a proper explaination on the DWP, especially to the masses. Its not easy, actually, I must admit. However, the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (administration) Karminder Singh Dhillon has managed to do just that in a column in the New Straits Times newspaper on April. 7.

Among the things he wrote:

What constitutes a DWP and why does Malaysia need one?

At the most basic level, the DWP lays out a comprehensive long-term plan for the nation’s defence.

It puts into the public sphere, the government’s commitment to the safety of the people and to the defence of the nation’s territory and interests.

At the deeper level, DWP outlines the nation’s defence strategy, capability plans and funding requirements.

It sketches out elements of the government’s defence investment, including new weapons, platforms, systems, and the enabling equipment, facilities, workforce, information and communications technology, science and technology as well as plans for its defence industry.

Three RMAF A400M flying following the opening ceremony of LIMA 17. Airbus

More importantly, the TKSU also explained:

As a government policy document, the DWP will give coherent instruction to the defence establishment, in particular the military, about government expectations for their roles. It will also provide the rationale and authority for the allocation of resources to the defence forces, and legitimise the spending of public funds for that purpose.

Should the defence establishment wish to make a case for the nation’s gross domestic product to be pegged at a fixed rate for its annual budget, the DWP will have to make the case persuasively. If presented with due diligence, the DWP will build a constituency of advocates within the community of lawmakers, non-governmental organisations and other interest groups.

In this sense then, DWP will act as a tool for the justification of budgetary resources over a multi-year time-frame. The assurance of predictable funding, if successfully obtained, will enhance and stabilise defence planning processes.

Adnans on the firing line at Gemas. 12th RMR

And for those who worry that the DWP will reveal our defence secrets:

The transparency that the DWP creates pertaining to the nation’s defence activities domestically has the potential to extend to our neighbours as well as to the larger region.

The DWP is an efficient instrument for confidence — and security-building in that it will state and confirm the country’s bilateral, regional and multilateral obligations and commitments. Its public and open nature will ensure that Malaysia’s intentions are not misinterpreted.

Two RMAF F/A-18D flying over KD Tun Razak in 2017. RMAF.

— Malaysian Defence

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