SHAH ALAM: Deja Vu. For the last several years we knew that the Army was planning to set up the fifth division in Sabah as part of the reorganisation which led to the formation of the west and eastern field commands. As a prelude to the setting up of the division, Task Force 450 was set up with its headquarters located in Kota Kinabalu.
However the talk of the setting up of the fifth division had died down recently likely due to the funding gap. A statement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday revealed that funds were indeed available though it was used for something else.
Mortar firing at night.
PETALING JAYA: The government led by Tun Dr Mahahir (pic) will be reviewing the employment of approximately 17,000 political appointees as part of its reform plans to reduce government expenditure.
The Prime Minister told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday (May 16) that there is a lot of wastage in government expenditure, a problem that needs to be solved.
“We find that there are too many officer contracts, some had been contracted to work because it is needed by the previous administration but some contracts are given for political reasons,” Dr Mahathir said.
The number of political appointees – though not spelled out whether Federal or State – outnumbered both the RMAF and RMN. It is big enough for two army divisions though it must be said that some of the contracted employees were actually needed.
As it is the Army fifth division planning is in limbo. Some units in Sarawak had been set up as part of the part of the expansion plans though the transfer of some to Sabah for the new division have been held back due to the lack funding. That said we still have no idea what is the plan of the new administration for the armed forces. Perhaps it will nix the army’s expansion plan and cancel the fifth division altogether.
By the way, First Division commander Lt Gen Stephen Mundaw is set to become the second Eastern Field Command CO soon. He is replacing Lt Gen Zaki Mohktar who is retiring. Stephen is the first Sarawak native to command a division. He is outranked by another Sarawak native, RMAF chief Gen Affendi Buang,
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