SHAH ALAM: DWP Tabled and Approved. The Defence White Paper (DWP) was tabled in Parliament on Dec. 2 and was duly approved after a short debate. Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu when tabling the document said this was the first time that the White Paper on Defence had been drafted as previous documents were only policy papers and more importantly not tabled in Parliament.
However as of this morning – Dec. 3 – the DWP has yet to be made public though one can read the speech of the Defence Minister when tabling the document at the ministry’s website. It is unclear when the document will be made public.
It interesting to note that Mohamad Sabu during the winding up debate acknowledged that the DWP did not detailed the funding being sought for the next 10 years. He said that they are seeking one percent of the GDP or 6.5 per cent of the annual Malaysian budget, for defence during the 2020-2030 period. For next year the defence budget is RM15.5 billion or 5.2 per cent of the total budget.
It must be said that the target of 1 percent of the GDP or 6.5 percent from the annual budget is the budget being sought by the ministry and there is no firm commitment for the government to allocate the amount to the Defence Ministry for the next decade. That said it is a good first step towards the goal. Whether or not this is achievable is beyond me. Further research also indicated that Malaysia already spent one per cent of the GDP on defence so this might an easy goal to achieve.
Mohamad Sabu also acknowledged that the DWP did not detailed the full list of arms and weapons to be procured during the decade saying that the list was being prepared and this will not make public.
He also said that the list provided by the DWP and also being formulated were basically part of the military’s long term plan – 15-to-5 (RMN); CAP 55 (RMAF) and the Army Next Generation (Army). Despite this on the plan by RMN to order 14 more LMS as detailed in the 15-to-5 plan, Mohamad Sabu said it was still under discussion and no final decision has been made yet. With the LCS being delayed and in need of further investment, it is likely that the navy may only the MRSS at play in the next five years. Mohamad Sabu acknowledged that due to the issues on the South China Sea the focus should be on the maritime domain though this is likely to be dealt by the next DWP.
It is also interesting to note that Rembau MP in his comments noted that the DWP mentioned that the Army is getting SPH. He did not elaborate further though I have been told already that the Army was likely to get a truck mounted 155mm SPH. No numbers though but with Mohamad Sabu saying the military was being prepared for two theater operations it is likely to be around 36, with one regiment in the peninsula and the other in Sabah and Sarawak.
Will this two theater of operations strategy mean that we are buying a second MBT regiment and setting up an armour brigade in Sabah/Sarawak? For the moment, all I can say if it smells like duck, quacks like a duck….
*updated with GDP data and link to budget story
— Malaysian Defence