SHAH ALAM: Going, going, gone? Last January 19, the Defence Ministry announced it had cancelled five contracts for “supply, services, and infrastructure projects”. It did not identify the contracts though but stated that it will implement the projects via a tender process.
Checks with industry sources only revealed one of the five cancelled contracts, the one for 18 155mm SPH. No one could confirm whether the deal for 136 Type A 4X4 (armoured) vehicles and various Type B (unarmoured) vehicles worth RM2.046 billion were also cancelled. The procurement of the armoured vehicles – the so-called HMAV – was announced by the-then Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein shortly after the budget was announced by the previous government last October.
Interestingly, at a press conference after officiating the Army’s 90th anniversary parade on March 1, the top soldier, TS General Zamrose Mohd Zain seemed to indicate that the armoured 4X4 deal was not going to proceed.
Commenting on Budget 2023 announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last Friday, Zamrose said the army was allocated RM6.5bil out of the total RM17.7bil channelled to the Defence Ministry.”It is insufficient. We understand the country’s financial situation so we will make full use of existing assets such as the armoured personnel carriers (APC) that are stationed with the 5th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (KAD).
“Then, at the 1st and 2nd KAD, we have the Gempita, while at the 3rd and 4th KAD, before this, we had the Condor. But last January, we had listed the more than 30-year-old Condor as obsolete.
“So, our alternative is to move the APC at 1st and 2nd KAD to 3rd and 4th KAD so that they are not so empty,” he said while hoping that the army would be able to acquire new assets.
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The 4 KAD story. Yes, the general did not say anything about the armoured 4X4 deal but one can assumed that it is no longer funded by reading between the lines. The HMAV was supposed to go to units not equipped or partially equipped with Gempita.
As for moving the Gempita to the other Armoured Regiments without them, this will mean that the units will have around three, two or even one squadrons of them each.
Again, it would have been better for the Army to transfer one of the armoured/mechanised regiments to Sabah instead of standing up a completely new unit there. This was the plan after the Lahad Datu incident, but it was modified after the Army decided to stand up the Fifth Division, which was also the result of that incident (some 10 years ago). The new plan was subsequently affirmed by the DWP 2019 which unfortunately was silent on the funding to achieve its goals.
— Malaysian Defence