SHAH ALAM: Looking through glass. If you are like me and everyone else, it is likely you are on social media, basically to keep up with things that interest you, though nowdays its more like what people want to get you to be interested in.
Anyhow within a month before the presentation of the 2018 budget, from the things posted on the social media channel of those in the Defence Ministry, one is likely to surmise that next year will not be the year of the MRCA.
The ministry this week – out of the blue – posted an infographic on the construction of new camps around the country. A hint of what we are getting perhaps? Anyhow, some of the camps mentioned in the infographic have already been publicised – the Hutan Melintang one has been inaugurated – but some are made public for the first time.
Although these are funded under the succesive Malaysian plans, the actual allocation are made annually under the budget and it is likely it will be included during the presentation expected on Oct. 27. Despite the funding, it is also likely that these camps are also paid via the built and transfer method where the government grant the developer the rights to a piece of land which previously belonged to the military.
It is not really an ideal situation as most of the military land are located in prime areas while the new ones are not. And what ever one might think of the British, the locations they chose for military camps were really ideal, one that could stand the test of time apart from the creeping urbanisation of course.
Furthermore, the military will not get any long term residual funding from the redevelopment of the old land. And following the end of the warranty period, maintenance costs of these camps will have to come from the operational allocation, which tends to come under pressure every year.
To be clear, I have no problems with the idea of building new camps though it must be said these must also be accompanied with the modernisation of assets and capabilities. Camps are not build on a whim but usually part of an overall plan. However, if only parts of the plan are followed upon and the rest is deferred, it is likely that the shiny new installation will become a glorious white elephant.
Moreover, it is of no use for soldiers to live and stay in a new, modern camp when their “office” are an obsolete piece equipment that are way beyond its retirement date.
On military social media network this week, there were also saw a lot of praise for the on-going RMN 15-to-5 transformation. I have no idea what is going on – just yet – but it is likely funding for new ships – MRSS? – is expected to be part of the 2018 budget.They cannot be praising for something already in the pipework – LCS and LMS – right?
* Pictures and graphichs are sourced from Armed Forces social media network.
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