SHAH ALAM: Setting the Bar. Prime Minister DS Najib Razak is scheduled to present the 2018 Budget this Friday (Oct. 27). With a general election to be held by June, next year, many are expecting there will be many goodies for the electorate. As it is I am not expecting much for the security sector – defence and national security – especially with the current economic conditions.
Even those in Jalan Padang Tembak seemed to realise this.
The Budget 2018 to be tabled on Friday would propose to increase the assets of the Malaysian Armed Forces’ Special Service Group, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
He said the issue was conveyed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently. Whether the government approves the allocation for the assets or otherwise, we have to wait for the presentation of Budget 2018 by the prime minister,” he said after a National Transformation 2050 dialogue session at Wisma Perwira ATM here on Friday.
To this end, he said other aspects such as housing, education and health were also proposed.
Hishammuddin said he had asked the Malaysian Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs to see Najib and explain their needs and requirements.
“Personally, I am hoping to hear good news from the prime minister during the budget presentation, particularly with regard to enhancing the country’s security and defence,” he said.
As I was not able to attend the press conference, I am unable to expand the issue further. That said I think Hishammuddin may have spoken wrongly or was misquoted when he referred to the extra allocation for the “Malaysian Armed Forces Special Service Group” or in the Malay version Grup Gerak Khas ATM”.
Either the minister mispoke or the reporter made a mistake, I think Hishammuddin was refering to the Special Forces units of the military instead of Grup Gerak Khas which is specific to the Army.
All three SF units of MAF – GGK, PASKAL and PASKAU – are currently forward deployed to the ESSCOM area of operations, though for obvious reasons their numbers and units have not not been revealed.
It is likely the extra allocation are needed for ESSCOM operations, for both the SF and other units deployed there especially in light of what is happening in neighbouring Mindanao. What ever one might think about SF units it must be noted that most of the security forces – based in the frontlines either in or outside ESSCOM – are those from the regular units.
It must also be noted that the police is still the leading agency for any operations even in the ESSCOM AOR.
It is also revealing that Hishammuddin chose to disclose the assets they hoped will be funded are those for Special Forces and not the big ticket items high on the wish-list. As any items for the Special Forces – excluding new aircraft, drones or otherwise – will be probably be cheaper than a single MRCA, MPA and MRSS, it is likely their wish will be granted. And your guess will be as good mine as what they are getting.
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