Who Will Be The Next Home and Defence Ministers?

RMAF Sukhois, Hornet and Hawk flies in formation with two RAAF F-35s to mark the end of Eks Elangaroo 22. RMAF

SHAH ALAM: Who will be the next Home and Defence ministers? As you are aware, no coalition or parties won enough seats in the general election, yesterday, to form the government. And as you are aware, most of the leaders are now scrambling to get enough support for them to meet the King to consent for the formation of the government.

The King this afternoon has asked the coalition leaders to present themselves at Istana Negara on November 21, to show proof they have the majority support to form the next government.

KD Sundang during an exercise held off Kota Kinabalu in late July 2022. RMN

We can surmise that both Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional (PN) – the coalitions with the most parliamentarians – will be talking with the leaders in Sabah and Sarawak – apart from the other parties – to form the next government.
One of the RMN MOH AW139 landing on KD Pahang during the sea phase of Borneo War Exercise in early September 2022.

I believe this is the opportunity for either coalition to appoint home and defence ministers from Sabah and Sarawak. The reason is simple, the territories are the ones facing the most security challenges in the nation. If appointed, it will be incumbent for them, to ensure the government provide the best tools for the security forces stationed in Sabah and Sarawak to meet the security challenges. Be it fighter jets, ships and armoured vehicles.
KD Rencong approaching the jetty at the Kota Kinabalu naval base Dec. 28. RMN

One of them could also be made the deputy prime minister as a sweetener. I have no individual parliamentarians in mind but getting ones below 50 years old would the first criteria.
Gempita AFV30s firing on the move.

Furthermore, with two Sabahan and Sarawakian already holding the two national security porfolios, the new cabinet could be made smaller, with twenty as the target. I understand coalition building make it harder to make a smaller cabinet, but I think the smaller the better anyhow.
A PDRM Barracuda operating in Sabah. PDRM

It is also interesting to note that the former home and defence ministers – who competed in the GE15 – won their respective constituencies though it is likely most of them would not be eager to return to their former jobs.
Soldiers from 11th RMR before conducting FIBUA training, They were training at abandoned quarters at Kem Penrissen, Sarawak.

Despite my suggestions above, I believe that if PN got the nod to form the next government, new Ketereh MP Major General (rtd) Khlir Mohd Nor may well be the candidate for Jalan Padang Tembak. Khlir retired as the Army Chief of Staff several years back. That said I am not too keen on having a former general nor other ranks (there are several parliamentarians who are veterans also) taking charge of the Defence Ministry.
A soldier with a Rejimen Sempadan battalion in Sarawak receiving Raya goodies May 2022. Note the HK11E light machine gun on firing post. TD

Former Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin who won the Larut seat, is odds-on favourite to return to his old job.
A PGA patrol near the Sarawak-Kalimantan border. They are wearing bullet proof vests, likely without armour plates and ballistic helmets. Note the second to last trooper on the right, he is carrying an HK11E, the heavy barrel, bipod equipped 7.62mm light support weapon. PDRM

If PH got the numbers, I am pretty sure Mat Sabu will want his old job back, though many would be aghast with the decision if it happened. Which means that it will better for PH to appoint parliamentarians from Sabah and Sarawak as defence ministers.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

19 Comments

  1. If PN get to form the gov and they continue with the senior minister post which is akin to ID/SG co-ordinating minister position. With the senior minister for defense is also responsible for internal security, external defense & diplomacy.

    Then Major General (rtd) Khlir Mohd Nor would probably be the politically correct person to head the coordinating minister post as he probably understand a wee bit more about the subject matter as well as general public acceptance then the average PAS representative.

    GPS would probably want to continue getting their hand on the infrastructure portfolio as it provided fast tangible results to show to their voters as well as inline with GPS business interest.

  2. Qamarul – “Hopefully someone who have a military background”

    He needs several traits/qualities; not just a military background. Having a military background doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a sound Minister. Ultimately as a Minister he can’t make recommendations but can’t drive overall policy. A lot will still depend on his boss; how much focus or interest will the boss have towards defence or will he be preoccupied with other things?

    Another factor at play is the defence policy; what we do and how we do it will still be based on the defence policy; one which places huge importance on the local industry and other forms of national interests.

    We can only hope that programmes already approved for funding will proceed without lengthy bureaucratic delays.

  3. Personally I’m more worried about who will be the next PM!
    Indeed we’re in the worst possible situation going into the worst time that this 21st century will have seen; a very real US and thus the world’s global recession. China facing its own subprime crisis, Russia with its war, and US with the ever increasing inflation and recently with the collapse of billions $ in crypto. Heading into this maelstrom with a coalition govt with parties that hate each other is a recipe for an early disaster and a whole lot more byelections. Whatmore if PN+BN+GPS were to takeover, PH, as the largest bloc, would not wear it and will seek to destabilise that unity Govt in order to take its, arguably, rightful place on the seat. In all this, defence is probably the last thing that should be on our minds. I’m more worried what it will do to the economy. No point wishing for nice shiny toys but not having the money to buy them!

  4. Joker had in the dark knight said “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying”

    The upcoming global recession is pretty much on plan. The feds had raise interest like crazy in order to squashed the inflation crisis and thus it’s expected that a recession would occur next year. The bank negara had said we won’t be in a technical recession probably because OPEC+ is cutting supplies accordingly as they would like to avoid the 08 oil shooks that one of the factor for the Arab springs.

    Some moon ago, it is expected that 0.3% of population would die due to COVID so the rest 99.7% can live a normal live and here we are living a normal life by sacrificing millions.

    The problem with PH is DAP. They are too right leaning from anti taxation, austerity loving,anti social equality for other parties taste. It hard for them to be in a coalition with another. Thus he biggest risk to a PN coalition gov (if get to form gov) comes from within as it has been for the last 3 years.

    Chinese economy tanking is also kinda expected. Their economy & demographic situation is almost the same as the Japanese economy were in the 90s. They pretty much sign their own plaza accord and now It is expected that they going to go for prolonged stagflation.

    Due to internal politics & rivalry US is expected to champions deglobalization. Tengku Zafrul had during the straits times forum & davos outline the upcoming strategy.

    Thus The DWP acquisition plan would likely go on as usual. The gov up until recently only ordering asset, those assets would only be in inventory by the next RMK. Basically it up to the gov in 2025 to figure out how exactly they going to pay for what the last gov orders.

    The external security outlook for MY remain the same. The biggest risk comes from multi domain high intensity but short conflicts mostly driven by the instabilities of China domestic issue & Washington ambition rather than an all out hotwar.

  5. If PH proceed to make a proper coalition with BN,

    Then DS Ahmad Zahid and DS Ismail Sabri maybe will take positions

    But the bargaining dealingS among groups of PN, PH and BN is still going on..

  6. Zaft – “Joker had in the dark knight said “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying”

    What did Bud Spencer and Elmo
    Elmer Fudd say about perpetually being buggered in every orfice because one has an congenital inability and unwillingness to learn from previous mistakes?

    Zaft – “The biggest risk comes from multi domain high intensity but short conflicts mostly driven by the instabilities of China domestic issue & Washington ambition rather than an all out hotwar”

    To get to reality; “China domestic issue & Washington ambition” does not have a direct adverse bearing on us. The greatest risk is that the MAF faces a huge challenge in meeting peacetime operational requirements and is overmatched by countries which have longstanding unresolved territorial disputes with us; which at times nearly went hot.

  7. “To get to reality; “China domestic issue & Washington ambition” does not have a direct adverse bearing on us”

    As always never take things in a vacuum losing sight of the bigger picture.

    Asean is along with Taiwan is the stage where the 2 giant plan for a brawl. Oz military briefing (well at least one that available on YouTube) seem to indicate the important of having capabilities to project power into the maritime south east Asia.

    MY do have an ‘unresolved territorial disputes’ with China together with other asean states. Thought ASEAN states would likely not react to an action of another ASEAN state publicly to sells off the idea of ASEAN unity.

    Thus The gov are unlikely to called upon RMN to send their gunboat to face a TNI-AL gunboat. They would just likely make a phone calls. If RMn are called in, it’s to face off PLAN.

    “The greatest risk is that the MAF faces a huge challenge in meeting peacetime operational requirements”

    Says what you want about a certain fanboys which has many names. He is correct that MMEA is the likely agency going to be responsible for Mostly peacetime operations. MmEA along with other CG in the region are Established in the 2000 to manage & de-escalate what was then a risk now a reality of grey zone conflict in SCS.

    “Elmer Fudd say about perpetually being buggered in every orfice because one has an congenital inability and unwillingness to learn from previous mistakes?”

    We are learning. RMN afterall had stop trying to acquired 24 gunboat to do mmea job for them & ships build in the most random order rather than batch purchases. I say that’s quite a win.

  8. Zaft – “As always never take things in a vacuum losing sight of the bigger picture”

    That sounds familiar.

    Zaft – “Asean is along with Taiwan is the stage where the 2 giant plan for a brawl”

    Well thanks for the update but a clash over Taiwan doesn’t automatically draw ASEAN in.

    Zaft – “Says what you want about a certain fanboys which has many names.

    It would appear so.

    Zaft – “He is correct that MMEA is the likely agency going to be responsible for Mostly peacetime operations”

    There are certain things the RMN would do and certain things the MMEA would do. It depends on the context: the circumstances.

    Zaft – “We are learning. RMN afterall had stop trying to acquired 24 gunboat to do mmea job for them”

    Sorry but that is nonsense. The RMN never tried to do the MMEA’s job. What it has and is doing is carry a lot of the burden because the MMEA is at present unable the fully carry out all it’s assigned to do. As it stands there is no other agency which can help fill.In the void.

    Zaft- “RMn are called in, it’s to face off PLAN.”

    In a non war situation. Unless things get really hot: we are unlikely to get in a situation where we face off the PLA; if we did it would be part of a coalition.

  9. P.S

    – The RMN never tried to acquire “gunboats”. It’s in a position where it has guns armed ships because of reasons well known: not out of design.
    – This notion that the RMN is reluctant to fully enable the MMEA to do its job or wants to retain the peacetime constabulary role is incorrect.
    – A “gunboat” [being a popular term with some] traditionally signifies a ship in the 400-600 tonne displacement category which undertakes low threat operations in a riverine or shallow setting. An OPV armed only with guns and operating along the continental shelf or in other areas does not fall in the “gunboat” category.
    – Even if Father Christmas were to suddenly gift the MMEA 5 OPVs the MMEA is still a long way from being able to assume all its responsibilities; it has manpower issues; an insufficient shore support infrastructure, etc. It’s not just the hardware.

    There is a,clear division of responsibility: if there is a situation where an MMEA ship on station is punching above its weight level then the RNN will be called in.

  10. Both RMN & MMEA has demand & supplies issue.

    The demand is pretty clear it’s for RMN to transform into a mostly warfighting organisation with constabulary duty second while MMEA supposed to perform constabulary first then have warfighting duty seconds.

    But getting there is a pain. There’s constraints On the supplies side of things. RMN current has lot of ‘gun equip ffbnw ship’, lots of shorebase assets reflecting it’s original purpose as a single organizations for both peacetime & wartime utilities.

    Most commonwealth countries still maintains the navy as the single unified maritime organisation. It probably the most operationally effective way to do it but We like most in this region split it on Japan request for geopolitical purposes.

    Transformation would see RMN having to give up a lot in form of ship count, manpower and shorebase facilities which they are either understandably reluctant to do or MMEA don’t want to accept the transfer of those assets preferring to acquired purpose built asset instead.

    “Well thanks for the update but a clash over Taiwan doesn’t automatically draw ASEAN in.”

    I agree with George Yeo, SG former foreign minister opinion that a clash over Taiwan won’t rope in ASEAN member state But a clashes over an ASEAN member state would.

    So rather than asking the question of what asset needed to counter the Philippines or Indonesian. The question we should be asking is what asset needed to help defend the Philippines.

  11. @ Azlan ” It depends on the context: the circumstances”

    You don’t plan just hoping for the circumstances to be good for you. RMN 15to5 plan clearly expects RMN to do all the constabulary missions (with 18 PV on top of 12 Frigates and 18 LMS), with MMEA existence not taken into account.

    A new plan is needed, that has clear RASIC between RMN and MMEA. With RMN not buying ships that MMEA is supposed to buy and use.

    @DarthZaft “Transformation would see RMN having to give up a lot in form of ship count, manpower and shorebase facilities which they are either understandably reluctant to do”

    It does not have to. RMN will need all its current manpower and shorebase facilities even if it does not have OPVs and gives up all Kedah-class OPV to MMEA.

    For Example
    Current RMN
    2 Scorpene
    2 Lekiu
    2 Kasturi
    6 Kedah
    6 Keris
    4 Laksamana
    4 Mahamiru
    14 FAC
    4 Vosper
    2 MPCSS

    To Future RMN
    2-4 Scorpene
    6-8 Littoral Submarines
    4 Large Frigate
    6 Gowind or equivalent
    2 MRSS
    18-20 LMS multirole batch2
    2 Replenishment oiler
    2-4 OSV multi role

    Building up a capable MMEA does not need a lot of budget. Even a single Tun Fatimah OPV cost less than a single LMS batch1. The budget for eight RMN LMS Batch 2 could buy 24 Tun Fatimah OPVs. MMEA in total only plans for 20 large OPV, with 2 japanese OPV plus 3 Tun Fatimah already available/ordered, there is just a need for 15 more OPVs. If 6 Kedah Class passed to MMEA, that means only need to buy 9 more new OPVs for MMEA. All that is easily achievable by 2030.

    So it not really about the money. Its all about spending the money wisely where it is needed the most.

  12. Hulubalang – “You don’t plan just hoping for the circumstances to be good for you”

    One makes plans based on overall policy as set by the politicians and based on funding realities.

    Hulubalang – “RMN 15to5 plan clearly expects RMN to do all the constabulary missions”

    The 15/5 was based on what was likely to be approved by the government and was the absolute minimum force structure needed by the RMN.

    Hulubalang – “with RMN not buying ships that MMEA is supposed to buy and use”

    Time and again I keep hearing this same argument which is erroneous. There is nothing in the 5/15 which indicates that the RMN is “buying ships that MMEA is supposed to buy and use”… Nothing… If you’re referring to the Kedahs; I’ll say what I’ve said before : despite its OPV designation which meant are fixated on; the intention was for fully fitted out Kedahs to perform various types of wartime roles; not peacetime constanbulary type duties.. Also, unlike the case years ago; as of 2022 there are no plans for follow on Kedahs.

  13. Hulubalang -” If 6 Kedah Class passed to MMEA, that means only need to buy 9″

    9 is debatable. Also, not only does it need OPVs but other surface assets [a lot of what it now has is old and maintenance extensive]; as well a manned and unmanned air assets.

    On the Kedahs someone else kept mentioning the it but the reality is that by the time the RMN has enough hulls as to be willing to handover the Kedahs the MMEA would be begging not to have them on account of sustainment issues related to age.

    Hulubalang – “not really about the money. Its all about spending the money wisely”

    I don’t know about “wisely” but I know that sufficient sustained funding is needed in order to get the hardware to enable various things including the long overdue but vital need to expand/upgrade the shore support infrastructure. Amidst the talk about the MMEA missing from the popular narrative is the MMEA having limited manpower and bases.

    Hulubalng – ” Replenishment oiler”

    This is something uncannily similar to what someone else said. Like what I told him there is a reason why there is no requirement for an oiler; the simple fact that even if a ship is along the periphery of the EEZ it is never more than 2 days to the nearest base/port. Even if it’s forced to stay on station; all ships carry reserve fuel which like reserve food and ammo can be used at the discreation of the CO. Over the years I have asked several RMN people and they all brushed off the need for oilers for the reasons I’ve alluded to.

    Hulubalng – “2-4 Scorpene
    6-8 Littoral Submarines”

    The Scorpene is a “littoral submarine”
    as opposed to larger ocean going designs [some with double hulls] like the Kilo, Upholder, Collins and Oberon. Anything smaller than a Scorpene would have much less range and endurance [even with new batteries] and would have shorter range or a less comprehensive sensor suite; in addition to less number of weapons which can be stored. As such going for something smaller than a Scorpene is a wrong move. It’s a different matter if we only operated subs in confined areas such as the Melaka Straits or Ambalat Bay; we don’t.

  14. Scorpene is a full-on ocean-going submarine.

    RMN is the only user that sails it in a “sea”. Chile uses it in the Pacific Ocean, Brazil the Atlantic Ocean, India the Indian Ocean.

    South China Sea is a confined area, mostly shallows with only small area around the spratlys where the subs can really dive to their max dive depth. If we have lots of money, yes buy more scorpenes, but in reality money is tight. Smaller subs + lithium ion batteries could allow RMN to have more subs in its fleet.

    RMN needs to be a warfighting organisation, with ships capable of doing that. Leave all patrol-task only ships to MMEA to operate.

  15. hulubalang – “Scorpene is a full-on ocean-going submarine”

    No. It’s designed for shallow water ops as opposed to larger ocean going boats such as the Kilo, Collins, Upholder and many others.

    hulubalang – “RMN is the only user that sails it in a “sea”.”

    The rest sail them in lakes?

    hulubalang – “Chile uses it in the Pacific Ocean, Brazil the Atlantic Ocean, India the Indian Ocean”

    You still don’t get it? All these navies utilise their subs for littoral ops requiring less range and endurance compared to extended blue open ops and that’s why their subs are of a certain size/displacemrnt. Navies like Japan and Australia don’t operate in a littoral setting or circumstances and that’s why they have larger boats with more range, endurance and internal space – something the size of Scorpene just won’t do. BTW Chile operates its boats away from the continental shelf
    and like Brazil and India don’t operate their subs they way navies with larger subs; intended for long endurance ocean going ops; do.

    hulubalang – “Leave all patrol-task only ships to MMEA to operate”

    You can repeat this mantra until Burundi wins the World Cup in the future or Tonga gets F-35s but in simple language the key fact remains that the RMN would like nothing else to do but divest itself off the constabulary role; that the RMN is the only entity that can help fill the gap until the MMEA is ready and that even if the MNEA had 15 OPVs the RMN would still have peacetime non fighting commitments [like any navy]. The notion that the RMN is reluctant to enable the MMEA to fully assume its responsibilies is hogwash…..

  16. I think when hulubalang says leave all patrol-task only ships to MMEA to operate. It doesn’t mean RMN going to divest herself from performing patrol. It just mean she shouldn’t acquired any more ship that only capable of doing patrols like the lms1 or Kedah for example.

    While it’s true that the Kedah & lms1 ffbnw nature mean in theory it can be arms rather quickly but the reality is they won’t. It would end it 30 years long carrier as a over glorified, overpriced gun only boat. Thus the high acquisition & sustainment cost leads to no actual tangible benefits. Just good money being burnt away for absolutely nothing.

    As for the midget subs. I guess better wait for Turkeye to finish building & operate one before we form an option of whatever it’s the best thing since slice bread or a bust.

  17. Zaft – “I think when hulubalang says leave all patrol-task only ships to MMEA to operate”

    I “think” that’s something we all agree on but is something hardly possible now. I also “think” you should understand the reasons at play as to why the RMN has to support the MMEA and also understand that the notion that the RMN is reluctant to divest itself of certain roles is poppycock.

    Zaft – ” It just mean she shouldn’t acquired any more ship that only capable of doing patrols like the lms1 or Kedah for example”

    Well thanks for updating me with this revelation but as I have pointed on previously : the fact that some RMN ships are armed only with guns is due to politics and it’s not as if the RMN plans to get any ships primarily for the constabulary role… People; like trained circus seals; keep repeating that the RMN shouldn’t get any more guns only armed ships but conveniently ignore the part where the RMN never had such plans to begin with….

    BTW read the previous posts both here and elsewhere to stick to the same script.

    Zaft – “As for the midget subs. I guess better”

    I “guess” you better take note of the inherent limitations with midget subs and the fact that the Turks deploy them in the Black Sea and Agean and not the South China Sea which has different Sea States; currents and typhoons; all of which has a bearing on mini subs.

    BTW mini subs have been around for a long time [heard of Cosmos?] and tend to be suitable for specific roles; thus we don’t have to “wait” for the Turks as you put it.

    Zaft – “Thus the high acquisition & sustainment cost leads to no actual tangible benefits”

    More nonsense. Since entering service the Kedahs have played a primary role in the larger scheme of things; irrespective of inherent limitations.
    Without the Kedahs what else would have patrolled the EEZ and other things? Does the MMEA have OPVs I’m unaware of?

    Zaft – “as a over glorified, overpriced gun only boat”

    You make to make a statement at least get the designations correct. I have explained to you what a “gunboat” is. The Kedahs are guns only “OPVs” which in some navies would be called “corvettes”.

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