SHAH ALAM: Wow factor aka no help for the needy. Bernama reported PM DS Ismail Sabri Yaakob as saying that the Budget 2022 has wow factors for all sectors. In response to the report, I tweeted Wow, MY getting LCS, LMS Batch II, LCA, MPA and UAV….
I didn’t really think we are getting them of course. I was being a snark as plenty of people who makes more money than me are already saying that the 2022 budget for the national security sector will be flat line. Of course we already knew that was coming due to the aftermath of pandemic.
The Bernama report
We already had a preview of it when the government announced the RMK12 plan last month, with no specific allocation for the national security sector and not a single planned purchase of arms. It also didn’t helped when the Defence Minister on Monday told Parliament that defence diplomacy was much better than billions ringgit worth of assets.
Well, I guess I shouldn’t be overly pessimistic and I should wait for actual budget announcement, tomorrow.
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Realistically, the defence of our country & people against new strains of Covid ie Delta Plus is far far more urgent needed compared to “billions ringgit worth of assets” unless that meant more military field hospitals. Our healthcare was nearly brought to its knees dealing with ori Delta variant and Plus one is close to collapsing the public healthcare services in Singapore, where nearly all are vaccinated, imagine what it could do to us.
In this pandemic recovery period, money to boost healthcare needs and socioeconomics welfare and jump starting the economy with more Government projects should take priority, while more OPEX should be given to keep what we have still running notwithstanding those we are already mothballing. CAPEX would be pruned but priority must be given for current ongoing / urgent ones (ie LCS completion, the MDs).
I agree with you. I don’t think the LCS will get anymore budget soon. And I understand why Marhalim said 2025 is the earliest. The pandemic just made the LCS project even more worse. I do hope other on-going tenders will go smoothly. The MRSS can wait a bit more longer probably RMK13. Priority is to get UAVs, LMS, MPAs, radars and maybe pay half of the 18 LCA in RMK12.
Luqman – ” Priority is to get UAVs, LMS, MPAs, radars and maybe pay half of the 18 LCA in RMK12.”
Those are the bare basics we need to safeguard our maritime and air domain. Even that we’re getting in pathetic low numbers.
UAV – likely shortranged ones perhaps on lease, MALE would be unlikely
More LMS – unlikely for now
MPA – other than the MSI convert, maybe 1-2 more bought new
Radars – 1 gifted & 1 bought new
LCA – unlikely for now
It’s also not as if we have been or are planning to spend execessively on defence. As it stands, the MAF is under resourced,overstretched and barely able to meet peactime commitments. Underesourcing even further will not only result in caabilities being atrophied but more cash needed at a later date to rectify things.
We also have to ensure that we get the right value for what we pay, the fact we haven’t is thanks to our highly fawed policy and the disasterous roles local companies often play.
We have to prioritise. At a time when the challenges we face are in our air and maritime domain,its the RMN and RMAF which should get the bulk of the budget,not the army.
PAC & Auditor General have sounded out their concerns that our debts are reaching worrying levels, as much of it was used to stem the Covid tide and soften the blow to its economy, as revenue & taxes have taken a huge hit. Tourist money is halted, tax collection on the overall was badly hit either by deliberate via SST free car sales or by less businesses operating meant less taxes were collected. They also added funds for development are coming from borrowings & while this is common practiced in private sectors it could be an issue if it was the Government.
With such gloom, can we still have the luxury to spend billions on assets that would not dig us out of this quagmire, unless these are coming from healthy local defence industry that employs thousands of locals. IMHO spend the bare minimum to keep operations running as usual, improve staff welfare, and avoid big ticket items that have no utility purpose for now. IMHO for this RMK12, no LCA, no MRCA, no SPH, no Kedahs, no LMS, no MALE UAV, no ASW chopper. Yes to more utility choppers for all 3 Forces, yes to more radars, yes to MRSS but in 2024-25, complete the LCS, complete the MDs, more resources (ships, men, radars) for MMEA.