WWB The Next Home and Defence Ministers

RMAF Paskau operators armed with silencer-equipped MP5 submachine guns showing off their skills to Royal Brunei Air Force commander during a recent visit to the RMAF base in Banting. RMAF

SHAH ALAM: Who will be the next Home and Defence Ministers? DS Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister on November 24. His next task is of course to form the cabinet from the unity government made of the coalition parties – PH, BN, GPS and others.

As the parliament is to convene on December 19 to discuss – among others the confidence vote and mini budget – it is likely Anwar will spend the next two weeks or so to fill up his Cabinet. While Anwar has stated that the Cabinet will be filled with technocrats, it is likely the national security portfolios – home and defence – will be handed to rank-and-file politicians.

A Paskal operator armed with a MP5 sub-machine gun during a training exercise in 2017. TLDM

From the coalition parties, there are at least four former defence ministers – Mohamad Sabu, Ismail Sabri, Hishammuddin Hussein and Zahid Hamidi. As Zahid has to defend himself in a CBT trial, he can be ruled out from contention. Hishammuddin who was also adamant in not wanting to support PH to become the government, can also be ruled out. Ismail being the PM9 is also unlikely to return to his former job.
A GGK trooper with his well worn MP-5 submachine gun. BTDM picture taken on 4 Nov 2020 during the PTD visit to Kem Iskandar

Apart from the ministers, two current MPs – Liew Chin Tong and Shafie Afdal – are also former deputy defence ministers and could also be seen as candidates for Jalan Padang Tembak. Malaysian Defence is against Chin Tong though, for his defence of Mat Sabu’s former political secretary prior to his appointment to the post.
GGK officer with his M4 carbine at a recent exercise with Indonesian SF troopers. BTDM

The political secretary was later charged with graft. Current Google search has not shown what happened to the case but I was told that he was found guilty and fined. This should also rule out Mat Sabu’s return to Jalan Padang Tembak.
Mat Sabu inspecting the honour guard at Kementerian Pertahanan after his appointment as Defence Minister on May 22, 2018.

Being a Sabahan and the Semporna MP, Shafie fit my suggestion earlier for a Sabahan or Sarawakian to be chosen for the national security portfolio. However, at 66, Malaysian Defence finds him unsuitable for the job. That said PM10 might think otherwise.
Hishammuddin with a sniper rifle
Hishammuddin trying out the Bushmaster 7.62 semi-automatic sniper rifle when he was the Home Minister in 2010 .

As for the Home minister post, Malaysian Defence is stumped. There are too many candidates in the coalition to choose from. Both Hishammuddin and Zahid were former Home Ministers but again their candidacy and even selection are doubtful for reasons I mentioned above.
An F-35A Lightning II aircraft, from No. 75 Squadron during a routine pre-flight inspection for Exercise Elangaroo 22 held at RMAF Butterworth Air Base, Malaysia.

So as usual my guess is as good as yours.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

40 Comments

  1. Overall I kinda fancy Liew Chin Tong as menhan. He’s academic like thought processes & opening up conversation about defense posture to the public is pretty much appreciated. But I doubt he get it as defense minister post is a senior position one usually reserved for senior members of a party.

    Shafie isn’t a bad choice per say. he’s from east Sabah and east Sabah is one of the country concerns and most of our fixes on the east Sabah font is enacted through a KL lenses rather than the local perspective.

  2. Thank God for the King. The only adult in all this who managed to sort of the mess. Will the Defence White Paper now be revived?

  3. There is no need to revive it, its basically an official document until 2030. The problem with the DWP is there is no money tied to it so the government can technically ignore it

  4. Well we will end up with the like of Khaled Nordin..If we are lucky maybe Ismail Sabri again.LoL

  5. Zaft – ”I kinda fancy Liew Chin Tong as menhan.”

    I don’t know if I ” kinda fancy Liew Chin Tong as menhan” but he did say stuff which should have been said : the need to review the vendor system; the need for Jointness; the need to have a look at the army’s tooth to tail ratio and whether there is a right balance between combat and supporting arms; the need for the RMAF and RMN to gain priority; etc.

    Ultimately we can have Buzz Lightyear as the Defence Minister but what is overall policy? How much of a priority is defence for the PM and cabinet? Will the PM come under pressure from the local industry to stay the course?

  6. I hope the Unity Government would nominate Mej Jen (R) Dato Hj Mohd Khlir from PN (MP Ketereh), as the new MenHan.

    Let the right person be in the right place.

  7. Marhalim, sorry but it appear uncharacteristic of you to be so vocal directly on who should or should not be on the jobs. I wonder what has changed your stance if I may ask.

    As for Zahid, he will not settle for ciku jobs, his eyes are at the very near top position as the kingmaker of Anwar. Court case? Many expects it would be gone soon now that PH won the arm twisting.

    Menhan? LGE kot haha! I expect his court case will also disappear soon enough, again.

  8. Nothing changed, really. Just tired of writing I told you so stories, already. And I did say it was not a good idea for Hishammudin to return to ministry when Ismail Sabri took over from Muhyiddin.

  9. PN has stated today that they will not be part of the unity government. So its unlikely any MP from the coalition will be chosen as minister

  10. At least PN has their stand and they were consistent with it. BN and PH on the other hand…. I can see why the middle ground Malays had abandoned both parties.

  11. the Malaysia DWP is like what it said it just a paper with no timeline or monetary commitments unlike AUS version

    typical malaysia style copy the front page but skipped what the fundamental parts

  12. A PN MP could still be elected as MinDef it’s possible but I don’t think so since this is a unity government there are a lot of candidates in PH,BN,GPS or even GRS. From what i heard home minister will be saifuddin nasution as a senator because he lost the election. For mindef might be khaled nordin. With this new gov i hope they will settle the LCS issues for good.

  13. There is no way a PN MP would or could join the Anwar Ibrahim administration. He or she need to cross over party lines which would result in him or her losing the parliamentary seat due to the Anti Hopping Law. That is how BN could muster enough support for the AI administration. Their MPs have to abide their party order.

  14. At least PN has their stand and they were consistent with it. BN and PH on the other hand…. I can see why the middle ground Malays had abandoned both parties.(Joe)
    I agree.

  15. I wouldn’t mind seeing PH putting Senator Khairy as Menhan.

    a) proving his worth in a new portfolio. can he rout out the scandals in Mindef caused by former UMNO ministers?

    b) giving him chance to show his leadership capabilities, and help him move up the UMNO leadership ladder.

  16. Azlan “How much of a priority is defence for the PM and cabinet? Will the PM come under pressure from the local industry to stay the course?”

    Not the way you like it I guess.

    PH unlike PN never promised an increase in defense spending. Their manifestos use words like single agency or jointness or procurement reform. Which is buzz words for no increase in budget

    They also the one that draw up the national defence industrial plan during their last stinks and they continue to promise it now.

  17. Khairy is with the Perikatan faction. No way he will want to accept such betrayal unlike his superiors who needed to save their skins.

  18. Khairy is with BN

    Technically they are together with PH forming the government, so he can be a senator and appointed as a minister.

    He needs to be a minister for his chances to go up the UMNO leadership ladder, rather than just a normal UMNO member.

    Also he technically can jump ship as he is not an MP and not covered by the anti-hopping law.

  19. zaft – PH unlike PN never promised an increase in defense spending.

    I’m not really bothered about an increase in the budget but a fundamental revamp because without a revamp we’ll continue not to get the best value for what we spend and we’ll have an MAF whose capabilities don’t reflect all we’ve spent on it.

    zaft – ”Their manifestos use words like single agency or jointness or procurement reform.”

    That was from a former Deputy Defence Minister; jointness; revamp of the vendor system; rethinking the army’s tooth to tail ratio; etc – all very vital but often overlooked.

  20. @kakadu
    Read what I wrote. While yes he is in BN, he is part of the Perikatan faction inside as opposed to Zahid & Co siding with PH. As with H2O and I.Sabri, they would not want to be allied with the side they were supposedly fighting tooth & nail just a couple of weeks ago. His image in UMNO grassroots would be far more damaging if he’d were to accept a ministerial offer (Senator much less so), as many were opposed to the Court Cluster and showed their displeasure in the votes.

    Anyhow I doubt it will go to a politician who didn’t even win his seat, as more likely it will go to any of the party heads; Mat Sabu even.

    “all very vital but often overlooked”
    All talk but no action is just as pointless. Politicians are good at that but that’s not what we elected them for.

  21. Clearly any PM should be in good rapport with all his cabinet members

    Down to civil servants, especially with the two most important ministry; MoF and KEMENTAH, since we are talking about the improvement and development in defence matters.

    Political inclination aside, DS Johari Abd Ghani for kewangan and Tok Mat for pertahanan looks promising enough.

  22. Individual minister could help but what set the diplomatic & defense tone is the PM. Thus What’s needed is for the PM to further warming out the ties with the US ala Scott Morrison the improvement in defense would come naturally.

    Thought it would probably come at the cost to our economy

  23. @kakadu
    Read what I wrote. While yes he is in BN, he is part of the Perikatan faction inside.
    Anyhow I doubt it will go to a politician who didn’t even win his seat, as more likely it will go to any of the party heads; Mat Sabu even.

    “all very vital but often overlooked”
    All talk but no action is just as pointless. Politicians are good at that but that’s not what we elected them for.

  24. @Zek MR
    It would be politically suicidal for Anwar if all 3 top postings; DPM, FinMin, & Menhan are given to BN/UMNO. You don’t sleep with your back to the wall and your enemies at the other 3 sides rite?

    @Zaft
    You don’t have to worry about Anwar’s ties with USA. They been back him all the way for decades since 1997. He wouldn’t be where he is (ergo our political landscape wouldn’t be where we are), if it weren’t for them and Regime Change doctrine.

    I just hope he would use that ties to ACTUALLY benefit Malaysia and smooch of Uncle Sam for more free gifts & special treatment; radars & ISR drones, personnel equipment (scopes, armour, NVG, radios), Tier 1 ally price for F35 buy in, Javelins… lotsa Javelins & Stingers.

  25. Anwar could give DPM to GPS, FinMin would clearly be DAP seat.

    As of KJ as minister (yes MENHAN would be a good post for him) for BN, he is a safe bet, as he is not really from the big 2 factions (Zahid or PN) inside UMNO. He is also an active Wataniah soldier, so he knows quite a bit about the military.

    Things that could benefit malaysia from uncle sam
    – J-LTV for TD
    – TPS-77 air defence radar for TUDM
    – Excess Defence Article Blackhawks for TD PUTD
    – Ex Afghan Army MD530F for TD PUTD
    – Precision Guided Artillery Fuses for TD
    – Excess Defence Article USMC 120mm rifled mortar and ammunitions for TD
    – Upgrades for Hornets, especially the AESA radar, paid for by Maritime Security Initiative (if possible) for TUDM
    – Excess Defence Article ASW Seahawks for TLDM
    – Quickstrike naval mine fuse for TUDM
    – Excess Defence Article CB-90 Riverine Command Boat (RCB) boats for TLDM
    – Excess Defence Article USMC RQ-21A Blackjack UAV for TLDM
    – Excess Defence Article M113 with M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) trailer for TD RAJD
    – Excess Defence Article boats and ships for MMEA

    Javelins & Stingers, I would prefer the much more modern and cheaper Korean Raybolt & Chiron.

  26. ”All talk but no action is just as pointless. ”

    Really? Given that he was the Deputy Minister [didn’t implement policy]; had a boss who was not on the same page and was in the government whose priorities lay elsewhere; what would you have expected him to have done?

    Appreciate the ”talk but no action” cliche but discourse is important even if certain things can’t be implemented. Credit when due; never mind that I have a disdain for politicians in general but stuff like revamping the vendor system; more jointness; the need for more supporting assets to fully complement combat arms; the need for the RMN and RMAF to have priority in funding; etc; must be said and discussed especially when we have an environment in which things which are not politically correct or expedient are not discussed…

  27. @hulubalang
    Many of those EDAs are well used stuff so unless we get enough to treat them like disposable diapers and not needing to spend excessive monies to keep them working, I’m all for it. Otherwise better to just buy new, preferably with Tier 1 ally pricing.
    “Korean Raybolt & Chiron.”
    Javelins & Stingers, to parlay a term well used here, are more battleproven and USA has more resources to restock in quick notice.

    “what would you have expected him to have done?”
    Given his boss was a buffoon, I’d expected him to take a more active role in formulating policies, convincing his boss/es to approve it, and pushing them out. His boss can take the credit and be the ‘face’ for it. Action speaks louder than words but so far I only see he is the typical politician of talk only. Deputies are not as powerless if they want to be, especially if they have an incapable boss. Those who going gaga over him, I’d like to ask; what effective change exactly did he bring to the ministry?

  28. ” I’d expected him to take a more active role in formulating policies,”

    There is a hierarchy as you’re aware or not; a chain of command so to speak. Deputies need the go ahead and cooperation of their immediate superiors who in turn need the same from their superior who if you noticed during the same period was focused on various issues with defence being at the very bottom of priorities; Deputy Ministers have no direct say in formulating or directing policy.

    ” Action speaks louder than words but so far I only see he is the typical politician of talk only.”

    Show me a politician who isn’t with regards to defence issues. ”Action speaks louder than words” – yes another cliche but I’d rather look at the pertinent circumstances.

    ”Those who going gaga over him”

    You’d have to ask those ”who going gaga over him”. As for me as I said; credit when due; he said some things which should have been said long ago and which should continue to be said.

    ” what effective change exactly did he bring to the ministry?”

    To be a devil’s advocate they were in power for 22 months and if they had stayed in power longer he might have influenced some changes; we have no idea of knowing thus I will not make blanket statements or form conclusions based on what I don’t know.

  29. hulubalang – ”He is also an active Wataniah soldier, so he knows quite a bit about the military.”

    Whether he formerly commanded 6th SS Panzer Army in Hungary or the Tawalkana Division in Iraq the fact that prior military experience might not make a difference with regards to effectively his job.

    hulubalang – ”– Excess Defence Article Blackhawks for TD PUTD’

    Most are high mileage.

    hulubalang – ”Ex Afghan Army MD530F for TD PUTD”

    Does the Army Air Corps actually have a requirement for anymore?

    hulubalang -”Excess Defence Article boats and ships for MMEA”

    The MMEA already has a very high logistical/support footprint on account of the plethora of various different and aged ships operated. It would be very selective in getting more ships with zero commonality.

    hulubalang – ”I would prefer the much more modern and cheaper Korean Raybolt & Chiron.”

    ”I would prefer” for ATGWs to be issued to more units; rather than a select few.

    hulubalang – ”Excess Defence Article USMC 120mm rifled mortar and ammunitions for TD”

    And have two different 120mm mortars in the army with two different FCSs : no thank you. Also, we have a preference for non towed systems; for good reason.

    hulubalang – ”Precision Guided Artillery Fuses for TD”

    Great but to effectively deploy it the Royal Artillery Corps would have to make certain needed changes; namely improving its ability to detect, fix and hit both observed and unobserved targets with as little delay as possible.

  30. joe,

    EDA=getting them for free or nearly free.

    That is the point of getting EDA anyway. We are clearly not a country that is currently flush with money, so better get as much EDA as possible, from a country that have such a programme. If we need to use our cold hard cash, rather go for a cheaper stuff and those who could take palm oil for trade, like south korea. Raybolt for example, costs just 1/3rd of the Javelin.

  31. @joe

    Of course without BN, there would be no anwar as PM

    Just look at how things was going on in the formation of the latest Pahang government,
    and DUN Tioman seat where PH gave full supports to BN candidate.

    And Bang Nuar was also from UMNO, expelled by Tun M without Anwar’s willingness back in 1998.

    Who knows he will be filling up the umno membership form not so far in the near future.. hehe

  32. Azlan,

    “I would prefer for ATGWs to be issued to more units; rather than a select few”
    Getting cheaper Raybolts instead of javelins can achieve the want for ATGWs to be issued to more units.

    “And have two different 120mm mortars in the army with two different FCSs”
    The USMC MO-120-RT mortar (the system in its totality has been retired by USMC) is a towed version of the exact mortar we install in the Adnan and Gempita. Which is why I suggested it in the first place. Not many countries use rifled 120mm system, and now the rifled ammo for those 120mm USMC mortar is not in use in any other US Forces. US Army uses the different 120mm smoothbore system. If not the mortar itself, we could always EDA request for its ammo.

  33. Hulubalang – “is a towed version of the exact mortar we install in the Adnan and Gempita”

    It’s towed – the original Thomson Brandt design. Does the army want towed systems? Doubt it. We first expressed a requirement for a towed system in the late 1990’s but that got ditched and we went for the Expals instead. STRIDE got a single towed system from Slovakia which was supposed to be the basis for a lightweight towed 120mm mortar.

  34. The slovak 120mm mortar is a smoothbore mortar. All active 120mm mortar malaysia has is rifled. Totally different ammunition.

    What can we do with free EDA ex-USMC 120mm rifled mortar systems?
    – we can use the ammunition for our 2R2M Self Propelled Mortars (Adnan & Gempita)
    – barrels of the mortar are the same. We can use the barrels as spare parts for our 2R2M mortars.
    – equipping East Malaysia units. Additional firepower for East Malaysian units in our quest to be able to do 2 fronts at the same time.

  35. @hulubalang
    Many of those EDAs are well used stuff so unless we get enough to treat them like disposable diapers and not needing to spend excessive monies to keep them working, I’m all for it. Otherwise better to just buy new, preferably with Tier 1 ally pricing.

    “Korean Raybolt & Chiron.”
    Javelins & Stingers, to parlay a term well used here, are more battleproven and USA has more resources to restock in quick notice.

  36. “what would you have expected him to have done?”
    Given that boss was a proverbial buffoon, I’d expected him to take a more active role in formulating policies, convincing his boss/es to approve it, and pushing them out. His boss can take the credit and be the ‘face’ for it. Action speaks louder than words but so far I only see he is the typical politician of talk only. Deputies are not as powerless if they want to be, especially if they have an incapable boss.

  37. hulubalang – ”Totally different ammunition.”

    I’m aware of that but thank you; I just mentioned it in passing.

    hulubalang – ”What can we do with free EDA ex-USMC 120mm rifled mortar systems?”

    No sales pitch is required as to the virtues of getting additional tubes. My question still stands : does the army see a need for a towed system?

    hulubalang – ”Additional firepower for East Malaysian units in our quest to be able to do 2 fronts at the same time.”

    Let’s face it. We can only deal with 2 simultaneous very low intensity threats; even if our firepower was significantly increased. We don’t have the operational reserves in the event we need to replace losses; we don’t have a favorable ratio when it comes to combat arms and supporting assets; we only have limited stockpiles of essential consumables; etc.

  38. ”I’d expected him to take a more active role in formulating policies, convincing his boss/es to approve it, ”

    You know for a fact he didn’t try? I don’t but if you do…

    ”Deputies are not as powerless if they want to be, especially if they have an incapable boss.”

    We can spin this as far as you’d like but as I said : ”There is a hierarchy as you’re aware or not; a chain of command so to speak. Deputies need the go ahead and cooperation of their immediate superiors who in turn need the same from their superior who if you noticed during the same period was focused on various issues with defence being at the very bottom of priorities; Deputy Ministers have no direct say in formulating or directing policy.”

    I will only comment on what I know. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes but I do know he did actually speak to the service chiefs on certain issues and I do know that for him to have went further would have required the cooperation and backing of his boss. As such I won’t hastily apply the ”Action speaks louder than words” for the simple reason that I don’t know all that happened.

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