Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (seated 3rd-right, front row) and Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (seated left, front row) listen as Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (centre) tables the 2020 Budget at Parliament. -NSTP/Eizairi Shamsudin

KUALA LUMPUR: Fast interceptor crafts have been given top priority to safeguard the Sabah coastline, under 2020 Budget’s defence allocation.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, when tabling the budget today said in the interests of the nation’s sovereignty, the government would increase the Defence Ministry’s allocation from RM13.9 billion (in 2019) to RM15.6 billion next year.

“The key focus going forward will be to enhance defence readiness, such as by improving the Armed Forces mobility.

“Enhanced readiness includes meeting the changing nature of threats, such as having fast interceptor craft for safeguarding the waters of Sabah,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

In valuing the sacrifice and heroism of the armed forces, 70,000 Pingat Jasa Malaysia recipients (those who served during the Emergency periods, Confrontation with Indonesia and the communist insurgency era) will get a one-off payment of RM500, under a RM35 million allocation.

Also, non-pensionable veterans will be paid RM250 each, just like for government retirees.

In an immediate response, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said his ministry received the fifth largest allocation, up by 12 per cent.

Of the total RM15.6 billion defence allocation, he said RM12.5 billion was for management expenditure, while RM3.08 billion was for development expenses.

“We have also been allocated RM150 million to repair and maintain family houses of military personnel,” he said.

On the disbursement of the special allowances for PJM recipients and non-pensionable veterans, Mohamad said the Armed Forces Veterans Affairs Department would undertake the payments.

“However, I wish to stress that only living PJM recipients will be eligible and no payments will be accorded to the deceased next-of-kin.

“Likewise, serving personnel will only receive the PJM allowance upon retirement,” he said.

Meanwhile the Home Ministry’s allocation was strengthened from RM15.6 billion (in 2019) to RM16.9 billion for next year.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that overall, he felt that the budget was comprehensive, covering all areas.

“As meant under the joint prosperity, the allocation provides for all communities living in rural and urban areas, the poor, young and the like.

“It is proof that the Pakatan Harapan government is caring and benefitting all,” he said.

On the welfare of the police, Muhyiddin said that the allocation was long awaited, towards enhancing the quality of service and their morale.

The People's Volunteer Corps or Rela will enjoy a higher allowance of RM2 per hour beginning from Jan 1, under an additional allocation of RM26 million.

In recognition of their 24-hour service, all 14,400 Fire and Rescue Deparment personnel will receive a special allowance of RM200 a month, amounting to RM35 million.

For your effort and dedication, the Government would like to announce a special payment of RM500 for civil servants Grade 56 and below.

As for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, an additional 100 personnel will be recruited.

The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) will go ahead, while the Malaysian Ombudsman will replace the Public Complaints Bureau.

RM50 million has been allocated to enhance detention procedures and facilities, and the installation of 11,500 closed circuit television (CCTV) units in police detention centres and immigration entry points.