KUALA LUMPUR: The government should be willing to allocate a bigger defence budget in realising the country’s vision of self-reliance and improve its readiness to face security challenges.
Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-Santubong) in his speech during the debate on the Defence White Paper (DWP) said military allocations should be increased because the country had yet to possess the capability to produce weapons, among other things.
“We are capable of achieving the objectives stated in DWP, but with the condition that we work together on this, not for political mileage but instead, should be critical on examining it.
“I hope the defence minister (Mohamad Sabu) will be more daring in presenting the budget to the finance minister,” he said, citing cyber electromagnetic activities, mentioned in DWP.
Wan Junaidi questioned whether Malaysia had sufficient resources in terms of finance and expertise.
He also urged the government to consider reviving the Sarawak border scouts that would at the same time provide job opportunities to the locals, while educating them on military knowledge.
Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) in his debate speech asked whether the government had plans to base the defence budget on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as practised by some countries.
He said countries like Australia and the United Kingdom spent not less than two per cent of their respective GDPs on their militaries annually.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (BN-Sembrong), who is former defence minister, said the DWP lacked details on the ministry’s approach, direction and policies for the next 10 years.
“For example, veterans only get five-paragraph mention.
“And, they only included a wishlist of their assets but not how or when they plan to procure them,” he said.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu told a press conference later said that he would propose that the country’s military spending be set at one per cent of the country’s annual GDP.
“This was also agreed upon by the opposition MPs in the Dewan Rakyat today (yesterday),” he said.
Last year, Malaysia’s GDP stood at US$354.35 billion (RM1.48 trillion).
The government had increased the Defence Ministry’s allocation from RM13.9 billion this year to RM15.6 billion next year.