Budget 2023: Govt serious about national defence preparedness

KUALA LUMPUR: The increased allocation for defence in Budget 2023 shows the government’s seriousness in the level of national defence preparedness even though currently the country is facing global economic challenges.

International defence and safety expert Prof Dr Adam Leong Kok Wey said the RM4bil allocated for the purchase and maintenance of Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) assets will enable planning for the purchase of new and advanced assets as well as the strengthening of existing assets.

“The 2023 defence budget, which is higher than last year, proves that the government is focusing on national defence despite facing uncertain global economic challenges.

“This underlines the importance of national defence that must always be given attention as the strategic risk to the country never fades,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, defence analyst Dr Azmi Hassan said the RM118mil allocation to maintain the Armed Forces Family Home and RM42mil to refurbish the Royal Malaysia Police quarters announced in the Budget 2023 will help members of the national security forces enjoy a comfortable home and boost their morale.

Azmi said the welfare of the country’s uniformed teams and retirees needs to be looked after as they have served the nation and made many sacrifices for it.

He believes the welfare aspect such as good housing for uniformed members, especially the police and military, is more important than the acquisition of assets.

“It will indirectly raise the national security forces’ motivation in maintaining public order and national sovereignty,” he said.

In Budget 2023, presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Friday, the Home Ministry and Defence Ministry received a total of RM18.3bil and RM17.4bil respectively to further strengthen public order and national security.

With regard to the 50 per cent discount for public transportation to 21,000 MAF veteran and retired police cardholders, Azmi said although there was no specific incentive for MAF veterans and retired police personnel, however, discounts on Prasarana transportation is considered good news.

Through Budget 2023, the government will give a 50 per cent discount on public transport under the management of Prasarana to 21,000 MAF veteran and police retiree cardholders in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pahang and Penang.

Meanwhile, crime analyst Datuk Shahul Hamid Abdul Rahim called for the construction of 25 border control posts as announced on Friday to be implemented immediately.

He said the addition of new control posts in the waters off Sabah and Sarawak is very important as the two states are in close proximity to the Philippines and Indonesia.

“Calling for the new control posts there has been a long-standing call by security agencies but not implemented due to financial constraints,” he added.

In Budget 2023, Tengku Zafrul said the government will add 25 control posts, among others, for the General Operations Force, Immigration Department, Eastern Sabah Security Command, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in Serikin, Sarawak and Lahad Datu in Sabah. – Bernama