by Dzirhan Mahadzir - Defence Journalist on Thursday, 02 December 2010 at 22:27
Ok tks to Mudzaffar Alfian Bin Mustafa who posted the link to the excerpt on Dr. Kua’s book,
I’m going to give my thoughts on it and highlight certain points in italics, the intro is purely hyperbole and by the way if they wanted serious endorsements for the book, I’m surprised nobody ask the defence journalists in the country to review/comment/endorse J, guess we are not credible enough, ha-ha, anyway this para made me laugh:
The ‘Arms for Aid Scandal’ contains revelations in the British press on the RM5 billion arms deal in 1994 and is published here for the first time,
Umm how can something published in the British press already be published for the first time now, either I’m missing something or somebody got carried away with the hype. Anyway on to the excerpt
What RM1b Can Buy
Most of us do not realize the proportion of the country’s wealth being spent on arms, the commissions being paid for arms and in many cases, questionable purchases of such arms. Compare that with the gross shortage of schools and hospitals, public transport and other social services that so many Malaysians face and the obscenity of it all can be clearly seen.
For example, RM1 billion worth of arms is equivalent to building at least 100 hospitals or 1000 new schools or 10,000 new houses. Do you know that since Independence in 1957 – after more than 50 years - there has not been a single new Chinese or Tamil primary school built? In fact we had more Chinese and Tamil primary schools then (1,350 and 880 respectively) compared to the present (1285 and 550 schools respectively). And the population at Independence was only half what it is today!
But in one weekend alone in April 2010, the BN Government could justify spending RM10 billion on arms at the Kuala Lumpur Defence Fair. With that money, we could have built 1000 hospitals or 10,000 schools or 100,000 houses! The Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011-15) has allocated RM23 billion for defence and security.
Ok interesting that it mentions a portion of country’s wealth spent on arms but doesn’t throw in the fact, course that could be in the book, anyway we only spent around 2% of GDP on defence annually, as it is there’s a failure to mention that not all of the RM23 billion is actually spent on the armed forces, it says defence and security which includes the Police, MMEA, Home Affairs etc, at end of the day defence will probably only account somewhere around RM15 billion or so. Now we get into silly calculations that we if don’t buy arms we can build schools, houses, hospital etc, are we absolutely certain that such will occur, besides at end of day, there’s no saying the government won’t waste the money elsewhere. The other problem is that the money spent on defence is an insurance policy against the umpteen billions we could lose if we lose sovereignty over country or our natural resources, something all the idiots never take into account. Yes we can spend so much building everything for the people by not buying weapons but kinda pointless if they all get bombed etc because we don’t have any weapons to arm ourselves with. :)
As for the Chinese/Tamil primary schools, can we please show directly a link between defence spending and such not being built, there are so many reasons that this could have happened, and btw what happened to Malaysian Malaysia or whatever the pro-Pakatan groups like to say, are not ethnic based schools divisive? Sometimes some people speak with forked tongue if you ask me. :)
As for 10 billion at DSA, true but it’s not every weekend :) (and actually it was from Mon-Thurs so it’s in course of less than a week actually) but end of the day it looks like a large amount but keep in mind that 7-8 billion of that is the AV8 program which is going to be spread over several years and many of the contracts similarly will be spread over several years, the other problem is that military equipment is always expensive, no escaping that especially when we have to import and our exchange rate isn’t good.
Up to now, there has been a lack of public outcry over the size of the defence budget in Malaysia.
Erm, maybe because unlike some people, the public understands why we spend on defence, besides they love seeing shiny new fighter jets and tanks bearing the Malaysian flag on display :)
Thus, what is the purpose of this entire splurge on arms by the BN Government? Does it make sense in the light of the regional status quo and the state of our economic development?
In short yes :)
The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating. For example, does Malaysia’s acquisition of 18 Su-30MKM planes change the balance of power in the immediate region? This is doubtful since Thailand operates 57 F-16A/Bs & has 6 Gripens on order while Singapore has even more jet fighters including F-16C/Ds, F5s and F-15SGs on order.
So you are saying then we need to get more fighter jets to match our neighbours? Actually, we buy only to sufficiently defend our sovereignty not match our neighbours and what we can afford. I find it laughable to say an arms race is occurring, if it was, everytime our neighbors buy something, we would instantly buy something, so far not the case.
The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.
Rubbish, we get no respect if we do not have a serious military force. This is the kind of idiocy propagated by people who live in a cloud cuckoo land.
Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”.
Honestly, most of the time the military officers complain that they can’t get anything approved without the civilians and treasury, there’s no such thing as the top brass simply having unfettered access to money. This statement is disgusting as it seems to say that our senior military officers simply take money from the defence budget and spend it anyway they want.
An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries. In 1993, aerospace became a new strategic sub-sector of Malaysia’s manufacturing sector. This sector is both capital intensive and involves high technology
We’re developing it because it reduces our reliance on foreign suppliers, creates job locally and reduce costs.
With the burgeoning of a domestic military economy, we see class interest developing between the ruling elite and the top brass of the military. As it happens, there is now an extensive military automotive complex in the Prime Minister, Najib’s electoral constituency of Pekan with its layers of contractors, sub-contractors, servicemen and other gainfully employed.
Well Deftech is entitled to put its factory wherever it wants and employ whoever they want, that’s business and no law against it, besides there are plenty of defence companies with facilities located elsewhere than Pekan
We also find many retired generals and other officers of the armed forces in the directorships of many if not most of these local aerospace companies. This brings into focus questionable practices in the Malaysian civil and military services when we see top military and civil servants retiring into directorships of utility and arms companies.
True but caveat that this happens all over the world, and obviously people with expertise and connections are employed in management positions by companies wanting to make use of them, if we go on that arguments, people like Dr Kua can come under scrutiny since in the end they end up going to high positions in NGOs so question might be whether their activities relate to being actually concerned on issues or getting jobs/funding. In the end on the retired civil servants/ mil officers, parliament can pass a law restricting immediate employment upon retirement and having a cool-off period of several years but nobody seems to have thought of that.
Most military contracts come with purchase agreements involving local spin-offs.
Very bad thing as it provides employment for people in the country (sacarsm), think the issue should be pointing out whether these contracts were done in the interests of giving people/companies business when the equipment purchase was unnecessary or unsuitable. Of course with people like Dr. Kua, this is a problem when the defacto argument is that all military purchases unnecessary.
The significance of this domestic military-industrial complex to the composition of the ruling class, class relations, a right-wing tendency, patronage, employment and the outcome of elections cannot be underestimated.
Cripes, think someone better lay off the leftist talk, seriously retired military and the military overall have little effect on the political situation and if the military people vote BN, well that’s because BN leaders don’t disparage or insult our military publicly, this isn’t to say BN are doing well by the military, the fact that no one from the government turned up to send off our Afghan contingent was disgraceful in my opinion, I know because I was there at the event, but on the other hand while the BN leadership can sometimes be indifferent or not supporting of our military, at least they don’t slander or insult them so it’s not surprising that service personnel active or retired, tend to vote for them and at the end of the day, aren’t people allowed to choose who they vote, problem with left wing people who talk democracy is that if you don’t vote them, then that’s wrong. Personally I’m of the opinion that in an election, you have to accept who people vote in, so if the people elected Spongebob Squarepants or Barney the Dinosaur, I don’t have to like it but it is democracy and you have to accept that, by the way I’m also in favor of the PM job being a national vote rather than the majority party but then my problem with that is the fact that none of the current political party leaders would get my vote J.
OK End of Pt.1, Pt. 2 later as tomorrow I have an early morning assignement.
I will also repost the other parts once it is posted, but I really hope to see these thoughts reach the widest audience possible.