COMMENT | The defence minister, it goes without saying, must defend the sovereignty and security of the country. That much is obvious, even perfunctory.
Defence ministers must do what defence ministers do - protect and serve, in a manner not unlike the police, though with a bigger ambit to protect almost everything and everyone in Malaysia under the sky, and in the belly of the sea.
On certain occasions, our troops can also serve with the United Nations Command. We did so in Congo in the 1960s and again in Lebanon to keep people from going at each other's throats.
A recent news account in New Straits Times affirmed that several defence bloggers and military aficionados have criticised Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu's decision to be open and honest about the decrepit state of Malaysia’s defence assets - information which is widely known in Southeast Asia and East Asia anyway, since corruption has found its way into the marrows of the Malaysian government prior to the strategic electoral upset of May 9. It does make one wonder if these so-called "experts" are indeed specialists?
To begin with, honesty is the best policy in running a Defence Ministry, especially when one is coming from the quicksand of 1MDB, whose losses have easily reached an untraceable US$10 billion, if not higher.
Indeed, one hasn't even included the missing US$4.5 billion from the collection of the goods and services tax (GST).
Secondly, honesty has not led to any severe implication in the international marketplace too. Moody's, Standards and Poor’s and Fitch, to name but three, have not downgraded the ratings of Malaysia, despite its national debt and liabilities of US$250.9 billion.
Thus, if Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng can be open and candid about Malaysia's national debt, why shouldn't Mat Sabu - as Mohamad is popularly called - be the same...?