The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) today presented its report card on accomplishments and initiatives implemented throughout 2019 to ensure the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is in the best position to safeguard national security and sovereignty.
The 19-page report outlined four main elements, namely constructing a credible ATM, ensuring the country is free from external threats, upholding financial and procurement management integrity and preserving the wellbeing of ATM personnel and veterans.
Year 2019 witnessed the ministry, led by Mohamad Sabu, on Dec 2 created history after it tabled in Parliament a White Paper, outlining strategic directions and planning in national defence which was passed by the majority.
To establish a credible ATM, Mindef had undertaken efforts to enhance the readiness of its commands in any mission as well as strengthen national security through integrated operations with foreign agencies.
Mindef also undertook initiatives to strengthen security at the borders via combined and joint operations involving all three branches - Malaysian Army (Army), Royal Malaysian Air Force (RAMF) and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
To build a credible military force, it needs stable and sustainable financial allocations, as such the government had increased the allocation to the Ministry of Defence in the budget 2020 from RM13.9 billion (2019) to RM15.6 billion, an increase of 11.92 per cent (RM1.67 billion).
Besides that, the government will also increase ATM's role in the United Nations (UN) peace missions, particularly in the United Nations Interim Force Lebanon (UNIFIL) as well as the continuation of Malaysia's field hospital operations in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh until 2021.
The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2019 exhibition was also considered the best held in its history after about RM4 billion worth of contracts and agreements were signed during the exhibition.
To ensure the national defence is free from external threats, Mindef had strengthened the defence and security of Sabah via patrolling activities under the Trilateral Maritime Patrol; Trilateral Air Patrol and Maritime Air Patrol, apart from enhancing cybersecurity through the National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) and Cyber Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA).
To ensure the wellbeing of ATM personnel and veterans, the government allocated RM50 million to maintain and upgrade the Armed Forces Family Homes (RKAT), involving 2,062 units.
According to the report card, the ministry also established Yayasan Amanah ATM to provide education and welfare aid to its personnel and pensioners and associations.
They included RM500,500 special assistance to the ATM Veteran Association; one-off assistance of RM500 to the recipients of Pingat Jasa Malaysia that benefited 68,804 individuals totalling RM34,402 million; and RM250 ‘Bantuan Harapan Negara’ that was paid as a one-off to 146,316 ATM veterans amounting to RM73,517 million.
Meanwhile, the Tabung Pahlawan 2019 campaign also recorded a new history after it collected nearly RM110 million, surpassing the initial target of RM6 million.
The report card also stated Mindef's effort to create strategic collaboration between Armed Forces Ex-Servicemen Affairs Corporation (Perhebat) and government-linked companies, private entities and industries which saw 548 veterans were hired by private firms and 28 companies/employers under [email protected] platform. - Bernama