Monday, October 25, 2010

View From The Left Side Of The Speaker's Chair

What I'm going to write here is not entirely mine. The original article was written by Mr Dzirhan Mahadzir, a noted local defence correspondence who have written articles, inter alia, in Janes' Defence Review. His article is condensed, paraphrased and, where appropriate, given my own views here.

Basically, what he wrote about is on a well-known alternative media website whose views are decidedly to the left of the Dewan Rakyat Spekaer's chair (you know what I mean!) who despite their claim of being more 'transparent', was not entirely so. So, here's what the MPs and that website (OK, its Malaysiakini) said, and Mr Mahadzir's view on that matter to which I agree.

MK: Total defence spending since 1987 is RM180 billion - the government squandered it on purchasing military equipments (membazir!!!). Despite that, the ATM do not have the ability to fight a war.
DM: Roughly 65% of that sum is actually for OPERATING costs (maintenance, salaries, fuel, other day-to day operating costs) and they forgot the increasing fuel prices too! Whilst the total sum is quite high, it only amounts to roughly RM2.7 billion per year..peanuts really. And as for the military not being able to fight, well as Dzirhan said, if the yardstick is the ability to invade and occupy China, then we fail. But he is (and I am) confident that the ATM is able to fight off invaders when required.

MK : The MINDEF has unlimited purhasing ability. Just snap their fingers and they get their money.
DM : As everybody actually knows (and many choose to forget), government purchasing procedure is one of the most leceh in the world. In many cases, major spending would require the consent of the PM and the Cabinet. Even then it would require the final approval from the Treasury/Finance Minister. Despite citing spending from 1987, Malaysiakini tend to only concentrate on the time period from 2000- today (when the position of the Finance Minister was held by the PM) and conveniently ignored the period before that (when the Finance Minister was a certain someone whose first name is 'Anwar')

MK: KD TAR's inability to dive is proof of bad purchase. Plus we can save costs buy buying PRC-made missiles. Cheap and easy matter what?
DM: MK failed to diffrentiate between purhasing matters and operational matters. As stated before the problem faced by KD TAR is normal among submarine users, not proof that we bought a pig boat. As for the installation of Chinese made missiles, I believe it will get more expensive, rather than cheaper...not to mention the bugs!

MK : The Public Accounts Committee merely rubberstamps the government; Pakatan states that there is a need for a bipartisan committee to investigate matters (such as the Eurocopter deal)
DM: PAC IS a bipartisan committee (a case of someone who knows but choose to forget?). Besides, what would make them see things they did not see in PAC if a new committee is formed? Somehow this reminds me of Star Wars Episode I ("I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee!")

MK : The government buys overpriced equipment and that the government did not follow the usual government purhasing norms (buy cheapest!)
DM : Cheapest does not mean the best, or fulfilling the rquirements of the user - cheapest option is not always the RIGHT option. As my brother has pointed out, even buying tyres for your vehicle depends on a number of factors! Defence deals vary based on the logistics, equipment attached, tech transfer, logistics, support and other ancillary options. You simply can't find the average cost by dividing the total cost with the number of items purchased and use good ole Google to compare the price. In spite of those factors, the Opposition did exactly that when questioning the purchase of the Eurocopter EC725 Cougar. They simply questioned why the Barzilian government buys them at a cheaper price without checking the specifications and the ancillary options taken by both governments.

Dizrhan's assesment was that rather than giving a honest appraisal on defence issues, Malaysiakini merely continues to give their biased, anti-government views...which I concur!


Hairil Rizal said...

Those from the left side of the speaker's chair is usually found playing with issues only on the surface..they're just not prepared to go deep sea diving actually!

mumuchi said...

You don't want to comment on what DM commented on the left side's defence budget? That is another hair-raising albeit with laughter matter!