Do Not Belittle The Role Of The Armed Forces

I am in complete agreement with the 13 August 2019 statement by the Deputy Minister of Defence, YB Senator Liew Chin Tong on the role of Malaysia’s Armed Forces.
As I have stressed on many occasions, the one and only job of Malaysia’s serving men and women should be to defend our country and its people.
It is also certainly not true, as some have allegedly claimed,
The statement by Koon Yew Yin that that our military personnel are “…doing nothing except eating and sleeping,” does not only belittle the role of our soldiers but is entirely untrue.
I take note of his statement of apology.
Proposals to use our military for political or extraneous purposes should be firmly rejected.
The country does not need unsolicited, hare-brained ideas on how to utilise its armed forces.
Rather, what is needed is wise policies and public support to maintain and upgrade their professionalism; as well as to ensure the welfare of the men and women who keep our nation safe.


Welcoming The Re-Opening Of Purchase Of Submarines

There have been media reports that the authorities have re-opened investigations into the controversial 2002 purchase of the two French Scorpene submarines.

This highly-welcome development vindicates years of work—not only by Pakatan Harapan figures—but also members of the media and civil society, who sought to expose the truth about the deals in the face of great adversity.

If the case has indeed been re-opened, the authorities must carry out the new investigations with all due dispatch and charge any party they believe is guilty of wrongdoing.

Moreover, the Pakatan Harapan government should recommit itself to ensuring greater transparency and accountability when it comes to defence and indeed, all forms of government procurement.

It should identify, publicise and implement measures to ensure that our taxpayer ringgits are not wasted and that our serving men and women are adequately equipped to defend our land.

The sorry, sordid saga of the Scorpene submarines should never be repeated again.


Hishamuddin’s Claims Born Out Of Desperation And Prejudice

Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein claimed that certain parties are using so-called ‘foreign powers’ against UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

This attack is merely born out of desperation and prejudice.

This is a serious allegation and should not be used merely to shore up vested interests.

We are not the ones closing down military bases and selling the land to foreign parties. We are not giving exclusive rights to foreign powers to develop important infrastructure.

I am confident that Malaysian voters will be able to judge for themselves who is really acting against the nation.


Najib’s meeting with Trump raises many questions

Prime Minister Najib Razak has met with US President Donald Trump.

The primary issue is what the trip has accomplished for the country’s interests.

It was reported by the White House that before his bilateral meeting with President Trump, Najib said that “…we want to help you in terms of strengthening the U.S.”

This apparently includes increasing the number of Boeing planes to be purchased by Malaysia Airlines, by the EPF investing “three to four additional billion dollars to support your (i.e. Trump) infrastructure redevelopment in the United States” and for Khazanah Nasional to also increase its investments in Silicon Valley high-tech companies.

Again, a number of questions arise from this. Why should Malaysia want to strengthen the US? What impact could we have in any case? At the same time, it is also very strange for us to be investing in US infrastructure while seeking investment for our own projects from China.

It is also significant that—although he quite rightly stated that Malaysia is “…committed to fight Daesh, IS, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf – you name it”—based on the abovementioned White House readout, the Palestinian and Rohingya issues were apparently not mentioned in this conference.

One cannot help but wonder whether an opportunity was missed for Najib – as a Southeast Asian, Muslim and developing world leader – to raise these issues while the eyes of the world was on him and President Trump.

Why – given his apparent championship of these issues – did he not speak out on these crises withTrump?

The Washington Post has also reported that the Prime Minister stayed in the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. How much did this stay cost the Malaysian taxpayer?

Moreover, it must be pointed out that President Trump still owns an interest in the hotel through a revocable trust. This arrangement has been criticised by US civil society and media, as it allegedly allows the President to draw money from his businesses.

The question then arises as to whether it was appropriate for the Malaysian delegation to have been housed in the hotel.
Najib and his administration need to answer these questions.

Hishamuddin should urge corruption investigation on 1MDB, LTAT and Scorpene

I read with interest the statement from Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein regarding his willingness to be investigated for claims of corruption against him.

This is a bold statement by the Minister which should be commended as such openness and accountability is rare in the current administration.

As the Defense Minister, it is pertinent that he extends such openness to clarify on some legacy issues attached to his portfolio and comment on scandals such as the billion ringgit Scorpene submarine scandal which was carried out during Prime Minister Najib Razak’s tenure as the Defense Minister.

That scandal has smeared our international reputation, along with 1MDB. Two executives relating to the Scorpene deal has been indicted by French authorities. 1MDB, which emerged during the tenure of Najib as Prime Minister and Finance Minister is attracting legal action in Switzerland, Singapore, the US and Australia.

1MDB has negatively impacted on our army veterans who had to contend with delayed gratuity payments due to LTAT’s exposure to 1MDB’s business. The rakyat suffers a double whammy as they are being squeezed by the economy.