6th July 2019
HARRIS SALLEH’S STATEMENT ON DEFENCE AND SECURITY ISSUES SMACKS OF IGNORANCE
We wish to refer to Sabah’s Daily Express report dated Monday, 1st July in which former CM Sabah, Tan Sri Harris Salleh has called on MPs “to move a motion to review the role of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) so that the billions now being spent could be saved to rehabilitate the nation’s economy that had taken a severe beating through numerous scandals like the 1MDB, among others”.
Harris Salleh has listed several proposals on how to ‘demilitarised’ the MAF based on his skewed argument that Malaysia is not expected to go to war, hence the nation “only need sufficient force and asset to protect the nation’s borders while redirecting the rest to assist the government uplift and stabilise the rural village economy”.
Harris Salleh’s proposals were made without due consideration to the nation’s defence, security and strategic interests and needs. His consideration was based solely on the economic perspective, where he opined that by slashing on defence procurement of new assets, the savings accrued thereof could be redirected to alleviate the nation’s ailing economy, caused primarily by corrupt politicians and officials linked to politicians of the previous regime.
Harris Salleh lacks in-depth knowledge on how the MAF operates, its needs in the defence of the strategic interest of the nation that has impact on the economic and social development and the wellbeing of the nation. No nation is safe without relatively strong Armed Forces to safeguard and protect the nation’s economic interests. Let it be known that had there not be the Armed Forces and the Royal Malaysia Police in Sabah during the formative years, the country will not be what it is today.
His idea for the highly trained soldiers to be used as ‘security guards’ is ridiculous and insulting. Soldiers are not trained to be security guards. On the contrary, soldiers are trained to kill. On special missions, soldiers are even expected to give their lives for the nation.
There was also the proposal to sell off the two Scorpene submarines that Harris Salleh claimed, “they are just parked there and not taken out at all even for demonstration purposes while taxpayers have to folk out around RM1 billion yearly to maintain the 24 French personnel and submarines”. Submarine deployment is stealthy and even if Harris Salleh has eyes will not see.
His proposal for the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to be abolished is another ridiculous suggestion. Patriot’s assertion is for the Royal Malaysian Navy and MMEA to defend and ensure security of the nation’s vast maritime areas.
Patriot urges the Defence Ministry to come out with a statement to correct the arguments put forth made by Harris Salleh, who when he was in the government was silent on the 1MDB issue but now suddenly found his voice, relating to the Malaysian Armed Forces.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan