KUALA LUMPUR – Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu today tabled a white paper to chart Malaysia’s defence plans for the next 10 years, citing increasing terrorism threats, the military tension in the South China Sea, cybersecurity attacks, and a rise in human and drug trafficking.
He said while the tension between the US and China continues, Southeast Asian countries also have an impact on Malaysia.
“Apart from territorial disputes, Malaysia’s interests in the region are also influenced by several other bilateral issues which could see overlapping demands, the spillover effect of neighbouring internal conflicts, and the refugee crisis triggered by countries’ domestic issues,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.
He said Malaysia also faces non-traditional threats across its borders including the threat of terrorism and extremism which he said is on the rise.
He said the magnitude and shape of the threats are in line with current developments in neighbouring countries, speaking of fighters returning to Southeast Asia and forging links with local terrorists.
He also spoke of efforts to spread Islamic State narratives which could influence lone wolf attacks.
Mohamad, popularly known as Mat Sabu, also referred to cyberspace as “the new domain of national security and geopolitics”.
He said space has the potential to disrupt national security without the need for perpetrators to resort to physical actions.
“Advances in technology such as the internet of things, cloud computing, big data, deep learning, 5G technology and artificial intelligence have exposed military operations to cyber threats,” he added.
He also referred to security threats in Malaysia’s maritime zone, saying non-traditional threats related to abductions, illegal fishing activities, drug smuggling, human trafficking, while decreasing, still pose a real challenge to authorities.
Mohamad also spoke on climate change which may see Malaysia being affected by natural disasters, threatening its safety, health and development.
To protect the nation’s borders, he said, integrated layer areas will be observed at all times. The first includes the terrain on the mainland as well as in Sabah and Sarawak, the waterfront and the airspace.
More advanced areas include sovereign rights such as the maritime zone, strategic waterways, airspace and critical communications links and locations that extend beyond these areas as part of national interests.
He said an important part of the armed forces’ future development is long-term investment in improving assets and equipment, to have a knowledge-based workforce and relevant skills among armed forces personnel.
These include developing cyber electromagnetic activity capabilities, and improving intelligence and monitoring.
Mohamad said the government also wants to develop better operations, have better satellite communications to enhance command and control capabilities, and increase maritime combat capabilities.
As for land, he said the white paper seeks to improve mobility, communications and logistics capabilities.
He said the government will continue to look after the welfare of military veterans as a token of appreciation for their sacrifices.
“The government’s main focus is to enhance the socio-economic status of veterans through second career opportunities and other social needs such as healthcare and related assistance including living expenses and schooling.”
Mohamad said the government will continue to give priority to countries in the Asean region by encouraging stability and peace.
The white paper also seeks to introduce a new approach to science and technology by making it a catalyst for the defence ecosystem and national economic growth. – FMT
IPCMC debate will go on tomorrow, says Liew
THE Dewan Rakyat will tomorrow debate a parliamentary select committee’s findings on the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), said Liew Vui Keong, despite calls for a delay.
“Parliament Special Select Committee for the Consideration of Bills chairman Ramkarpal Singh will table his report to be debated in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow,” the de facto law minister told a press conference at the Parliament lobby.
“After that debate, Ramkarpal will conduct the winding-up debate.”
It will be the first time a non-minister MP conducts the winding-up debate, as well as the first time Parliament debates a select committee’s report on a new bill.
Lawmakers will vote on the bill after the debate, said Liew.
“I will then table the bill for the third reading (committee stage) if the bill is passed. There are now 37 changes (13 additional changes from the select committee).”
He said this has never been done before, adding that it is a continuation of the parliamentary process after the bill was referred to the select committee midway into its second reading in October.
On October 7, the Dewan Rakyat decided to refer the IPCMC bill to the select committee after lawmakers from both sides of the divide complained about not being given enough time to debate it.
This followed a move to make 24 changes to the bill before it was brought to the committee stage.
The bill, originally drafted by a royal commission of inquiry to improve the police force in 2005, was rejected by the previous Barisan Nasional government.
BN introduced a defanged oversight body, called the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, instead.
IPCMC was mooted again after Pakatan Harapan won the general election last year.
Among police’s concerns is that IPCMC would not only get to investigate complaints on members of the force, but also mete out punishment.
Civil society activists have been pushing hard for its formation following cases of abuse and death in custody, and lack of accountability by cops, with the “enforced disappearance” of pastor Raymond Koh and Perlis Hope activist Amri Che Mat cited as examples.
The Special Select Committee for the Consideration of Bills is led by Ramkarpal (PH-Bukit Gelugor). Its other members are Rusnah Aluai (PH-Tangga Batu), Su Keong Siong (PH-Kampar), Larry Sng (PH-Julau), Wilfred Madius Tangau (Upko-Tuaran), Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) and Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-Santubong).