Thursday, November 11, 2010

Malaysia's New National Defense Policy

Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmed Zahid Hamidi said that the Ministry of Defense would review the newly launched National Defense Policy in 2012. He said that the Defense Ministry would follow through the existing national defense policies and review them progressively in order to attain defense policy objectives that have been formulated.

National Defense Policy Covers Four Main Tasks
He said that currently the National Defense Policy covers four main tasks:

First: To educate citizens "all-citizen national defense" concept that combines the power of the government, NGOs, private sector, and people in a total effort to defense the country.

Second: To enhance and develop the capacity of the Armed Forces, while making effort to increase citizens' awareness of this national defense concept and a sense of patriotism.

Third: To cooperate with regional countries and to establish closer military diplomacy with them. Malaysia must consolidate bilateral defense cooperation with countries, which have already established strategic partnership ties with Malaysia.

Fourth: To set up a defense policy committee to oversee the task of defense policy formulation progress and to review the current National Defense Policy in 2012.

In delivering his address at the official launch of the National Defense Policy held on 9 November, Minister Ahmed Zahid stressed on the importance for the nation to develop a defense awareness mindset. He said that even if Malaysia processed top-notch weaponries, if Malaysia failed to develop a defense prevention awareness mind-set all the best weapon equipment would be of no use to the defense ministry.

He added: "I have visited a Middle East country in 1987. This Middle East country processed the most advanced military aircrafts. However, when internal war occurred in that country, the bed room of the national leader of this country was invaded by the rival army. It was only four hours after the attack on the national leader's residence that its most advanced fighter aircraft took off to defense the country."

Malaysia To Enhance Power of Modern Warfare
In addition to Defense Minister Ahmed Zahid, other officials who attended the launch of the National Defense Policy included Datuk Ismail Ahmed, secretary general of the Ministry of Defense, and General Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin, chief of the Armed Forces Staff.

Ahmed Zahid said that the main task of National Defense Policy must definitely be on achieving the goal to promote the modernization of the Armed Forces and to improve armed forces' combat capability. This was because the challenges of today's armed forces did not come from the traditional battlefield. On the contrary, the challenge of today's armed forces came from non-traditional emergency incidents such as on how to tackle and fight against the Somali pirates or how to carry out rescue missions to overcome natural disasters, and so on.

Minister Ahmed Zahid also pointed out the fact that Malaysia was located at the center of Southeast Asia. Malaysia's security would easily be affected by troubles or unrest that happened within this Southeast Asian region. As such every year, the Ministry of Defense would allocate $10million to establish a world food distribution and planning hub at the Subang Air Force Base, so that Malaysia could assume the responsibility as a regional disaster emergency relief center to distribute foods and goods to disaster victims.

China-Taiwan Issue To Be Resolved Peacefully
The newly released National Defense Policy points out that as long as the Taiwan Strait issue cannot be resolved completely, cross-straits tension can affect the stability of the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia hopes that mainland China and the Taiwan authorities can continue to make effort in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict between them.

The National Defense Policy also states that no country in the 21st century can be immune from external conflict. The Policy says that in addition to issues relating to traditional national defense, countries also have to face the unlimited and borderless violence and crime.

US Remains Strongest Country in Asia Pacific Region
The National Defense Policy also states that to Malaysia, although China, Japan and the United States are the three major actors in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States remains the strongest country that can exert influence in the Southeast Asian region. As such, the bilateral defense cooperation ties between Malaysia and the United States is a measure that can protect Malaysia's security and economic growth.

The National Defense Policy says that through engaging intimate cooperation relations with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, and Singapore, the United States has indirectly enhanced the defense capability of countries surrounding the Southeast Asian region.
As far as China is concerned, the National Defense Policy says that, although holds the view that China does not consider ASEAN as a threat, however, China is also unwilling to see unstable situation developing in countries in the ASEAN region.

China is actively emerging as an economically and militarily strong power. China can play a balancing role in this region. This country (China) and Japan have very different defense operation mode. Malaysia must pay attention to the role that the economically strong Japan can play to stabilize the Southeast Asian region.

So far as Russia is concerned, although there are still many internal problems awaiting Russia to resolve, the National Defense Policy believes that Russia is now actively developing and increasingly its active role in the international community. The National Defense Policy believes that Russia is also one of the key nations that can affect the stability in the Southeast Asian region.

Resolving Nansha Islands Sovereignty Dispute Through Friendly Consultation
The new Malaysian National Defense Policy also points out that as it stands now; the sovereignty dispute among some countries over the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) is still unresolved. In the South China Sea, the Sulawesi Sea, Malacca Strait, and in other international waterway, Malaysia still has territorial disputes with neighboring countries. Among them the sovereignty disputes over the Nansha islands have involved Brunei, China, the Philippines Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Fortunately, in November 2002, China and ASEAN have signed the "Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" that stressed the need for all countries involved in the maritime sovereignty dispute along South China Sea to resolve the pending disputes through friendly consultations and peaceful negotiations.

The National Defense Policy also states that as for territorial controversies in the South China Sea, Sulawesi Sea, Straits of Malacca, Malaysia will resolve any such disputes or conflicts through diplomatic channel. Malaysia will act in accordance with the spirit of ASEAN.

Political Instability To Threaten Racial Harmony
The National Defense Policy further points out that Malaysia's domestic political situation is full of uncertain factors. It says that political instability in the country can pose threat to social issues and to inter-ethnic harmony.

The National Defense Policy feels that, although the government has signed the "Hat Yai Agreement" with the Malaysian Communist Party in 1989, although there is no major and serious security problem in the country, the government authority cannot feel complacent and relax over internal security issues. Malaysia must guard against the widening racial divide in today's political climate.

However, some politicians have continued to play with unbridled incitement to stir up sensitive issues to the degree of causing threat to the general public and affecting racial harmony and peace to the society.

The National Defense Policy points out that coupled with the above mentioned factors, the security situation in Malaysia can even turn worse if some NGOs seize the opportunity to stir up trouble.

Moreover, this newly launched the National Defense Policy also mentions the need for Malaysia to face the huge immigrant population seriously and squarely. This is because regardless whether the immigrants are legal or illegal, they will all exert a certain degree of influence on the Malaysian society.

According to the immigration records, Malaysia has 1.85 million foreign workers. Malaysia has become one of the top 10 countries in the world that depend heavily on foreign work force to grow.

The National Defense Policy points out that having a massive foreign worker community can bring threats, crimes, diseases, and cultural conflicts to the Malaysian society.

1 comment:

Feizal Ikhir Juhari said...

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i wanted to put it in my blog..
and republish it back.
I will link it back to your blog..TQ