KUALA LUMPUR: Proper attention should be given to the development of Armed Forces’ assets, especially that of the Royal Malaysian Navy in Budget 2023.
Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany (pic) described defence as both insurance and investment.
“The government needs to perform defence investment so that if any security threats occur, the country can withstand it with minimal impact,” he said.
Admiral Mohd Reza said existing assets needed to be maintained and maintenance required sufficient funds.
“We hope the defence budget could be increased from 1% to 1.5% of the GDP (gross domestic product) starting next year as mentioned previously by the Armed Forces Chief,” he said in an interview recently.
He said the development of military capabilities could not be achieved within a short time or acquired off the shelf.
He also said increasing preparedness to a high level took time as military assets were unique.
Generally, priority was always given to addressing the poor condition of current military assets compared to acquiring and developing new assets, he said.
“In turn, the budget for maintenance was always limited,” he added.
Previously, the Navy had 16 combat ships of various sizes, Admiral Mohd Reza said.
“However, the number has dwindled significantly given majority of the ships had lost their combat capabilities due to deterioration of equipment and weapon systems.
“Replacing such ships had been planned through the acquisition of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS ) but the project delay had disrupted the Navy’s planning.
“I like to stress the LCS acquisition was still not sufficient to fill in the gap in Navy combat ships.
“Thus, the government should give serious attention to the need to acquire additional combat ships,” he said.
The Navy had always planned on acquiring new assets each year but financial constraints and priority to other areas prevented such action from being taken, Admiral Mohd Reza said.
“The Navy exists because of the fleet but with an ageing fleet, we won’t be able to be a credible force.
“An armada with a long life span needs huge funds to make it operational thus we have come up with a Navy transformation plan to overcome the issue of an ageing armada,” he said.
Admiral Mohd Reza said the Navy had ascertained the acquisition of the Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) Batch 2 was critical and important.
“It is different from the previous LMS as it is equipped with a solid weapon system that will be able to bridge the gap in our current combat capabilities.
“Such approach was needed as a short-term solution given the geostrategic development in the region, especially issues involved the South China Sea,” he said.
No matter the situation, the Navy is always focussed on its mission of defending the nation’s sovereignty and protecting the country’s maritime interests.
“That is our promise but I worry that we will not be able to act effectively if we lack suitable assets,” he said.
Admiral Mohd Reza said strength in spirit encompasses all branches and expertise within the Navy and the Armed Forces.
“Their strength in the struggle was what inspires me to serve until the end of my service.
“However, spirit alone is not enough as they must be equipped with the right and complete tools to enable them to perform their duties efficiently and effectively,” he added.
The world is currently in a situation which could be described as VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), Admiral Mohd Reza said.
“It is a situation whereby the security scenario is dynamic and ever-changing within a short period and hard to predict.
“The nation’s maritime border is faced with various issues including overlapping claims, trespassing by ships or boats as well as piracy and sea robberies.
“Such issues require the Navy to give proper responses,” he said.