KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The strength and capability of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in ensuring safety and security in the country can be enhanced through the allocations provided under the 2016 Budget.
A total of RM31.2 billion is allocated for the three security forces to implement their capacity-building plans.
ATM chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said the RM17.3 billion allocation given to the Ministry of Defence for the procurement of six Littoral Combatant Ships, Very Short Range Air Defence weapons system, armoured vehicles, and the A-400M Airbus, was indeed something that they had been waiting for.
"The procurement of the six ships in stages will increase ATM's strength, capability and level of preparedness in protecting the country's sovereignty and security," he told Bernama when contacted here today.
He said the RM523 million allocated for the development of an Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) armed forces camp in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu, Sabah, would not only strengthen the operation of the forces, but would also reduce ATM's expenditure, especially in the cost of logistics.
Zulkifeli also lauded the announcement that RM160 million would be provided to build 4,000 quarters for ATM personnel.
Meanwhile, MMEA director-general Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said the allocation of RM865 million given to the agency for the acquisition of Offshore Patrol Vessels and patrol boats would definitely help its capability to safeguard national maritime areas, especially in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The presence of those assets would also enhance the confidence level among the international players in the maritime industry on Malaysia's capability.
"These vessels and patrol boats will allow us to always be present at sea for quite a long time, even during bad weather," he said.
He said the MMEA personnel in charge of the assets could also make optimal use of the assets to explore new areas of expertise and skills to be at par with their counterparts in the developed countries.
Head of the National Council of Professors' Political, Security and International Affairs Cluster, Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, on the other hand, said the allocations to improve security level and inventory were very important.
He said since the country was facing various and complex threats, including militants, border intrusions and other modern and organised crimes, the security forces need to improve their strength to protect the country.
The economy would not be able to grow if emphasis was not given to the defence industry.
"This is also important to restore the confidence of investors and the public...the increased allocation for the security forces is important and should not be questioned...we cannot compromise in matters concerning national security," he said.
Meanwhile, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) chief executive Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin in a press statement said the multiple initiatives put in place for the ATM were indeed laudable, particularly the RM160 million allocation to build 4,000 quarters for its members.
He said further to this, LTAT planned to build 2,000 affordable housing units for the armed forces personnel from 2016.
"On the RM17.3 billion allocated for the procurement of six Littoral Combatant Ships, this is indeed a laudable move, given that we are one of the key participants in the maritime sector via the listed subsidiary Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Berhad.
"This year's national budget certainly holds much promise, reflecting the government's and the prime minister's commitment to sustainable growth while taking into consideration the welfare of all Malaysians," he said.