Author :Lam Choong Wah
Published:Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
Publication Date: May 2015
Pages : 160pp
When we look at federal budgets, we can see that national defence has always been the second largest expenditure among federal ministries, second only to education. In the past few decades, the government has spent an enormous amount of money on the anti-communist insurgency, arms modernisation, facility development, as well as counter-terrorism activities in recent years.
Has the money spent been worth it? Is Malaysia becoming safer and secure? Why do we need to continuously acquire the most advanced and state-of-the-art weapon systems? Without an in-depth analysis, it is hard to answer these questions. It involves examining the current strategic and security context, national defence and economic capabilities, internal political will and so on.
The unavoidable fact is that the majority of the Malaysian public are not interested in national defence, not to mention the aforesaid factors. For those who are interested, they will face another problem – limited information.
It is a badly-kept secret that defence is a sensitive issue. Countless information is classified in the name of protecting national military secrecy. However, some classified information in Malaysia would not be seen as secret information in other democratic countries. A clear example is the “arms shopping list” which is public information in the United States, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and even Indonesia, which was once perceived as less democratic than Malaysia.
This book aims to provide general information on Malaysia’s defence sector to the layman-majority of Malaysia. Aside from that, this book also aims to increase defence knowledge among the public, paving a way for the creation of a civil defence monitoring mechanism.
About the Author
Choong Wah, or known as Lam to his friends used to be a member of the military journalist circle, with work spanning both domestic and international military activities. He started his career at Oriental Daily newspaper, where his work earned him an invitation as the only Malaysian media to cover the top United States West Pacific Air Sea war game – Exercise Valiant Shield, which was the largest exercise after the Vietnam war.
In that exercise, three navy aircraft carrier strike groups joined with dozens of U.S. Airforce combat aircraft to practice tactics on how to counter a hypothetical formidable foe in the West Pacific; and, upon landing on board USS Kitty Hawk, hooking an arresting wire which earned him a membership in “The Order of the Hook”.
His enthusiasm in covering military events drove him to quit Oriental Daily and he co-founded the first Mandarin defence news portal, Kuala Lumpur Security Review in 2008. The portal, known as KLSReview, was a popular news source which was always cited by other media outfits for its exclusive, defence-focused news.
He gained his first degree from University of Science, Malaysia, in Aerospace Engineering field, and later awarded a Master Degree of Strategic and Defence Studies from University of Malaya. Before assuming the role as a Senior Fellow at Research for Social Advancement, he was a Parliamentary and Policy Assistant at a Member of Parliament’s office and an Editor of The Rocket, a DAP publicity organ.
Having had a wide range of experience, he was invited as a guest commentator to comment on various political and security related issues
at BBC, Chinese CCTV, NTV7, RTM2, Malaysiakini, Yazhou Zhoukan, Taiwan’s Rhythms Monthly, and Singapore Channel News.
He can be contacted via his facebook wahco008, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foreword by Lim Kit Siang
Foreword – Citizen Awareness of Malaysia’s Defence and National
Endorsement – A Territorial General’s Endorsement
Foreword by the Author
Why Defence is so Important
1.1 Guns versus butter
1.2 Are we under threat?
1.3 What can we do? Malaysian Armed Forces capabilities
1.4 Can we afford to do more? National financial capability
Introduction to the Armed Forces
2.1 No war… so why should we pay attention?
2.2 Tell me about… general commands of the Malaysian
2.3 Tell me about… command chain of the Malaysian
2.4 Who gets to choose? Arms procurement decision making
Our Defence Policies and Strategies
3.1 Tell me about… our defence policy
3.2 What military strategies do we adopt to counter security
3.3 Why don’t we have a defence white paper, and do we
Our Armed Forces Strength and Our Place in the Arms Race
4.1 Malaysian Armed Forces strength and our place in the
4.2 Are we in an arms race now?
Dude… Where’s my Jet Engine?? Transparency in the
5.1 The importance of military transparency
5.2 Military transparency in Malaysia: The good and
5.3 The myth of arms procurement: Direct negotiation, or
5.4 Arms deal “scandals”
Uncovering Malaysian Defence Expenditure
6.1 Operating and development budgets
6.2 Defence expenditure in 2015 budget
A 1 Malaysia Armed Forces?
7.1 Racial ratio in the armed forces
7.2 Why are there so few non-Malays?
7.3 Recruitment process and trends
7.4 A dormant reserve force?
Lahad Datu Stand Off, Najib should be Held Responsible
The Way Forward… A Civilian’s Version of Defence Policy