KUALA LUMPUR: Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein declared the Defence White Paper (DWP) is so lacklustre that he had “no mood” to debate it in Parliament.
Without mincing his words, Hishammuddin said the DWP tabled by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is merely a simplified version of the defence papers which had been previously tabled by the Barisan Nasional administration.
“Although it’s supposed to be a DWP for the nation for the next 10 years, it does not go into detail the Defence Ministry’s plans.
“This is very important, as there should be details on how this plan is to be rolled out and to give confidence and a clear direction to all stakeholders, particularly the armed forces, the veterans, Defence Ministry officials and their families, ” he said in Parliament on Monday (Dec 2).
He labelled the DWP as a wish-list, as there were no clear mechanisms as to how the government intends to achieve its objectives.
“We don’t know if this wish-list will become a reality or not, ” he added.
Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) interjected, saying the DWP lacked the “wow” factor and does not give hope to the nation and the armed forces.
“It’s just ordinary, there is nothing. So we are just wasting time listening to this White Paper.”
Hishammuddin (BN-Sembrong) agreed with Bung Mokhtar, saying that “even the former defence minister has no mood to debate today (Dec 2), ” in reference to himself.
A small argument broke out between Hishammuddin and RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) when Pang Hok Liong (PH-Labis) raised the issued over the purchase of six helicopters during the Barisan administration.
Hishammuddin brushed this aside, and said it was just a tactic to divert attention from the DWP debates in Parliament, and called Rayer “stupid”.
Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof warned Hishammuddin that he and any other lawmakers would be ejected if they used unparliamentary language in the Dewan Rakyat during debates.
Last Nov 28, Mohamad Ariff warned MPs that he would subject them to stern action, including suspension, if they were found to be verbally abusive during debates.
Meanwhile, the Defence White Paper stated that the Defence Reform Committee, Defence Investment Committee and Defence Ministry Policy Committee will be set up in order to ensure the implementation of the defence reforms covering the period of 2020 to 2030.
The Defence Reform Committee, chaired jointly by the Defence Ministry secretary-general and armed forces chief, will act as a facilitator between the ministry and other relevant government agencies.
The Defence Investment Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, will ensure that the defence investment decisions are made in the best interest of the nation.
Lastly, the Defence Ministry Policy Committee, chaired by the Defence Minister, will handle matters of policies pertaining to defence.
The government will monitor the implementation of the Defence White Paper through these three new committees.
Earlier, Mohamad told Dewan Rakyat that the DWP would chart the nation’s defence plans between 2020 to 2030.
Besides focussing on developing a modernised “smart army”, he said the White Paper would also focus on optimising computers, cyberspace technology and state-of-the-art systems.
He said the DWP would be inclusive to ensure a secure, sovereign, and prosperous nation.
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