The Malaysian Chief of Army was reported to have said that the planned replacement of the Army's Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) and the Armoured Fire Support Vehicles (AFSV) that has been in service for more than two decades, have to be deferred to RMK 10. The replacement was planned for RMK 9, and he cites insufficient financial allocation being the reason for the deferment. However, he did not state the amount of allocation required for the replacement.
Presently, the Army has in service the Belgium made Sibmas and the German made Condos. For some unknown reason, the Malaysian Army is the only country in the world to have purchased the Sibmas 6x6 wheeled AIFV and AFSV.
For the Army to retain both the Sibmas and Condos in service for more than 20 years, and with a possible extension of service life for another 5 years, will surely cost the Army heavily on maintenance, to ensure that the vehicles are combat worthy. And the longer the vehicles are used past their effective service life, the more we will see the serviceable state of the vehicles dwindled. And when this happens, the combat readiness of the Army will be badly affected.
To defer the planned purchase is certainly an unwise decision to make. I do not believe that the entire fleet of Sibmas and Condos can be fully maintained to effective service life for the next 5 years. Neither do I not believe, that the Army should compromise the planned purchase just because there is insufficient allocation.
The question that need to be asked now is whether the Army is ready to compromise its combat readiness for the sake of saving the government its money? Isn't there any other option that the Army can adopt, without compromising the fighting capability of the Army? Is the Army prepared to see troops being trained without the right compliment of armoured vehicles, and to accept playing 'notional' as an alternative?.
Let this not be another 'failed' purchase of the Eurocopter, and defence of the country is not something that the Armed Forces would want to compromise. It will be the Armed Forces that will bare the brunt if war is to break out......not our politicians.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 10.25pm on Nov 9,2008