The Malaysian Defence Industry is still in its infancy to say the least, and that is after 50 years of the country’s independence. Not even a single piece for indigenously designed weapon has been developed and manufactured, and isn’t this a shame? And for how long more will the country remain a nett importer of weapons and essential equipments for its defence forces, that had costs the country billions in public spending.
Even right now, the Armed Forces defence procurement plan relies heavily on foreign purchases. And I know for one that even basic training simulators need to be purchased from overseas, whereas there are already some local companies that have the capacity to developed training simulators, and some have exported their products overseas.
Why have we not given such companies the opportunity to develop training simulators for our Armed Forces? After all, simulator technology is no longer the domain of the developed nations, but such technologies are now available among Malaysians. One will be surprised to know that some of the Malaysians that I have met, have been deeply involved in the development of high end defence simulators overseas. But yet upon their return home, the country finds no meaningful purposes for their acquired skills, knowledge and experience.
And in the purchase of weaponry and essential equipments, we often end up in a one-off purchase, and worse still, without an arrangement with the manufacturer for a transfer of technology. We seemed to be happy to discard the weapons and equipments when there is no longer a consistent supply of spare parts from the original equipment manufacturers, and we are even more happier to quickly plan for the procurement of new weapons and equipments. This has been the trend for the last 50 years, and it is the weapon and equipment traders and agents that becomes rich…………and for some, super rich in double quick time, and all at public expense.
We have seen how some nations of the world have come out from being nett weapon importers to weapon manufactures. Some examples to quote are the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of South Africa, and closer to home, the Republic of Singapore.
It is pointless for me to explain how these countries have today reached such a high level of technical expertise in weapon development, because the facts and information are readily available from the internet. But what had moved these three countries to achieve such high level status in weapon development, is the will of their governments, its armed forces and the people to see that their countries achieve self reliance in defence manufacturing. I cannot say the same for our government, its armed forces and the people.
I am not privy to the amount of funds that the government has allocated for defence research and development, but I do believe, it is just a fraction of what the Singapore government allocates to its defence research organizations. And if we continue to ignore and place little importance to defence research and development programmes and spendings, I see little hope in the country ever achieving its self reliance in the development and manufacture of its defence needs.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION