During the visit of our PM to Singapore recently, Najib had announced that he was considering the construction of a third link to the island of Singapore, which will originate from the eastern side of Johore. He reasoned out that this new link was to “facilitate movement of people and goods, and help develop eastern Malaysia”. If this was the only reason to justify the construction of the third link, then I would say that the reasons given may not justify strategic and defence expedience. I may be wrong in my statement, but our leaders in the past appears not to take security and defence considerations when charting out the infrastructure development of this country.
A nation that is serious with security and defence, would of necessity be working closely with the defence planners. Our leaders ought to be aware that any major piece of infrastructure development that the government undertakes, has security and defence implications. The construction of highways, dams, townships, power stations, bridges, airports, seaports, drainage and irrigation systems and even golf courses are factors for consideration in defence planning. I am not aware whether the Armed Forces is being incorporated in any discussions with the government over the country's development plans. I just wonder whether security and defence considerations have been given thought in the development of the various 'economic development corridors'. I believe the answer is an obvious NO.
Our political leaders must be made to understand that in planning the defence of the country, the aspect of terrain and the country's physical landscape (both natural and man made) are given the highest priority. Deployment of the Armed Forces assets are being dictated by these considerations, and the more developed the country becomes, the more complicated and difficult it is for the defence planners. And in view of this, would it not be appropriate for the defence planners to be included in all discussions that is related to the country's development? Or is the government confident that the assets of the Armed Forces is sufficient to deal with any impending threats, regardless of the development of the country?
Let me give a simple illustration of what I mean by the above statement. Now, let us take the hundreds of golf courses that had mushroomed throughout the country over the last decade. From the military stand point, these beautiful golf courses are an excellent drop zones and landing areas for an invading airborne and air landed forces. Likewise, the bridges and highways if secured early (which they will) by an invading force, provides them an easy route to their target areas. The dams, power stations, airports and seaports are critical objectives that has to be defended against an invading force. Having said all this, I would then ask, “is our Armed Forces serious and ready to defend this country”? I am not competent to answer, and I will have to leave this question to be answered by the leaders of our Armed Forces today.
I wish not to probe deeper into the developmental aspects of our country's Armed Forces, but I would tend to believe that its development is not in congruent with multi-faceted infrastructural development of this country. If my aforesaid statement stands to be true, then I think the proposed construction of the third link will need to be given serious thought.
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