Sunday, May 24, 2009


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.



FMZam said...

We have Link 1 and Link 2 with Singapore and still thinking of Link 3. Whatever the reason cited by Najib, the point is that 3rd link was Mahathir's idea dumped by Pak Lah and now relived by Najib. Are the two existing links not enough, that we need another link? Or was the 2nd link a bad plan that it has turned into a white elephant? I would agree with Najib if he could quote a simple reason for the 3rd link is to serve the purpose of facilitating fluid development of Iskandar Malaysia where Singaporeans had vested interest in potential business investment there.

Now if you guys want to talk from defence perception about the potential military threats by building the 3rd link, don't just think on the 3rd link, think also on the two existing links, and the many variuos means, seaborne, airborne and land borne, that are available for any invasion force to invade our country from the Johore side.

And what is there to worry about building bridges if most nations in the world are building bridges ready with the demolition plan for the bridge in the face of a military threat. In singapore they have ready the demolition points for every strategic bridge in their defence plan and of all we know Singapore could have even catered their plan for the two existing links to be demolished in case of war for they too feared invasion from Malaysia. That if we want to talk about fear of war, both we and Singapore are thinking alike about bridges.

To me what is sceptical about the 3rd link is not defence. To me what is baffling is why would Najib replicate Mahathir's idea to make Mahathir happy and in a way hurt Pak Lah not long or very soon after he is in power?

You guys may talk on defence perception about the 3rd link until ages and trust me it will never satisfy any of us because it is subjective.

cs said...
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aah said...

Salam Pak Chat,

What FMZam said is incorrect,Tun Dr Mahathir never plan or wanted to have a third bridge.What he wants is to demolished the existing Tambak Johor and either built a straight or a crooked bridge.

Most Johoreans wanted a new bridge to replace the troubled causeway and not a third bridge.Third bridge is the idea of Najib after failing to get the aggrement from Singapores PM lee junior.

As an independent country we should proceed with what is good for our country,forget about Singapore,they can do what they want in their country.

mohamad said...

Najib was "testing for height" when he announced his consideration to build Link 3 during his recent visit to Singapore.

Nice to see you guys responding with your own perceptions to Najib's annoncement but it would be most interesting to watch Singapore's reactions to the idea.

I have known Singapore leaders right from the days of Lee Kuan Yew and now Lee Junior is the PM. Irrespective of leadership changes, their policy, stand and approaches in dealing with our leaders remain consistant. Ours?
You already have the answers!

Singapore may accept Najib's idea of the Link 3 but I can bet, Singapore would do it only at their own advantages. I must caution our political leaders, whatever happens, national pride, defence and security is above everything else! Go and refer to Mahathir, what made him decide to build the "crooked bridge" when he was PM!

Dato', isn't there an integrated national development planning committee where defence planners are key members of the committe? I would expect when the nation built North-South highways, there are some stretches of the highway designed with specifications for emergency runaways for our fighter and transport planes to utilise during times of crisis! Most defence and security minded nations such as Singapore, Taiwan, North and South Korea have such plans.

If there isn't such a committee, it is about time the nation has one and the right general sits in this commitee. This will ensure strategic, defence and security considerations are given priority in future national structural developments.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Mohammed,

You have touch the concerns that was in my mind, but I did not put in clearly in my article. Singapore has a different set of politicians that are well versed in security and defence. Hence, anything that they do is with security and defence in mind. I suppose their involvement in the the National Service have made them to think that way. Unlike our politicians, anything they do is linked to business interest. I may be wrong, and please correct me for this wild sounded allegation.

Maj. Ramachandran Ramaswamy Iyer (Retd) said...

Singapore Armour swims,aircrafts are parked all around us,have ability to garner reserves at short notice. We are worried about a third link as a defence threat?

komando said...




aah said...

Dear Pak Chat,

As far as defence planning is concern we have failed miserably,just take a look at our north south highway,its just a highway,no defence consideration at all in place.Was there any reserve demolition point on all the bridges along the highway,the answer is none.What about air strip ?also none.

Take a look at our LRT,was there any bom shelter constructed at strategic tunnel location in the Klang valley,also none.What about underground shelter in within government complex such as Putrajaya,God knows if any ?

Its high time that our defence planner thump the table and tell the politician lets be serious about security and safety of our beloved country.

EX 12 Royal Malay Regiment,Minden Barrack Penang.