Sunday, February 6, 2011


PM Najib was reported to have said, “This is a national effort under the principle of total defence. We were able to deploy our national assets from both the private and public sector under the co-ordination and supervision of the Government to get the students out of Egypt”. PM Najib was referring to the role played by various agencies of government, the private sector and I suppose NGO’s too, in the evacuation of the 10,000 odd Malaysians out of Egypt to Jeddah, and thence back home.

What strikes me most is PM Najib’s use of the term ‘total defence’ in reference to the above national effort, which I believe is not well understood by the general public. I had used the term ‘total defence’ in my casual conversation with some of my civilian friends to test their understanding and awareness of the term, but one is not surprise that most have a very shallow understanding of the term and concept. The general understanding by most is that when the word defence is used, they would understand it to mean the roles and tasks of the security forces and in particular the military, in the defence of the country.

Likewise, if I were to ask a junior military officer today on their understanding of total defence and to describe how does the military fits into the concept of things, I wouldn’t be surprised if they will be groping for the right answer. This is because this subject or concept is only taught at the senior levels i.e. Staff College and at other higher military institutions.

Now going back to PM Najib’s statement, I believe the use of the term ‘total defence’ in reference to the operations to evacuate Malaysians from Egypt back home may be out of context and could be misleading. My understanding of total defence is all about galvanizing every sector of our society to strengthen the nation’s resilience to defend the homeland. In other words, total defence provides a comprehensive and integrated response to deal with all kinds of threats and challenges; and the key word being the defence of the homeland; not about deploying our national resources abroad. This is what I mean by saying that PM Najib’s example can be misleading. And please be aware too that total defence is not just military defence, but it includes the other elements of psychological, social, civil and economic defence, and this requires an in depth understanding with regards to how all these elements are galvanized to meet a common purpose.

I did allude to the question that this concept is quite alien to the general public, and yet it will be the general public that is expected to play a crucial role for total defence to be successful.

One only needs to learn a lesson or two from our southern neighbor Singapore and the serious nature at which the general population are readied and trained to part take in regular nationwide exercises in the execution and implementation of the concept of total defence. As a result of this effort, Singaporeans are by and large a society that is imbued with a greater sense of national patriotism and a total awareness of their respective roles and contribution towards total defence.

And may I now ask, why have we not done the same for the Malaysian population?



komando said...

Nothing !

pendita said...


To some extend, U may correct. The concept of HANRUH may be adjusted to the reguirement and condition.

But morally, i think, the goverment have done so much for the rakyat esp the students studing in Egypt.

EAGLE said...

The military too is Nothing.
Slow and incompetent.
Doubtful - contingency plan for Malaysian citizens overseas nil!
Nak evacuate banjir pun kelam kabut!
Call it quit and get himself confuse with the concept.
Itu lah asyik KPI je tapi apa pun tarak. So stop talking!

taming said...

"Total Defence"? Isn't "HANRUH" the same thing? Ask Gen Che Md Noor Arshad, who always claimed to be the HANRUH expert, perhaps he would recommend to Najib to review HANRUH after Ops Pyramid.
Malaysians who served this beloved country with lives and blood returned home to be received only by a nominated senior officer at TUDM Subang but school children who received free rides from troubled Egypt are received at Bunga Raya KLIA by PM, First Lady, DPM, Cabinet ministers and many dignatories! What a show!
We have also to account for various VIPs who show their heroic presence in the Middle East.... Minister Jamil Khir, Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs, CEO Tabung Haji, Secretary MKN, Dep Minister Higher Education and many more... all for show!
Where are our Embassadors in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, missing from performing their duties and commandeered by KL heroes?
Where is the "Contingency Plan For The Evacuation of Malaysians From Troubled Countries"???
It's a very trilling free movie to watch with super stars acting!

maurice said...

The Egyptian evacuation must have cost the Government hundreds of millions of RM in taxpayers' money.Was it really necessary?I would say yes since Egypt was on the brink of anarchy which put the lives of our people in Egypt at great risk.The political benefit is that the young people affected by the rescue operation who are hostile to BN might have a change of heart in the next GE.

maurice said...

On the other hand Dato, saving thousands of citizens' lives from dangerous situation like the one in Egypt could also be interpreted as Total Defence.After all Total Defence is a homeland defence of our territories which include the protection of the lives of our citizens.So if we can save our citizens' lives abroad, why not?

I would urge the military thinkers to take the lead from the government's action in the Egypt rescue operation to review the concept of HANRUH in order to be responsive to the security needs of our citizens when faced with dangerous situation at home and abroad.

wira said...

Undoubtly political 'wayang kulit at its best'; what else?
Cukuplah 'stop abusing the total defence animal!!
Clearly, the powers that be in Mindef and Putrajaya are still hopelessly ignorant of the concept.
Unfortunately, the average Malaysian, the target audience of DSN are also just as 'KELABU".
So full marks for DSN.
Naught the opposition!!


Bustaman said...

Salam Dato,

Appreciate if you could send me your email address or hp no for me to contact you urgently.

I am ex Armor Officer and left the service as SO2 Legal in 1 Div Hq. We were together in Pulada in the 80's sir. I am looking forward to catching up with you sir.


Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Bustamam,

Yes, I know you well. Contact me at or 012-3876061.