Sunday, July 07, 2013

Defence spending - the truth

Today I want to comment on just an extract of Malaysia-Today's article titled A debate steeped in ignorance (part 1).


The relevant extract is:

Now, back to the cost versus income or profit-and-loss issue.

Malaysia (just like all or most countries) spends more on defence than on any other item. And this is a total waste of money. At least if we spend that money on welfare, healthcare, education, etc., it will benefit the rakyat. What benefit do we get from that large amount of money spent on defence?

Do you know that most of the equipment we buy never gets used? Did we ever go to war with any country -- say like Singapore, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Philippines, etc? In the end, because we do not go to war, most of the equipment ‘expires’ and gets scrapped. So why buy them if we do not need them and they eventually get scrapped?

Malaysia, plus almost every country all over the world, ‘wastes’ so much money on defence (which is never used in the end) for the security of the nation. In terms of expenses versus income it is a losing proposition.

Hence, as I said earlier, a turn-around manager would normally attack the top three cost items to cut out and defence would definitely have to be that item or one of those items to cut out. But we cannot do that because it is a ‘wasted’ cost that we need to keep in spite of the ‘wasted’ money.

Defence equipment and training for war is a bit like the nebulous benefits of a good flight safety program that some airline bosses/owners are sceptical of until an accident (or in the case of defence spending/training, threat of war) occurs.

Flight safety (and defence preparation in terms of buying military equipment) is a proactive process of prevention (and deterrence), the benefits of which cannot be seen until it has been ignored and the undesired happens, when by then it'll be too late to talk about defence buildup, development or preparation.

Flight safety (prevention) involves expenditure of which the benefits would be the absence or minimisation of air accidents but alas, such benefits cannot be seen or felt - how to when there is no accident and the general airline bosses take that for granted, not realizing that a lot of money and effort have gone into preventing the occurrence of  accidents. Hence such spending will usually be the first to be slashed whenever trimming the budget is required.

Likewise, defence preparation involving expensive spending in terms of purchasing equipment, expensive maintenance and updating and expensive training of personnel to both use and maintain the military hardware, is seldom appreciated until war or an imminent national security threat occurs.

Defence spending has to be always futuristic in its planning. A country can't afford to purchase equipment (fighter/transport planes, tanks, ships, artillery) and train its personnel on their use only on the verge of war. For a start, the country won't be able to purchase the desired equipment even if it has oozes of money, nor can personnel be trained overnight to use them.

We're talking in terms of at least 10 to 15 years forward planning. For example, aircraft takes years of advance order before delivery can be secured.

Thus, defence spending is essential for a country's security. The reason why ASEAN countries like Malaysia and Indonesia hesitate to mess around with the little red-dot called Singapore is the deterrence of its military power, though of course this has never been mentioned openly.

Mind you, when Singapore bought 24 F-15SG Strike Eagle (an even more advance version of the USAF long range strike aircraft F-15E), Indonesia did 'murmur' a wee bit about what Singapore was planning (who was the aircraft intended to strike?).


I won't go into the deterrence factor but suffice to say, the best defence a country can possibly have is the deterrence it can effectively pose to would-be threats. Didn't Sun Tzu teach us that “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

The issue with Malaysia is the perception of most Malaysians that defence spending is just another avenue for corruption (think Scorpene), hence the general opposition to and even a dangerous belief in doing away with expensive defence spending.

It doesn't help that the cabinet has not have a good record on defence spending. Malaysian defence spending seems to be more about benefiting the cronies than about defence of the nation, and there's quite a fair bit of truth in this.

Consider - Malaysia buys it equipment of many types but each in dribs and drabs. By contrast, look at Singapore - when it buys the F-15SG, it orders 24 of them. When it wanted the Apache 64-D Longbow attack version, it ordered 20 of the heli-gunship. It also has 70 F-16.

RSAF's Apache AH-64

Mateys, even Australia doesn't possess such a humongous armada of deterrence as shown by the Singapore military.

Buying large number per type of military equipment and with fewer types allows for very effective power projection (the deterrence), efficient and economical logistics and engineering support (savings), among other benefits.

The Malaysian military would but buy 2 of XYZ aeroplane from Italy, 1 PQR whatever from France and 3 ABC from another manufacturer or country.

The reason for this bullshit is undoubtedly to spread the benefits of being an arms agent/dealer among the cronies.

why did Malaysia buy the A400M?
approx. RM580 million per aircraft

Tell me, who is the Malaysian agent selling four of the still non-operational A400M strategic air-lifter to Malaysia? WTF did we buy an unproven aircraft when we could have topped up the C-130H fleet if we wanted improved military air transportation? Or even buy airline type aircraft such as Airbus 330 or Boeing 737, etc.


  1. An many more ignorant "public" will say the yay, without using their peanut brain (oh, wait) to anlyse that : AIRPLANE IS NOT PLAIN computer Windows operating system.

    Even ALL different type of advanced commercial airplane come with slight modification, and ALL PILOT must be train in simulator before handle the new plane, even the small plane with no exceptional, otherwise you will be facing a immediate raise of "air accident", AKA crash due to unfamiliar handling. And this is similar to super sport car : a person can easily wrack it if they didn't go through the training, and also different super car handlign are different.
    So how the hell the pilot going to handle DIFFERENT CONTROL when BOLEHLAND having different type of model and make?

    FYI , the SNAFU happens to Japanese army in Wolrd war II. Japan military fighter and bomber plane are TOTALLY different than the navy plane. And the f*ck up happens that when TOO many pilot lost, the navy fighter pilot CANNOT use the military fighter and vice versa.

    Not to forget modern day, military need "Integrated logistics". And now BOLEHLAND trying something that even 1st world country try to AVOID in the first place : having extremely diverse control,communication and beacon system?
    So when BOLEHLAND go up to the sky with all those plane, when electronic warfare happens, after disrupting the signal(or don't even need to ), you will see BOLEHLAND fighter killing each other, but luckily, thanks to USA 7th fleet, we don't have a chance to see that. Not to forget Bolehland need to source tons of different bolts and nuts which is NOT COMPATIBLE between each machinery, and Bolehland(TM) will see the old planes grounded and unable to salvage parts to keep the rest working.

    1. Mmmm....after reading KT's post and Moot's eye-opening read above, let's all pray very hard nobody invades boleh land or god forbids, our country trying to take over another country.

  2. RMAF Butterworth-MAS-Air Asia11:08 pm, July 07, 2013

    My entire working life was in aviation, first in the military, then civilian airlines, so I have a lot of experience of what you write about.
    Most civilian airlines take safety very seriously. After all, safety is one of the selling points of air travel. If people had a feeling there is a good chance they won't make it to the destination alive, they will be very unlikely to pay to enter a crammed metal tube, totally dependent on unknown strangers for their life. The safety procedures and training in airlines have strong foundation in known safety concerns that have caused air crashes in the past. That's also the reason why the industry takes air crash investigation so seriously. Even where it is not a known cause of accident, engineers and other experts have spent a lot of time and effort analysing Possible failures and events to build in safety procedures and train pilots on how to handle emergencies.

    Its only the few rogue airlines which refuse to take safety seriously.

    As a former air force officer, I am certainly support buying the best equipment the nation can afford. However, my personal experience is Malaysia's military procurement system is heavily corrupt and also incompetent. Sometimes, middle ranking officers like me couldn't make out which it is - corruption or incompetence - but the end result is the same - our equipment is often badly selected, selected based on non-military efficiency reasons, poorly maintained and a danger to servicemen's lives if ever we got into a fighting war.

    1. most mainstream airlines are acutely aware of the importance of flight safety's pro-active preventive programs but bet you a dollar to ten that when it comes to severe budgeting reduction, flight safety will be the first to suffer

  3. KTKia,
    I do not wish to dwell on the merits (and shortfalls) of a nation arming itself to the teeth since this topic had been discussed and debated in secondary schools and the United Nation.

    But KT embracing my southern neighbour by implying that its neighbours are scared of the little red dot may be near or far from the truth (god knows!).

    And it it cannot be denied that Harry Lee's dynasty had been acquiring lots and lots of toys from Uncle Sam. The "changgihness" of the toys would bankrupt the two neighbours if they were to keep up with the Joneses.

    And KT clearly imply that any purchase by Msia is clouded and questionable, but the little red dot's purchasing department is all above board. Just to save you time, go google "F 35" for some insiders take on S'pore's involvement.

    Having all said about the superiority of the little red dot armoury, would she go to an all out attack on its neighbours, when these neighbours get onto her nerves? ( Eg, Unabated slash and burn of forest in Batam all year round, or M'sia putting secret potion that caused terrible itchiness after a bath into PUB pipelines- yes, they do get ori H2O till 2061 )?

    I could envisage an all out onslaught across Danga Bay by Ah Beng's infantry and by noon setting up camps in urban Batu Pahat, urban Melaka and maybe Jinjang too. They will surely feel at home there with ample supply of Bak Kut Teh.(maybe they would miss their Pinoy nannies back in the island).

    If only they could proceed to Tanjung, a red carpet may be awaiting, not mentioning the ever delicious assam laksa.

    But I shudder to think if they attempted to make an amphibious landing on Sumatra or Java. What would they do in Lampung, Malang or Japera? The food is quite alien, for one!

    Now where are the Mamats hiding.......jeng jeng jeng....

    1. Deterrence is the best form of defence a la "touch me and you die (or at least suffer hell)". I doubt Sing would go to war on such matters as poisonous haze, nor would it invade Sumatra (recall USA's several bitter experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc).

      As for Malaysia's water, Sing can either cough up the price that Mahathir wants or produce its total water requirements by 2061, which I suspect it is already in progress (desalination plants etc)

    2. The other little red dot, Brunei, has a defense agreement with the United Kingdom, under which Ghurkas are deployed in the tiny nation.
      Could you fault the weak for arming itself when its neighbours are not always friendly ?

    3. Brunei is a puny but bloody oil-rich country which the Brits are helping (without being seen to be involved) because of its (British) economic and financial interests. The Sultan of Brunei can affect (improve or diminish) the standing of the Bank of England by just moving a few hundred billions in or out - it has done so in the past which has been why the Sultan merits the close attention of the Queen whenever he visits England


  4. BTW, RPK seems forgot the story you have mentioned, i.e., about umno telling the story of "how india handle their monarchy problem. ". ROFL.

    1. my story relates to the Indians being ready! Are the Malays? The nons in Malaysia have no say on such matters

  5. Defence spending is like buying life insurance: paying for peace of mind.

    Guidelines cannot guarantee the most efficient and appropriate procurement. An honest and competent purchasing officer would probably be able to do a good job even without those guidelines.
    In the east, Peh Mo even dare to mock MACC: Catch me if you can !

  6. Singapore's best defence is to live in harmony with its neighbours and refrain from being a base for foreign armed forces.

    Deterence ?
    Malaysia just needs to "allow" some "Al-Qaeda militants" armed with C-4 (readily available in Malaysia, it seems, if you "know" the right people) to cut one or all of Singapore's water pipes in Johore.
    Then plead incompetence (quite believable) for the PDRM to catch them or stop further attacks.

    One of Singapore islands biggest military headaches is the lack of defence depth. Zero room to maneuver. Malaysia played nasty some years ago refusing Singapore F-16s taking off from Tengah permission to pass Malaysian air space. As a result, they have to make a sharp turn almost immediately they are airborne, because of Tengah AFB runway's North-South alignment.
    In the event of conflict, one or all of Singapore's airbases are within artillery range of Johore.

    Most of Singapore's neighbours are unhappy about the US Aircraft-carrier base at Sembawang. Its the only deep-water base the American carriers have from Japan until Bahrain.

    1. small nations like Singapore without, as you say, lack of defence depth have to depend on pre-emptive strikes - eg. Israel of 1967 though not the Israel fo today. Pakistan's strategy is to fall back on Afghanistan (nd its Pashthun kinfolk) as acquired defence in depth, to trade space for time

    2. Hey Anon, you sure it's in sembawang or not? Or somewhere else? Sorry I can't divulge where the american based carrier would be based in Singapore. hahahahaha!

      Singapore first generation soldiers were trained by the israelis (oops! mexicans) Hahahaha! Do you know that even permanent residents also got to serve national service.
      Time to kick arse......hahahahahaha

  7. If you were the leaders of the little red dot you would do the same, bearing in mind the memories of Ganyang Konfrontasi, East Timur, Kuwait ...

  8. Malaysia's military was stung by criticism when it was forced to get Air Asia help to fly reinforcement troops from the Peninsular to Sabah during the Lahad Datu crisis.
    The existing aging C130H Hercules fleet of 16 + 4 tankers is just insufficient to meet a military emergency that requires urgent materiel and manpower movements between East and West Malaysia.
    The C130 can carry 92 soldiers without equipment , or 72 soldiers with their personal equipment.
    The Air Asia Airbus A320 ferried 124 soldiers with their equipment in the lower hold, 70% more capacity. In comfort, to add, so the soldiers arrived rested and not tired out (the Hercules is a beast, without any pretensions for comfort).

    There are valid queries about the A400M selection , though.
    It is one of the largest military Turboprops on the market, and is not as agile with short-take-off and landing asthe C130.

    The A400M is a relatively untested aircraft, none are in operation with any of the airforces which have ordered 174 in total.

    1. actually there should be NOTHING WRONG in Malaysia and the RMAF drawing upon AirAsia and MAS as national backup resources in times of emergencies. The criticisms was more politically motivated, with understanding of national defence resources either lacking or deliberately ignored

      The A400M is an unproven aircraft and its capacity is way too much and uneconomical for the needs of Malaysian defence requirement. If strategic airlift capacity for Malaysian defence needs have to be improved on a permanent basis, then the RMAF should consider buying civilian transport aircraft like Boeing 737, A320 which would have been cheaper and also convenient to maintain (contracted out to MAS or/and AirAsia).

      But the A400M was purchased in the usual suspect manner, not for defence needs but for crony benefits.

    2. Kaytee,
      Don't be fucking cibai apologetic to your lover boy called Ah Jib Gor la. One 4 star general already said that is bollocks lor. In other countries, Zahid & Hisham should be shot down

  9. Heard from a very 'reliable source'.....once upon a time, a muslim leader became the top dog of a certain country and just within a few years of his iron-fisted reign, an idea came to his head that since his pesky little neighbour is getting too big for his boots, it is due time to 'claim' back what he thought what should rightfully belongs to him in the first place......there is JUSTIFICATION, according to him. The only snag is to convince Big Bro about this venture and plead for no interference, assuring his Big Bro that this operation will take only one week to wrap up. But that particular Big Bro at that time will brook no Lil Bro getting too big for his own boots Big Bro's mind, the little neighbour has its usefulness being the buffer acting as check and balance to any upstart who might go amok with a humongous kitty totally under his thumb and in his pocket. So Big Bro whispered a timely warning to little neighbour and hey presto....before anyone could finish exclaiming "UNCLE SAM", it's water suddenly got populated with protective foreign aircraft carriers, with loud protests from Lil Bro and his cohorts, while Big Bro made a feeble show of protest to show 'support' but was actually quietly applauding the efficiency and quick action of little neighbour acting on his timely tip-off.

    It is anyone's guess whether that so-called upstart realised he's been had even after so decades have passed even though one of the main actors in this episode has gone to meet his maker, wa ka ka ka.

    end of story of this little saga about 3 fictitious characters in the faraway lands of the middle east.


    Back to serious business, singapore defence has been very successful because their ability of performing serious modification on the aircrafts or war machines they bought. I have seen it myself. The fucking cibai thingy that significant folks there are former malaysians. So people like johormali, be fucking afraid. Uncle Sam not just sell aircrafts to singapore but missles & technology sharing & the ability to allow singapore to modify them

    Hence you would never fuck know what the fuck animal johormali might up to. Perhaps johormali lancheow may kenna castrated by them. Hahahahahaha Cibai

    Another what the fuck point we are talking about defence. Johormali that fucking cibai ketuanan fucking melayu wanna show his cock. Little that he knows almost every ASEAN countries including Indonesia wanna castrate his lancheow. Perhaps, johormali should bertaubat la

    Back to real business, your good friend khoo kay peng has been maglined your beloved CM. I think it's time you should redivert your attention in engaging your matey. Go & bring your transport master plan.


    DAP's Distorted Reality: A Master Class Act to Justify the Party's Action and Inaction

    Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is unhappy that Penang is still unable to enforce its Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment, which was gazetted in early 2012. He told the state assembly today that state Legal Advisor Faiza Zulkifli was still finalising all the necessary work on it and that he hoped the state would be able to enforce it by early next year.

    He said she had told him the FOI would be enforced once all rules, regulations, guidelines and charges had been gazetted.

    Here is another example where policies and public projects in Penang are conducted in reverse order. Why gazette the FOI enactment if the procedures, guidelines and operational process are not yet ready?

    The party leadership has criticized the BN for playing to the gallery when it took a drastic decision to cancel the EO but short of studying its consequences and steps that need to be taken. Is the DAP doing the same for the FOI? It was approved and gazetted because the DAP was trying to shore up support for the last GE?

    Similarly, the undersea tunnel was approved and awarded without conducting any necessary studies to justify the project. No DEIA yet but contractors have started to appoint subcontractors but the government is telling us that the project might still be rescinded if 'independent' studies are negative. This is a classic case of DAP's distorted reality.

    First distortion: the government has to build the tunnel because the Fed govt refuses to approve public bus license.

    Second distortion: the Fed govt is sabotaging Penang's public transport.

    Third distortion: build undersea tunnel because the building of a third bridge needs Fed approval.

    Fourth distortion: the undersea tunnel and roads worth RM6.3 bil are FREE!

    Fifth distortion: if you voted against BN/UMNO means you support the undersea tunnel


  11. MrLooses74,
    Frankly I could not make the head or tail of your crafty and highly intellectual piece ( maybe a potential Phd material !) which I could never match But please elaborate to a simpleton like me on the many expletives words you have written , I'm trying very very hard to decipher.

  12. Say no to the Undersea Tunnel11:57 am, July 09, 2013

    Bravo to Khoo Kay Peng. He does not hesitate to criticise Lim Guan Eng and DAP when it makes sense.

    The proposed Penang Undersea tunnel is a potential (I would say VERY likely) death trap.

    Over the years, there have been 5 cases of vehicle fires on the Penang Bridge , which resulted in the complete destruction of the vehicles involved. Fortunately, because the current bridge is open air, no injury , deaths or damage extended to any other users. The only fatalities occured some years ago with an elderly couple who were unable to exit their burning car.

    If these fires had occured in an enclosed tunnel, a far, far bigger tragedy would have occurred.

    39 people died in the Mont Blanc tunnel vehicle fire 1999 - this is in Europe, with advanced fire fighting equipment and teams on standby.

    1. you're on a completely different topic to this post but I'll allow it only once.

      Incidentally I use the undersea tunnels in Sydney everyday and I have used the ones in HK many times so I don't see your concerns as realistic or objective.

      Yes, there have been accidents in tunnels but it doesn't mean that we avoid tunnels. It's like arguing there have been many accidents on highways therefore we should avoid using roads.