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Elections in Malaysia – part I. Interview with Dzirhan Mahadzir, Defence Journalist

W Malezji rośnie napięcie w związku z nadchodzącymi trzynastymi wyborami. Opozycja nigdy w historii nie była tak silna jak obecnie, tak wiec wiele zależy od wyników wyborów. Obecnie najbardziej prawdopodobnym miesiącem do rozpisania wyborów parlamentarnych w Malezji jest moment tuż po ogłoszeniu budżetu (28 września). Jego projekt musi zostać przedstawiony na zaczynającej się 24.09 sesji Parlamentu. Choć z wypowiedzi premiera Malezji Najiba wynika, iż wybory „są tuż za rogiem”, a przygotowania po stronie koalicji rządzącej toczą się pełną parą, to jednak koalicja rządząca Barisan Nasional (Front Narodowy) nie znalazła jeszcze kandydatów do wszystkich okręgów wyborczych. Główna siła rządząca Malezją wciąż zwleka z ogłoszeniem wyborów, licząc na większe poparcie w społeczeństwie. Na temat wyborów i ich konsekwencji dla budżetu obronnego Malezji wypowiedział się dla CSPA Dr Dzirhan Mahadzir.

Sergiusz Prokurat (CSPA) is conducting an interview with Dr Dzirhan Mahadzir, an independent defence/security analyst based in Kuala Lumpur.

What do you think of the country’s political development in mid-2012? When according to your knowledge will be the 13th General Election and do you think BN (Barisan Nasional) will be able to maintain its majority or rather otherwise?

So far it has largely been a electoral climate with both majority political parties pushing policies, agendas and rhetoric largely geared towards winning the General Election rather than addressing the problems and challenges Malaysia faces. There is too much willingness from both sides to immdeiately backtrack or modify their stance or outlook on issues based on public sentiment or response. In my opinion the BN will be able to maintain a majority but may be close.

Will military interfere in if the current ruling coalition looses the elections?

Very unlikely as the Malaysian Armed Forces has never intervened in government unlike it’s neighbours and subscribe to the principle of civilian control. The context though is that the armed forces is constitutionally bound to the King and any intervention would have to come from the orders of the King. A number of senior Malaysian Armed Forces officers though have indicated to me privately that they would request for retirement rather than serve a Pakatan Rakyat federal government.

What are possible (let’s say three most probable) scenarios after elections and more importantly what each imply for Malaysian military budget and procurements?

Internal recriminations within the political parties – this is normally the case as depending on how badly each political party or coalition does, there will be fingerpointing and blame and some will use it as a catalyst towards settling political scores, removing rivals or changing the leadership. Success also has its own problems as there will be the jockeying for positions and claiming credit for success. In general the military budget will be unaffected by this scenario as it has already been allocated by the 5 year Malaysia plans, however any crucial decision on key procurements may be delayed if the Prime Minister is busy dealing with political threats to his position

A Barisan National Victory – would depend on level of victory, a weak or scrape by victory would give rise to point 1 above in BN and government and decisionmaking on defence. A strong victory may mean that key programs would move faster in regards to decisions to go ahead.

A Pakatan Rakyat Victory – If Pakatan Rakyat wins, the likelihood is that it will be slim and likely Barisan National will pull all the stops to undermine it or encourage defections, likely political paralysis and infighting for the country.

In the ASEAN region countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam are likely to rise their manpower and proceed with modernization of military equipment. Nevertheless Malaysian defense expenditures seemed to be stable. Do you think it would be changed after elections?

Doubtful, the key problem is finances and Malaysia is somewhat crippled by providing subsidies to public and high operating costs of a bloated civil service, unless reforms are made, likelihood is that Malaysia cannot increase defence spending even if it wanted to as the finances would not support it.

Since you are an expert in defense purchase could you tell us what future military contracts government will be considering and what’s the most important part of army (meaning Navy, Flight, Land) for Malaysia to upgrade right now?

At the moment, the key program is the potential purchase of 12-18 multirole combat aircraft to replace the MiG-29 fleet, that decision is to be made after the General Elections. The Navy has a requirement for at least 6 ASW helicopters though that may be delayed.

Beyond that it is difficult to say as all three services have extensive requirements but there is no indication that any of these will be funded. Below is a listing of some of them:

6-12 Attack Helicopters for the Army

Tactical Transport helicopters for the Army

LPD type ship for the Navy

Air Defence Systems for the Army and Air Force

ATGW for the Army infantry

Additional lead in fighter trainer aircraft for the Air Force

AEWC  platform for Air Force

Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Thank you for your time!

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Elections in Malaysia – part I. Interview with Dzirhan Mahadzir, Defence Journalist Reviewed by on 31 sierpnia 2012 .

W Malezji rośnie napięcie w związku z nadchodzącymi trzynastymi wyborami. Opozycja nigdy w historii nie była tak silna jak obecnie, tak wiec wiele zależy od wyników wyborów. Obecnie najbardziej prawdopodobnym miesiącem do rozpisania wyborów parlamentarnych w Malezji jest moment tuż po ogłoszeniu budżetu (28 września). Jego projekt musi zostać przedstawiony na zaczynającej się 24.09 sesji

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