KLUANG, Oct 9 — The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) will study the Budget 2023 allocations it has received within the next two months, with a focus on four main cores, said Senior Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said in total Mindef has received RM17.37 billion for 2023, an increase of RM1.23 billion, or 7.8 per cent, compared with the previous year’s allocation.

He added that, of that amount, operational expenditure increased by 2.7 per cent to RM11.41 billion and development expenditure increased by 18.3 per cent to RM5.96 billion.

“Of this amount, I need to study how it can be fully utilised because I am also bound by the plans in Mindef, after discussing with the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), in relation to our policies.

“I have made a decision that whatever we want to announce next, the leadership at Mindef and MAF must give priority to the four cores that I always emphasise,” he said here, today

Hishammuddin said this after officiating the closing ceremony of the Army Carnival 2022 at the Mini Stadium, Taman Sri Lambak, here today.

The Member of Parliament for Sembrong also said that the four cores are the purchase of new assets; maintenance of existing assets; the well-being of MAF veterans and improvement of the welfare of defence personnel.

However, he said that Mindef always thinks outside the box and does not look at budget allocation as the only method to strengthen the ministry and MAF.

“That’s why we shouldn’t look at the budget as everything. There are many other ways for us to think outside the box to help in the situation, it’s not easy, with the world economic uncertainty, but we can’t compromise in terms of security and defence. What is more important to me and close to my heart are welfare agendas,” he added.

Regarding the improvement of the welfare of defence personnel, Mindef also continues to cooperate closely with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT), in an effort to enable more military personnel, including MAF veterans, to buy affordable homes.

In addition, he said that Mindef will also continue to strengthen cooperation with the Ministry of Health, especially in efforts to improve infrastructure and facilities at Armed Forces hospitals and polyclinics, as well as medical and dental centres.

When asked about the complaints of a few MAF veterans about the lack of special allocations for them in Budget 2023, Hishammuddin explained that the veterans should not look at the presentation speech alone.

“If the ministry has yet to detail what has been announced, I believe that matters related to veterans have yet to be detailed.

“Even before the tabling of the budget, some of the things they asked for, we have approved. Instead of complaining, it’s better to come and discuss with us what we can do to help them (veterans),” he said.

Recently, the president of the Pertubuhan Suara Patriotik Rakyat Malaysia (PSPRM), Mior Rosli Mior Mohd Jaafar, was quoted as saying that the 2023 Budget does not favour military veterans.

Among the demands made before is a review of disability pensions for veterans who were injured while on duty. — Bernama