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Enough money for submarines but not for army quarters, Shafie tells govt

Semporna MP Shafie Apdal says no measures have been taken to improve the welfare of military personnel throughout the country.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Military personnel participate in the Merdeka parade at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, Aug 31, 2022.
Military personnel participate in the Merdeka parade at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, Aug 31, 2022.

Semporna MP Shafie Apdal today questioned the government's will to address the welfare of its national security personnel, especially in terms of their living quarters at military camps throughout the country. 

Given the increasing challenges in global security, he said, the government should focus on the comfort and welfare of its military personnel.

He added however that no proposals or measures had been taken to improve their welfare. 

"We can buy submarines, we can buy equipment costing billions of ringgit, but when I was the deputy defence minister, I remember there being only one room, where the entire family would live. Imagine," he said during the oral question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat. 

Several MPs previously raised similar issues to the defence ministry regarding the welfare of army personnel and veterans. 

These included the matter of lodgings as well as pension rates which were criticised as being outdated and not in sync with current needs. 

Shafie urged the defence minister and his deputy to visit the army camps in areas like Sabah and Langkawi to see for themselves the state of the personnel there. 

"Visit my constituency in Semporna," he added. "This is why I gave allocations for their aid during my time as the chief minister." 

Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari meanwhile asked MPs to refer to the defence white paper for a better understanding of the National Defence Policy which he said emphasised the issue of social welfare. 

He said the full report contained eight issues including the direction and future of the ministry, security and national sovereignty. 

"This is why Article 5 in the white paper is about the military personnel," he said. 

"I am confident that we at the defence ministry have never overlooked this matter during post-Cabinet meetings throughout the few months that I have been at the ministry."