PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has called for the procurement of military equipment to be done in a more “professional” manner.
Having been in office for less than two months, he said he had already identified how the government could have saved RM3 billion to RM4 billion had it been more careful with its procurement procedures under the defence ministry.
“Whether it’s related to security of the land, sea, or air, there is a responsibility to ensure the best equipment is proposed and negotiated for, without political interference or the interest of vendors,” he said in his opening speech at the Budget 2023 Dialogue at the finance ministry here.
Defence-related projects, such as the offshore patrol vessel (OPV 1) and the purchase of six littoral combat ships (LCS), have been highlighted in the past two years over the many delays and the billions paid out without any delivery.
He said that if such procurements were handled by those who were “competent”, the wastage of resources could have been avoided.
Anwar, who is also finance minister, called for the government to expedite approvals for projects that can help revive the economy.
He gave the example of an organic farm in Kuala Lumpur which took two years to obtain the relevant government approval despite it being an initiative under one of the country’s five pillars to resuscitate the economy.
“This nonsense must stop,” he said, adding that department heads would be held fully accountable and action would be taken against them for such delays.
Anwar also said the upcoming Budget 2023 will prioritise the green economy, the digital economy, as well as provide assistance to micro- and small- and medium-enterprises (MSME) to become competitive.
Budget 2023 is slated to be tabled on Feb 24.
The previous budget, which was presented by the Ismail Sabri Yaakob-led government in October, was not approved as Parliament was dissolved to make way for the 15th general election (GE15).
On Dec 20, the Dewan Rakyat passed a RM107.7 billion temporary operating budget.
This was mainly to pay salaries of civil servants and other related operational expenditure to ensure the smooth operations of the government until the new budget was passed.
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