KUALA LUMPUR - The Defence Ministry will proceed with acquiring the armed forces' assets under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) despite the current economic challenges.
Its minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that the ministry and the armed forces (ATM) will continue giving their undivided attention to 11MP despite facing global, regional and national economic challenges.
"This is important. We can't deny that the economic situation globally, regionally and nationally is challenging. But I am confident that with careful planning by the ministry and the ATM, we will be able to overcome these challenges," he explained.
According to Hishammuddin, the economic situation will not harm the core of the ministry's "business" which was to ensure national security and boost the morale of ATM personnel and its veterans.
Hishammuddin said among efforts to be taken by the ministry were the upgrading of the 'Nuri' Sikorsky S-61A-4 helicopter, Hercules C-130, Admiral Class Corvette and the acquisition of other assets for the three wings of ATM.
He added that the acquisitions were to meet the needs of the armed forces and overcome threats to national security.
Hishammuddin confirmed that French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian will be visiting the country on Tuesday and that discussions over the acquisition of the French Dassault Aviation Rafale multi-role combat aircraft might be carried out.
"If it is within our ability, I would like the acquisition to be considered. The technical aspects will be accessed by the air force.
"The economic viability and buying power is under the purview of the Finance Ministry," he said.
According to Hishammuddin, the acquisition can only be carried out if the financial package offered fulfilled the requirements set by the Finance Ministry.
"It can be done in the near future, and with transparency. The asset is not cheap, and it must be accepted by the public.
"It must be something that we need, but at the same time we must be realistic on whether or not we can afford it," he clarified.
Hishammuddin spoke to reporters at the Defence Ministry yesterday after presenting awards of excellence to children of the armed forces' personnel, who performed well in the recent Form Three Assessment (PT3) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.