Austerity measures will not affect national security, PM says

Ismail Sabri stresses that national security has always been the main focus of the govt


THE restructuring of allocations done by the government to achieve the target of at least 5% savings will not affect the planning related to national security, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture) said.

He emphasised that national security had always been the main focus of the government.

Thus, he said the details of the austerity measures as announced by the government will be clarified by the Minister in the PM’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in a statement.

“The savings are in terms of development. Development projects that have not been implemented in the planning.

“I can assure that the country’s security will not be affected. Security is a priority (of the government).

“The details will be soon announced by Mustapa. I do not want to explain what Mustapa wants to say. He will make a statement,” he told reporters after officiating the National Security Conference 2022 in Putrajaya today.

Last Friday, all ministries, departments, agencies, federal statutory bodies and limited companies with guarantees (CLBGs) were instructed to implement internal austerity measures by optimising spending, to enable the savings to be channelled for the welfare of the people.

The directive was issued through a Malaysian Treasury Circular entitled “Guidelines on Saving Public Expenditure”, signed by the Finance Ministry (MoF) secretary general Datuk Seri Asri Hamidon.

According to the circular, all federal ministries, departments, agencies and statutory bodies as well as CLBGs must restructure programmes or activities and manage cashflow according to priority without compromising programmes and activities that focus on the wellbeing of the people.

The operating expenses of all the entities are also required to implement savings to ensure all expenses are in accordance with the principles and rules set for financial management issued by the MoF from time to time.

Meanwhile, Malaysia today introduced the Comprehensive Security (Comsec) doctrine to enable the responsibility of maintaining national security to be shouldered proactively by all the government machinery and the people from all walks of life.

According to the PM, the Comsec doctrine, introduced by the National Security Council (NSC), is to enable Malaysia to face the challenges of national security management now and in the future.

“The pillar to the implementation of a comprehensive security strategy is the trust that must be upheld by all members of the Malaysia Family,” he said in his officiating speech.

He added that all government machineries should ensure the Comsec strategy is implemented in all aspects of the country’s governance and for NSC to implement the Comsec Practice initiative as soon as possible.

PM also noted that for the next three years, NSC should start a framework for the implementation of the Comsec Practice to be tested at an early stage and improved continuously.

On that note, Ismail Sabri said the responsibility to ensure Malaysia remains sovereign, peaceful and prosperous does not lie on the shoulders of the security forces and the government machineries alone, but it is also the shared responsibility of the entire Malaysia Family.

He said the concept of the Malaysia Family which he initiated since August 2021 carried a very relevant spirit and had synergy with the national security philosophy.

“The Malaysia Family aims to ensure our large family, which consists of various races and religions, lives in safety and harmony by adhering to the three main values of ‘Inclusion’, ‘Togetherness’ and ‘Gratitude’.

“It also proves that the idea of the Malaysia Family is not just rhetoric or slogans but the interests and wellbeing of the people are given priority like taking care of a family,” he said.

The PM also highlighted that NSC had developed a strategic and comprehensive National Security Policy to face the implications of various potential issues, challenges and threats.

As the chairman of NSC, he saw the policy as a complement to the government’s planning, which aimed at the prosperity of the country, including the 12th Malaysia Plan.  

In the meantime, Ismail Sabri said the challenges of national security management also include aspects of daily life such as food security, which has an impact on national security if not managed properly.

Ismail Sabri said the food security issue could not be seen from the perspective of agriculture, livestock and food supply alone because it was also closely linked to the situation of instability that occurred at the international level.

“The Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as extreme climate change are examples of the effects of the global chain, which has affected the entire Malaysia Family as well.

“If no initial preparations are made, the country will definitely face risks that will ultimately affect social and economic stability and thus result in serious security implications,” he said.