KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 – Enhancing and maintaining the state of ‘comprehensive preparedness’ across all defence assets is one of the four ways to mitigate traditional threats in the 21st century. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Malaysia was constantly keeping its defence assets up to date not only in terms of hardware, but also in strengthening the morale and capacities of its security personnel.
“The best weapons in the world cannot help us if our soldiers are not able and willing to fight. When our ‘core assets’ are motivated, and our other defence assets well maintained and routinely upgraded to keep up with the times, that is when we reach a state of comprehensive preparedness which will enable us to confront traditional security threats in the 21st century and emerge triumphant in a potential conflict,” he said.
He said this in his keynote address at the Kuala Kuala International Youth Discourse themed ‘Embracing Total Security: Why It Matters’. Hishammuddin said the other ways were introduction of rigorous threat mechanism and offensive containment management of threats; continuous support and development of multilateral institutions through multiple channels; and rational, responsive and responsible leadership.
He said offensive containment was most successfully used in the campaign against the so-called Islamic State or Daesh, and that Malaysia was very committed to tackling the root cause by using a combination of soft power approaches, apart from military might. “We have long realised that bombing terrorists into submission or total annihilation will not solve the threat from terrorism, in fact it may further embolden the terrorist sympathisers to take up the cause,” he said.
Hishammuddin said Malaysia must also continue to support and develop multilateral institutions including ASEAN to not only facilitate trade and economic integration but also keeping the peace. In terms of leadership, he said leaders must be able to make bold decisions at the back of carefully calculated risks, and it also called for compromise, for up-lifting the followers rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator.
He said the main traditional security threats at this moment included increased vulnerability due to existing fault lines in the region; complex multi-stakeholder legacy territorial disputes; proliferation of the arms race and the rise of authoritarian populism. — Bernama