KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2009: There was no cost analysis for the formation of a Tentera Wataniah battalion in all 222 parliamentary constituencies.
“There is no cost analysis for the nation’s defence,” Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad told the Dewan Rakyat today.
“The cost (for the battalion) is not high, because we only pay them an allowance,” Abdul Latif added.
The deputy minister revealed that allowances for the volunteer military force, numbering 45,000 persons nationwide, currently costs the government “only RM50 million”.
However, Abdul Latif also told Parliament that the ministry had plans to increase the number of Tentera Wataniah forces by another 50,000.
“This is to achieve a two-to-one ratio of volunteers to career personnel,” Abdul Latif said.
Abdul Latif also revealed that the current allowance scheme for Tentera Wataniah would be reviewed, to make volunteering “more attractive”.
Abdul Latif was answering a question by Charles Santiago (Klang-DAP) about the formation of Tentera Wataniah battalion in all 222 parliamentary constituencies.
This move, announced on 12 April, quickly invited suspicions that such troops would add to the number of postal votes in such constituencies.
Abdul Latif has previously denied such allegations, pointing out that Tentera Wataniah personnel were volunteers, and therefore regular voters.