KUALA LUMPUR, 13 April 2009: New Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today the ministry would prioritise the welfare of military and ex-service personnel and their families.
This would continue the efforts undertaken by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he held the defence portfolio, Ahmad Zahid said after officially taking over the helm of the defence ministry here.
He said he would also assimilate Islam-based elements into the administration, but would not neglect the rights and interests of people of other religions.
Ahmad Zahid said his experience of having been the political secretary to Najib when the latter was the defence minister from 1990 to 1993 would give him some advantage in helming the ministry.
Ahmad Zahid also announced that Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad would take charge of the National Service Training Programme.
“We will also cooperate with the Education Ministry in producing school cadets to enlighten students in matters pertaining to defence and, at the same time, identify excellent school cadets for absorption into the armed forces later,” Ahmad Zahid said.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid took the salute and inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by officers and men of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment. Also present were Dr Abdul Latiff, ministry secretary-general Datuk Abu Bakar Abdullah, Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal, and the chiefs of the three services of the armed forces. — Bernama