How we can cut MINDEF budget further

On Friday, the gahmen debated on the defence ministry’s budget for the upcoming year.

According to this Business Times report, MINDEF tops the budget this year again (no surprise), with $14.6 billion. In case you don’t know how much that means, it is: $14,600,000,000 (a lot of zeros sia) or $14,600 million.

Nobody is going to argue with Minister Ng Eng Hen on how and how much his ministry is going to spend on building up the capabilities of our defence forces using the latest and most relevant military technology. Jin satki.

With the NS men pool size shrinking and the MINDEF constantly facing challenges to attract people to join them, it is just as important for MINDEF to have competitive welfare and remuneration to attract, retain and recognise talents.

And hor, since our neighbours are spending so much on their defence budget, how can we – a small country in a challenging regions- lose to them also right? So since Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen says there will be no spike in defence spending, it also need a lot of discipline from the defence ministry to use the same money and continue to up their capabilities.

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So despite all these, MINDEF should be prudent and think of creative ways to save. Given the huge budget, even a 0.1% or 0.01% savings is in the millions. Don’t play play hor.

For example, how about looking at reducing the number of reservist days, so that MINDEF doesn’t need to compensate the employers so much for the absence of their employees for national duty? Make the reservist period shorter – re-design the training to make it more compact, more intense and more efficient. This way,  MINDEF can reduce the compensation to the employers, the NS men don’t need to be away from work for too long and their employers will most likely be happy also. WIN-WIN-WIN.

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Also, in every military camp, the food wastage situation can be quite jialut. The cookhouse in every camp will prepare a lot of free food but most staff actually prefer to buy at the canteen. A lot of food gets thrown away every day.  Rather than do this, how about polling the camp staff if they still want to keep the free food option? If yes, have a count on how many people actually eat the food and get them to register for their food beforehand. Just cook for these people ONLY. My gut feel is that the food is so ordinary that it won’t be missed.

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All these may seem like peanuts against the money we need to build up defence capabilities. But remember, even 0.01% is in the millions. Save save save, before our expenses go up, up, up.