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More sharing of information and close to cooperation among countries in Southeast Asia will help reduce incidences of smuggling and piracy
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Royal Malaysian Navy Continues To Shine
April 26, 2011 21:07 PM

BY: NORSHAZLINA BT NORAZMAN

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 (Bernama) -- With its military spirit, loyalty to the country and undying courage, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), which celebrates its 77th anniversary tomorrow, continues to strengthen its force in ensuring the sovereignty and maximum security of the country's waters.

As a branch of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), the RMN remains a division that is credible and ready to face challenges for the people and country.

For example, their success in saving RMN auxiliary vessel Bunga Mas 5 in Aden Bay, Somalia, opened the eyes of the world and also became a landmark in the nation's defence history.

Also, June 20 was a proud moment when the Ops Fajar 8 team recovered commercial vessel MT Bunga Laurel, which had been hijacked by pirates, as seven armed pirates were arrested by the Special Protection Team after exchanging fire from air and sea.

RMN chief, Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, said the naval success upheld the MAF, especially the RMN, to a higher level in the international maritime arena, showing that it is on par with other countries.

He added that the navy also demonstrated their capability to continuously operate in foreign waters with success.

"Ops Fajar is entering its ninth year, and throughout the operation not one commercial vessel owned by the MISC or country was hijacked by armed pirates."

The presence of Ops Fajar also crippled two attempted pirate ships attempting attacks on Chinese commercial vessels, MV Zhenhua 4 on Dec 17, 2008 and Indian commercial vessel MT Abdul Kalam Azad on Jan 1, 2009," he told Bernama in a special interview at his office, here recently.

Abdul Aziz said more of such successes would follow with a proposal for an additional escort vessel by next September, should it be approved by MISC Berhad.

Currently, he said, with only one vessel operating, the task of escorting Malaysian commercial vessels through Aden Bay becomes complicated and time-consuming when there are too many ships to escort.

"Two successful meetings with MISC Berhad discussed the concept, design and characteristics of the second vessel...and come May 5 the development and latest status on the proposal will be discussed in more detail.

"If this happens, the second ship will operate independently, whereby one vessel will escort from the West to East and another from East to West...it will launch operations and movement of Malaysian commercial vessels, as well as enable high returns for MISC," he said.

He added that auxiliary vessel Bunga Mas 5 made history when it became the first auxiliary vessel in the world to be used to fight pirates in Aden Bay.

Ops Fajar was launched following the hijacking of two MISC vessels, Bunga Melati 2 and Bunga Melati 5, in Aden Bay in July 2008 before the Bunga Mas 5, a former MISC Berhad commercial vessel that was renovated into an RMN auxiliary vessel.

It was deployed to escort and protect the country's commercial vessels from threats of pirates in Aden Bay and nearby waters.

The Special Sea Unit (PASKAL), also known as KD Panglima Hitam, was the backbone of Ops Fajar's success with the assistance of the Army Special Operations Group (GGK), Special Air Service (PASKAU) and MISC Berhad crew, who were absorbed into the RMN Volunteer Reserve Team (PSSTLDM).

Abdul Aziz said the RMN would also update its defence system through plans of purchasing the latest defence assets and equipment, as well as replacing old assets in line with their goal to become a more ready and efficient organisation.

He said among the purchases planned in the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP)includes six Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopters, a multi-purpose support ship(MSS) and disaster support ship to boost the country's maritime defence.

For patrol and training purposes, the RMN has also agreed to buy two ships from a local ship building company, NGV Tech Sdn Bhd, and they will be built at the NGV Tech ship dock in Kampung Sinjangkang, Teluk Panglima Garang, with a completion target of two years.

"These normal patrol ships are sophisticated and will be equipped with various weapons to be used as training objects, which RMN personnel will be taught to use.

Regarding the anniversary celebrations, tomorrow which has been themed "Warga Didahulukan, Kesiapsiagaan Diutamakan" (People First, Readiness Now), he said it will be a lively but moderate affair in Lumut to be attended by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, as RMN Colonel-in-chief.

The navy is seen as more mature in their efforts to strengthen its structure and armada to ensure safety, but despite this heavy responsibility it cannot be denied that the RMN has a praise worthy 77-year track record.

Therefore, it is appropriate that the RMN be congratulated for bravely and confidently stepping forward as an able force to dominate military operations and become a versatile armed force in this century.

--BERNAMA

 
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