Defence: Pentingnya Mempertahankan Kedaulatan Negara

Operasi Daulat Mac 2013

Pada hari Selasa bersamaan 12 Februari 2013, sekumpulan 100 orang bersenjata yang diketuai oleh Haji Musa, orang kanan Mohammad Ismail A Kiram, anak keempat kepada Muhammad Fuad A Kiram, seorang yang mengangkat dirinya sendiri sebagai Sultan Sulu, telah mendarat di Kampung Tanduo, Tanjung Labian, di daerah Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Menurut laporan asal, mereka berkumpul di sebuah rumah milik Ahmad Malandi, yang juga dikenali sebagai ‘Mat Bom‘ bukan hanya kerana beliau sering menggunakan bom buatan sendiri untuk menangkap ikan, tetapi juga kerana pernah menyerang sebuah pejabat FELDA di FELDA Sahabat  dalam tahun 1990an dengan menggunakan bom ikan gara-gara tidak berpuas hati dengan pertikaian tanah pusaka dengan FELDA.

Saya pernah menulis bagaimana kumpulan pertama yang terdiri dari lima orang yang memakai jubah diiringi 27 orang memakai separa-celoreng telah medarat terlebih dahulu, diikuti sekitar 70 orang kemudiannya.  Kesemua mereka bersenjatakan M-14 dan AR-15.

Pasukan keselamatan membuat tembakan di sebalik perlindungan semasa Op Daulat

Pasukan keselamatan telah mula bertindak dengan Polis DiRaja Malaysia menggerakkan dua kompeni dari Pasukan Gerakan Am, dan disokong oleh pegawai dan anggota Tentera Darat Malaysia dari 5 Briged Infantri.  Rundingan dijalankan pihak PDRM untuk memujuk mereka meletakkan senjata dan menyerah diri kepada pihak polis.  Malangnya, pada 1 Mac 2013 para pengganas Sulu ini bertindak bertempur dengan pasukan Komando 69 PDRM di Kampung Tanduo, diikuti dengan serang hendap terhadap pegawai dan anggota Cawangan Khas PDRM di Kampung Simunul di Semporna keesokan harinya.  Pada 5 Mac 2013, peringkat ofensif oleh Angkatan Tentera Malaysia dan PDRM telah dilancarkan untuk menghapuskan para pengganas tersebut.

Salah seorang pengganas Sulu yang mampus ditembak oleh pasukan keselamatan Malaysia

Peristiwa berdarah tersebut telah berlalu lebih empat tahun yang lalu dan ramai yang sudah melupakan peristiwa tersebut.  Malah sejak berakhirnya peristiwa tersebut, ada juga pihak-pihak yang berbaik-baik dengan musuh negara yang nyata dengan memberi mereka pengiktirafan politik di negara mereka.  Alasan yang diberikan ialah peristiwa di Kampung Tanduo adalah ‘kisah lama.’ Begitulah celakanya sikap mereka yang durjana ini.

“Kisah di Kampung Tanduo adalah kisah lama,” kata Ahli Parlimen DAP, Teresa Kok

Sungguh malang nasib balu dan ibubapa 10 orang para pegawai dan anggota PDRM dan ATM yang terkorban di Lahad Datu mempertahankan kedaulatan negara.  Pengorbanan anak mereka, suami mereka, bapa kepada anak-anak mereka, diperlekehkan oleh mereka yang tidak berhati perut, hanya kerana kepentingan politik sempit mereka.

Salah seorang perajurit negara yang terkorban di Lahad Datu

Baru-baru ini dilangsungkan perbarisan penganugerahan “Battle Honour Daulat Februari 2013” di Kota Kinabalu.  Selain untuk menganugerahkan unit-unit ATM yang terlibat dalam Op Daulat dengan “Battle Honour,” ianya juga adalah untuk memberitahu kepada rakyat Malaysia, terutamanya di Sabah, bahawa kerajaan tidak memandang ringan tugas mempertahankan kedaulatan negara, dan juga memperingatkan semua bahaya pencerobohan yang dilakukan sama ada untuk peperangan konvensional mahupun peperangan asimetri.

Perbarisan penganugerahan “Battle Honour Daulat Februari 2013” di Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu pada 11 Ogos 2017

Lewat ini kita sering dapati sesetengah pihak yang tidak bertanggung jawab menyerang integriti serta moral pasukan keselamatan dengan menghina dan merendah-rendahkan kebolehan serta aset yang dimiliki pasukan keselamatan.  Mungkin mereka merasakan bahawa di dalam mana-mana peperangan, mereka tidak akan merasa sebarang kesusahan.

Kita ketahui terdapat anggota ATM dan PDRM yang tercedera dalam pertempuran semasa Op Daulat dilangsungkan tetapi tidak ramai yang mengetahui mahupun dapat menilai pengorbanan yang dilakukan oleh pasukan keselamatan kita untuk mempertahankan kedaulatan.  Ini bukannya cerita ‘Combat‘ mahupun ‘Rambo‘ di mana heronya akan mendapat luka-luka kecil tatkala bertempur, tetapi ada yang tidak sempurna anggota dan fungsi tubuh badan setelah terkena tembakan.

Berikut adalah di antara paparan yang mungkin tidak pernah dilihat oleh rakyat Malaysia sebelum ini, tetapi saya rasakan amat perlu ditunjuk supaya kita faham erti pengorbanan pasukan keselamatan kita.

Seorang anggota keselamatan Malaysia yang tercedera ditembak diberi rawatan oleh petugas Kor Kesihatan DiRaja
Seorang anggota pasukan keselamatan kita yang ditembak di dada diberi rawatan oleh petugas Kor Kesihatan DiRaja setelah peluru tersebut menembusi tubuh beliau

Sekiranya anda merasakan hanya para anggota keselamatan kita yang merasa pahit maung pertempuran, anda tersilap. Realitinya amat berbeza sekali.

Apabila hospital medan didirikan oleh Kor Kesihatan DiRaja di kawasan operasi, orang awam yang terdiri dari para penduduk di situ yang telah tercedera ditembak secara rambang oleh pengganas Sulu berduyun-duyun datang untuk mendapatkan rawatan kecemasan.  Di antara mereka termasuk kanak-kanak dan bayi yang menjadi mangsa keganasan pengganas Sulu.  Mereka langsung tidak berperi kemanusiaan terhadap para penduduk timur Sabah sedangkan mereka kata Sabah adalah hak mereka.

Seorang mangsa tembakan rambang pengganas Sulu mendapatkan rawatan setelah Kor Kesihatan DiRaja membuka hospital medan
Seorang kanak-kanak juga menjadi mangsa kekejaman peluru pengganas Sulu
Bayi yang tidak berdosa ini juga tidak terlepas dari keganasan para pengikut Kiram. Bayi ini telah kehilangan banyak darah semasa dibawa ke hospital medan ATM. Status bayi ini tidak diketahui sama ada selamat ataupun tidak

Rentetan daripada insiden di Lahad Datu inilah kerajaan mewujudkan ESSCOM untuk memantapkan kawalan keselamatan di timur Sabah.  Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein berkata inisiatif terbaharu kerajaan ialah dengan menempatkan 7,000 anggota Tentera Darat  dengan perlaksanaan Op Daratan, Op Balasah, Op Khas dan Op Pasir bagi mempertahankan daratan Sabah.  Satu kompeni infantri Tentera Darat juga telah ditempatkan di kawasan Cenderawasih, Lahad Datu untuk memastikan kawasan pantai Lahad Datu terkawal sepenuhnya.

Tambah beliau lagi, inisiatif Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) telah dilancarkan oleh Malaysia bagi memastikan mana-mana anggota militan termasuk Da’esh tidak menjadikan Laut Sulu sebagai laluan tikus untuk menceroboh masuk ke negara ini manakala inisiatif Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) akan dilaksanakan dalam masa terdekat.

Jangan kita lupa siapa musuh kita.  Jangan kita bersekongkol dengan mereka yang bersahabat dengan musuh yang tidak senang dengan kemerdekaan dan kesenangan yang kita kecapi.  Jangan kita termakan hasutan politik kebencian (politics of hate) yang diamalkan oleh sesetengah pihak yang sanggup berbaik-baik dengan musuh untuk mendapat pengiktirafan mereka.

Musuh dalam selimut: Nurul Izzah bersama dengan Jacel Kiram, anak “Sultan” Kiram yang sehingga kini menganggap Sabah sebahagian dari “kerajaan” Sulu

Jangan kita lupa pengorbanan pasukan keselamatan kita. Jangan jadikan pemergian mereka, dan juga pemergian para penduduk yang menjadi mangsa kekejaman pengganas Sulu sebagai pemergian yang sia-sia.  Berikanlah sokongan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada pasukan keselamatan kita, terutamanya Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, kerana musuh tidak membeza-bezakan di antara tentera dan rakyat Malaysia.

Kita semua adalah musuh mereka.

Berilah sokongan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada Angkatan Tentera Malaysia

Defence: Pengetahuan Bersuara; Kebijaksanaan Mendengar

Dua hari lepas, kerajaan telah mengumumkan skim-skim bantuan untuk para Veteran ATM (VATM) termasuk Skim Anuiti Veteran (SAVe), Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN), penambahan kuota jemaah Haji Veteran, penambahbaikan bantuan kewangan untuk Veteran Kelainan Upaya sama ada semasa bertugas mahupun selepas meninggalkan perkhidmatan, serta peruntukan istimewa untuk Tabung Pahlawan sebanyak RM5 juta.

Enam inisiatif Veteran ATM yang telah diusahakan oleh kerajaan

Kemudahan yang diumukan ini akan dinikmati oleh seramai 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar setakat bulan Mei 2017, yang mana 118,371 atau 41 peratus adalah VATM berpencen manakala 170,581 atau 51 peratus adalah mereka yang tidak berpencen.  Malah, ianya merupakan suatu bonus terutamanya buat para VATM yang tidak menerima pencen bulanan sepertimana yang dinikmati oleh rakan-rakan mereka yang memilih untuk meneruskan perkhidmatan hingga layak pencen.

Kesemua inisiatif di atas kecuali yang berhubung dengan Tabung Pahlawan adalah dibiayai oleh Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), manakala Tabung Pahlawan membiayai inisiatifnya berdasarkan kutipan derma dari orang ramai, kerajaan dan pihak korporat.

Inisiatif-inisiatif tersebut adalah hasil keperihatinan pihak kerajaan terhadap para VATM, terutamanya VATM tidak berpencen yang paling ramai menghadapi kesempitan hidup.

Jika kita amati, golongan VATM yang tidak berpencen ini tidak menikmati bantuan sebanyak mana yang dinikmati rakan-rakan mereka yang berpencen.  Lihat sahaja kepada laman web Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran:

VATM yang berpencen sekurang-kurangnya menikmati faedah pencen setiap bulan dan juga menikmati kenaikan pencen setiap kali kenaikan diberikan.  Bagi VATM yang tidak berpencen, Bantuan Bakti Negara (dan SAVe bagi bakal VATM tidak berpencen) pengumuman kerajaan mengenai inisiatif-inisiatif ini amat bermakna, terutama sekali bagi VATM yang tergolong dalam kumpulan B40.

Namun, ada yang cuba menghasut kemarahan VATM sejurus selepas pengumuman tersebut dibuat dengan membandingkan RM200 yang diterima oleh para nelayan secara bulanan dengan purata RM100 yang diterima oleh VATM tidak berpencen melalui BBN.  Soalan saya kepada mereka ialah, adakah mereka yang menghasut ini mempunyai bot kecil untuk menangkap ikan di laman rumah mereka kerana RM200 bulanan kepada para nelayan itu adalah bantuan untuk menampung kos minyak enjin bot?

Sekiranya para nelayan yang menerima RM200 sebulan tersebut ada menerima skim-skim bantuan seperti yang saya senaraikan di bawah, maka bolehlah para VATM tidak berpencen tunjukkan kemarahan mereka:

  • Rawatan Perubatan Pesakit Luar/Dalam Yang Ditanggung oleh Kerajaan di Klinik dan Hospital termasuk di Institut Jantung Negara Sdn Bhd untuk VATM, isteri dan anak-anak di bawah umur 18 tahun atau 21 tahun jika masih belajar;
  • Skim Bantuan Sara Hidup bulanan bagi meringankan beban tanggungan sara hidup Veteran ATM dan tanggungan mereka yang daif, uzur, hilang upaya dan menghidap penyakit kronik berdasarkan kelayakan mengikut kiraan Pendapatan Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) yang ditetapkan;
  • Skim Bantuan Persekolahan dan Kolej Vokasional Kebangsaan adalah bertujuan bagi membiayai anak-anak Veteran ATM yang kurang mampu untuk meneruskan pelajaran mereka di peringkat rendah dan menengah berasaskan kelayakan mengikut kiraan PGK yang ditetapkan;
  • Bantuan Kemasukan ke IPTA dan Politeknik membantu meringankan beban kewangan ketika pendaftaran kemasukan ke Universiti Awam/Politeknik bagi anak-anak Veteran ATM sebagai memberi galakan dan motivasi untuk meneruskan pengajian di peringkat lebih tinggi;
  • Bantuan Peralatan Pesakit bertujuan memberi bantuan kewangan sekaligus kepada Veteran ATM, isteri dan tanggungan untuk membeli peralatan bantuan sokonganseperti kerusi roda, tongkat, katil, tilam dan sebagainya;
  • Bantuan Bencana Alam bertujuan memberi bantuan kewangan sekaligus untuk meringankan beban dan kesusahan yang dialami oleh Veteran ATM akibat bencana alam seperti ribut, kebakaran dan sebagainya.

VATM berpencen mendapat lebih banyak faedah dari yang disebutkan di atas.  Kita boleh bayangkan betapa banyak yang dibelanjakan setiap bulan oleh kerajaan untuk menjaga kebajikan 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar.  Apakah nilai RM200 yang diperolehi 140,949 orang nelayan lebih besar?

Ini belum lagi termasuk Program Membaikulih Rumah Veteran 1Malaysia, Pembinaan Rumah Mampu Milik, Pembinaan Poliklinik Angkatan Tentera, Program Recognition Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) yang juga dilaksanakan di bawah Teras Kebajikan di bawah Lima Teras Hala Tuju Kementerian Pertahanan.

Pada 19 Mei baru-baru ini VATM yang mengalami kecederaan semasa Insurgensi telah menerima Bayaran Insentif Khas Insurgensi.  Sebanyak RM55 juta telah diperuntukkan untuk inisiatif ini dan 2,939 orang VATM atau waris mereka telah mula dibayar insentif ini.

Semasa mengumumkan enam inisiatif baru dua hari lepas, Perdana Menteri ada menyebut bahawa akan ada pengumuman-pengumuman lain berkenan inisiatif untuk membantu para VATM dalam masa terdekat.  Mungkin ramai tidak mendengar dengan teliti apa yang disebutkan oleh Perdana Menteri sehingga termakan hasutan dengan mudah mungkin kerana ingin mendengar apa yang diharapkan – termasuk kenaikan pencen.

Pada pendapat saya, sekiranya pencen dinaikkan, ia melibatkan satu perbelanjaan yang amat besar.  Bukan sahaja VATM berpencen yang harus diberi kenaikan pencen, malah sebarang pelarasan melibakan juga kakitangan awam, polis dan lain-lain anggota jabatan-jabatan lain yang telahpun berpencen.  Tanpa menaikkan kadar pencen, jumlah kakitangan kerajaan, tentera, polis dan lain-lain yang baru pencen memerlukan kenaikan jumlah yang perlu dibayar kepada para pesara baru ini dan saya menganggarkan kos penambahan tersebut adalah sebanyak RM3 billion setahun.

Inilah seperti saya nyatakan di atas sebabnya inisiatif-inisiatif di atas dibiayai oleh LTAT dan tidak melibatkan perbelajaan besar oleh pihak kerajaan.  Ini dapat dilakukan kerana kerajaan percaya pihak pengurusan LTAT bijak mengurus segala aktivitinya hingga dapat menjana pendapatan yang menguntungkan bukan sahaja anggota ATM yang masih bertugas, malah juga yang telah bersara.

Dan inisiatif-inisiatif ini, sepertimana dalam ucapan Menteri Pertahanan, akan diteruskan dan ditambahbaik dari masa ke semasa selagi kerajaan ini memegang tampuk pentadbiran.

Sepatutnya sebagai VATM kita merasa bangga dan berterima kasih kerana mereka di kalangan kita yang amat memerlukan bantuan melalui inisiatif-inisiatif tersebut mendapat perhatian kerajaan, sekalipun kita tidak layak menerima bantuan tersebut kerana kita berpendapatan lebih dari mereka.

Mungkin persatuan-persatuan veteran pasukan keselamatan lain juga rasa mereka memerlukan perhatian yang sama, maka bolehlah mereka ajukan kepada organisasi mereka yang seumpama LTAT untuk membiayai inisiatif-inisiatif yang boleh mereka fikirkan tanpa melibatkan kewangan kerajaan.

Kepada para Veteran ATM, jangan mudah terpengaruh dengan hasutan. 10 masalah tidak boleh diselesaikan sekaligus. Ianya perlu diselesaikan satu persatu.  Biar pengetahuan kita yang bersuara, bukan pembohongan; dan biar kebijaksanaan kita mendengar, bukan kebencian.

Defence: Nasib Veteran Angkatan Tentera Yang Tidak Berpencen Dibela Kerajaan

Najib berkata kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang ada sekarang akan terus mencari jalan untuk membela nasib para veteran ATM – gambar hiasan oleh Roy Azis Abd Aziz, pemberita Muin,Amizul,Khairul,Syakir (Utusan,Kosmo)
Veteran Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (VATM) yang sebelum ini memilih untuk menamatkan perkhidmatan mereka sebelum layak menerima pencen kerana telah sampai tarikh tamat tempoh perkhidmatan dan tidak lagi mahu menyambung perkhidmatan sehingga mencapai umur layak pencen.

Mereka bukanlah diberhentikan kerana melanggar undang-undang, tetapi telah mencapai tempoh minima yang diperlu mereka berkhidmat sebagai seorang tentera.  Mereka diberi wang yang telah mereka carum dalam Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, yang mana kerajaan juga mencarum sebahagian dari simpaan mereka ini yang akan digunakan untuk menyara kehidupan setelah meninggalkan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM).

Walaupun ramai yang berjaya tetapi ramai juga kecundang dalam kehidupan setelah keluar dari perkhidmatan ATM.

Kerajaan sememangnya ada membantu nasib VATM dengan bantuan-bantuan yang diperlukan seperti menanggung kos perubatan para VATM. Ramai yang tidak tahu bahawa kos perubatan mereka di klinik-klinik serta hospital-hospital kerajaan, isteri mereka serta anak yang masih ditanggung yang lahir semasa mereka masih di dalam perkhidmatan adalah ditanggung sepenuhnya oleh kerajaan.

VATM juga masih menikmati kemudahan pembelian dari kedai-kedai PERNAMA yang mana kebanyakan barangan dikecualikan dari cukai eksais, cukai kastam dan cukai jualan yang dapat membantu mengurangkan kos sara hidup, walaupun sudah lama menamatkan perkhidmatan.

Begitu juga dengan latihan-latihan serta kursus-kursus kemahiran yang diadakan secara percuma di PERHEBAT bagi membantu para veteran mendapat ilmu dalam bidang-bidang khusus di mana orang awam perlu membayar sekitar empat angka untuk mendapat sijil yang sama.

Malah khairat kematian dan bantuan sara hidup bagi balu dan anak-anak veteran ATM yang telah meninggal dunia yang memenuhi kriteria juga diberikan oleh kerajaan dan setakat ini lebih 5,000 keluarga telah menerima kemudahan ini.

Kemudahan ini dinikmati oleh seramai 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar setakat bulan Mei 2017, yang mana 118,371 atau 41 peratus adalah VATM berpencen manakala 170,581 atau 51 peratus adalah mereka yang tidak berpencen.


Paling kurang sejak empat tahun yang lalu setelah memperkenalkan Skim Veteran Tidak Berpencen 1 Malaysia (SVT1M), kerajaan cuba merangka satu lagi inisiatif yang baru untuk membantu nasib VATM yang tidak berpencen.  Hasilnya, hari ini Perdana Menteri Dato’ Sri Najib Razak telah mengumumkan dua inisiatif baru – satu untuk pegawai dan anggota ATM yang akan menamatkan perkhidmatan tanpa berpencen, dan inisiatif yang satu lagi adalah untuk para VATM tanpa pencen.

Untuk mereka yang bakal menamatkan perkhidmatan tanpa berpencen, syarat-syarat kelayakan Skim Anuiti Veteran (SAVe) akan diumumkan oleh Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran (JHEV) kepada anda.

Untuk para VATM yang tidak berpencen, anda boleh melihat syarat-syarat kelayakan serta soalan-soalan lazim mengenai skim Bantuan Bakti Negara di sini – Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN).

Bagi para VATM dari kalangan anggota tetap dan bekas anggota Wataniah yang dikerah  sepenuh masa yang mana mereka berkhidmat kurang daripada 10 Tahun serta tidak menerima Pencen Perkhidmatan yang terpaksa diberhentikan awal daripada perkhidmatan akibat mengalami kecederaan dan kecacatan kekal sewaktu menjalankan tugas, sebelum ini mereka hanya menerima Skim Pencen Hilang Upaya sebanyak RM65 sahaja. Jumlah perolehan adalah berdasarkan kepada peratus kecederaan/hilang upaya yang dialami, pangkat dan gaji serta tempoh perkhidmatan ketika insiden berlaku.


Untuk golongan ini, Najib Razak mengumumkan penambahbaikan bagi Skim Pencen Hilang Upaya dan para VATM golongan ini akan mendapat kenaikan kadar pencen bermula antara 300% sehingga 800% untuk pembayaran pencen mereka. Ia melibatkan nilai minima dari RM500 sehinggalah nilai maksimum berjumlah RM2000.

Bagi VATM yang hilang upaya selepas menamatkan perkhidmatan pula, Insentif Veteran Kelainan Upaya yang diusahakan oleh Tabung Pahlawan PV ATM, Insentif yang selama ini berjumlah RM500 setahun dinaikkan kepada RM1,000 setahun yang mana pembayarannya akan dibuat dalam dua peringat setahun.

Lebih ramai juga VATM yang akan dapat peluang menunaikan ibadah Haji setelah Najib Razak mengumumkan kenaikan kuota jemaah Haji bagi VATM dari 100 orang sebelum ini kepada 400 orang setiap musim.

Selain itu, Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein mengumumkan bahawa selain bantuan-bantuan yang disalurkan melalui Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM (JHEV) satu Call Centre juga akan diwujudkan di JHEV sebagai pemudahcara bagi para veteran serta keluarga untuk menghubungi JHEV untuk mengutarakan masalah yang mereka hadapi.


Najib Razak juga telah melancarkan Kempen Tabung Pahlawan 2017.  Sebanyak RM1.85 juta telah disumbang oleh pihak korporat termasuk Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, Weststar Sdn Bhd, Affin Bank, Boustead Plantations Berhad, Boustead Petroleum Marketing Sdn Bhd, Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd,  Tenaga Nasional Berhad dan Pharmaniaga Berhad.

Turut hadir dalam majlis tersebut termasuk Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Sri Mohd Johari bin Baharum, pucuk pemerintahan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, dan Pengerusi Persatuan Veteran Angkatan Tentera, Senator Laksamana Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor (Bersara).  Turut hadir adalah lebih kurang 20,000 orang Veteran ATM iaitu lebih dari 15,000 orang Veteran ATM tidak berpencen yang dijemput.

 

 

Defence: Appreciate The Men and Women Protecting The Nation

One of the things introduced by the Najib Razak administration is for Ministers to go down to the ground and meet with the frontliners, learn about the problems that they face as well as consider the proposals from them on how things can be done better.  The days of “I’m a Minister therefore I know better” or “You are new therefore you know nothing” are over.

Sun Tzu quoted in Chapter 10 of the ‘Art of War‘:

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

Taking queue from both his boss and Sun Tzu, Minister of Defence Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein rushed off to Kuantan after the conclusion of the recent National Security Council meeting to rendezvous with the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu which was conducting a patrol in the South China Sea.  Despite the very limited time that he has, he made it a point to meet the frontliners to see how they are getting on while keeping the nation safe and secure during the fasting month.

Hishammuddin looking at the KD Lekiu before landing (taken from the Minister’s Twitter)

Hishamuddin, who was accompanied by the Chief of the Armed Forces  General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, and the Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin RMN, landed on board the KD Lekiu at 5.30pm and was met by the Commanding Officer of the KD Lekiu, Captain Mohd Fadzli Kamal Mohd Mohaldin RMN who then gave the Minister a short safety briefing.

Hishammuddin saying goodbye to the crew of the EC725

When the Ec725 helicopter took off and flew by the starboard side of the KD Lekiu, Hishammuddin said, “That helicopter crew is excellent, and for it to be able to land on this ship shows great cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy.  That is how the services, the Army included, depend on each other for support.”

True enough. It was the first time that the KD Lekiu had accepted the EC725 on its flight deck.

On board the Minister spent his time talking to the officers and men, asking them how do they find spending Ramadhan and Aidil Fitri away from home.  There are times that the KD Lekiu, like many other man-o-wars in the navy, have to spend up to three months at sea away from home, regardless of the festive seasons.

This scene is repeated throughout the Minister’s visit – officers and crew asking for a photo op with the Minister and the latter is always obliging

Through the Royal Malaysian Navy’s “Rakan Maritim” (RAKAM) program where the maritime community especially the commercial fishermen work hand-in-hand with the Navy to provide information especially on crime at sea,  the fishing community has been providing such support especially through the “Initiatif Bertanya Khabar” (IBK) conducted by the individual naval vessels that are on patrol.  A fishing trawler that was hailed came alongside.

The Minister is seen helping a trawler crew come on board

Encik Ramli bin Isa and Fauzi bin Omar had been out at sea for four days with another crew member.  The moment they realised that it was the Minister himself whom had helped them up, their face lit up.  The Minister, General Raja Mohamed Affandi and Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman asked them how they were and if they find that the waters are safe from foreign elements.

I later asked the two fishermen of the Navy’s initiative.  They are very happy with it and find it reassuring that the Navy has been actively making its presence felt.  On meeting the Minister, they were very surprised that a Minister would want to even ask how they are.

I know he must be really busy but for him to make time to ask me how I am is like having a dream come true,” said Encik Ramli.

Hishammuddin later gave some food to the fishermen for them to break fast with.

Hishammuddin later had a talk with some of the crew which was also attended by the Commanding Officer and the Chief of Navy.  There, the Minister related to the men the government’s plans for the Navy, and how the Ministry is working hard to facilitate the Navy’s 15-to-5 transformation program.

DS Hishammuddin and TS Ahmad Kamarulzaman spend a few moments with the men of the KD Lekiu

Tan Sri Kamarulzaman is happy with the progress of the 15-to-5 transformation program where the Royal Malaysian Navy will limit its fleet types to just five instead of the current fifteen.  The program will see the RMN operating only Littoral Mission Ships, Littoral Combat Ships, New Generaion Patrol Vessels, Multirole Support Ships, and Submarines.

RMN’s 15-to-5 transformation program (courtesy of Senang Diri)

As we waited for maghrib prayers, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin said to me, “I’m amazed by these navy people.  They stay months at sea guarding our waters.

I guess we’ll just have to make the public understand about what they do out here,” I replied.

The Minister frowned and replied with a sigh, “That is another matter. It is so difficult to get the public to understand wht these people do here, the hardship they have to go through. Imagine if these people are not here to do their duty. Mosul, Aleppo can happen here.”

It is so damned hard to get the support of the people, especially from the non-Malays, let alone to get them to join.  But when something happens, they would be the first to condemn, especially so in the case of the fatal crash that killed two of our RMAF pilots.

The usual comments made especially by the non-Malays about the Malaysian Armed Forces

How the realisation that without the Malaysian Armed Forces this country would be in ruins escapes them puzzles me.  It is because of these men and women that they are able to wake up in the morning and make money, and then go home to sleep peacefully.

Perhaps it is time for the National Service to be what it is – a two-year active duty upon attaining the age of 18, followed by a 10-year stint as reservists.  That would probably make them have a better understanding of the Armed Forces and love the country as something more than just a place to make money in.

In the meantime, the men of the KD Lekiu will continue to be vigilant so we can all wake up shamelessly in total ignorance of their existence.

Defence: LIMA Must Be Industry-Driven

Condensation forms over the leading edges of an RMAF F/A-18D Hornet as it makes a high-speed maneuver

The 14th edition of the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition ended last week leaving many in awe of the performances and displays in both the aerospace and maritime segments.  Kudos to the EN Projects Sdn Bhd as the main organiser and also to the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Transport as well as the supporting government agencies.

The 14th edition of LIMA saw an increase in the number of exhibitors compared to LIMA ’15.  555 exhibitors participated this time compared to 512 in 2015. While 39, 689 trade visitors visited LIMA ’15, 40,280 trade visitors were at LIMA ’17, surpassing the target of 40,000 trade visitors. 139,478 public visitors were at LIMA ’15.  The target for this edition was 140,000 public visitors. Surprisingly, 236,689 public visitors visited this year’s LIMA – 104,557 visitors on the first open day, and 132,132 on the final day making a total of 276,969 visitors to LIMA ’17.

It must have been a boon to the Langkawi economy to have that increase in the number of visitors over five days and definitely helpful to the small traders especially in the Padang Matsirat, Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Kedawang, and Kuah areas.

A special commendation should be given to the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy for lending their support in driving the industries as well as foreign armed forces’ participation in all the activities during LIMA 17.

QUALITY OF EXHIBITORS

His Royal Highness The Sultan of Selangor visiting one of the exhibition booths

From my personal observation, since the 13th edition of LIMA there has been an inreasing number of unrelated government agencies and companies exhibiting at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre such as the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and a Private Limited printing company!

Unless there is a masterplan to annouce Langkawi as an aviation and maritime hub, I do not see the relevancy in having LADA at the aviation exhibition hall.  MARA would be relevant if it provides assistances for students to study maritime or aeronautical-related studies or for local small and medium enterpreneurs to participate in the local maritime and aviation industry which is rather limited.

What did not happen was for local universities to showcase their research projects in order to secure fundings from local and foreign aviation and maritime giants.  LIMA would be a perfect platform for local universities to showcase their research in both the industries.

Local shipbuilders, other than the local giants in the defence sector, were largely missing from the exhibition.  Local shipbuilders are mainly into constructing oil and gas and transportation of cargo, crude and gas products should have showcased their capabilities at LIMA.  This is where the Ministry of Transport could help in getting the participation of more civilian-transport applications providers to exhibit at LIMA.

Kudos should also be given to both the Minister of Defence as well as the Minister for Youth and Sports in driving the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) programmes for the youth at LIMA.  LIMA should also be about providing avenues for the youth to participate in the aviation and maritime industries.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin and YB Khairy Jamaluddin at the Defence Dialogue and Press Conference TN50 during LIMA ’17

LESSONS FROM THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

The Malaysian Oil and Gas industry has its biennial Asian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Engineering (OGA) Exhibition and is into its 16th edition this year.  Unlike LIMA, OGA is fully industry-driven.  The event is supported by the British-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, Malaysian Gas Association, Malaysian Offshore Contractors Association, Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation, Offshore Support Vessels Owners Association and the Malaysia Oil and Gas Services Council.

LIMA is co-organised by EN Projects Sdn Bhd and the Ministry of Defence, supported by five ministries, the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Fire and Rescue Services Department, and the Royal Malaysian Customs.  I am surprised that none of the industry councils and associations play the supporting role instead of just collaborating role.

We have so many defence and security contractors yet they all have to rely on the ministries and agencies above to put together an event for them to participate.  Why does the government have to do the hard selling on their behalf?  Isn’t it time, after 14 editions, for the industry players themselves to come together and become the co-organisers or event supporters?

Lined up at sea off Tanjung Malai were military vessels or vessels chartered by the military. I did not see a single vessel from the Malaysia Shipowners’ Association, or civilian and military boatbuilders showcasing their products at sea.

LIMA could be bigger than just a military/security party.  Airlines did not send their aircraft this time around.  At LIMA ’15 there was an Airbus A320-200 belonging to Air Asia.  This was absent at LIMA ’17.  Imagine a daily flypast of aircraft – perhaps an arrowhead formation with an Airbus A380 followed by an Airbus A330 and A320 flanked  by Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 737-900s, followed by a smaller diamond four formation of ATR-72s.

The above will never happen unless industry players take the lead in supporting LIMA.

OPPORTUNITIES

For the Royal Malaysian Air Force, opportunities to replace the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29N comes in the form of the Dassault Rafale.  LIMA ’17 saw Dassault Aviation pulling no punches when promoting the Rafale for Malaysia.  LIMA ’17 was followed by a visit by French President Francoise Hollande who also put the sale of the Dassault Rafale to Malaysia on the agenda.  Although Malaysia had said that it was not time to purchase the Rafale, it is important to note that the F/A-18D Hornets will be 30 years old in 10 years while the Sukhoi Su-30MKM will be in its 20th year of service in the RMAF.

The other interesting Euro-Canard contender is the Saab JAS-39 Gripen.  The Royal Thai Air Force’s Gripen participated in the aerobatic display in the first four days.  Touted as a more affordable but equally potent as the Dassault Rafale, the Gripen’s cost would prove to be an attractive candidate to replace the MiG-29N.

At LIMA ’15, Saab had offered the Malaysian government a lease deal for 16 JAS-39C/D Gripens.

However, the tragedy involving a RTAF JAS-39 Gripen that killed its pilot earlier this year still plays in everyone’s mind.  The Gripen was performing in Hatyai for the Thai Children’s Day.  Footage of the accident shows the Gripen starting a slow aileron roll; once inverted, the aircraft fails to complete the maneuver, stops rolling and takes a nosedive crashing near the airfield’s runway.

There has been ten accidents involving the Gripen with nine hull losses and one fatality.  At least two of the accidents have been attributed to Flight Control Software issues.  The incident in Hatyai is still being investigated.

Of course there is also the option to upgrade the surviving 16 MiG-29Ns as a stop-gap mesure. At LIMA ’15, Malaysia’s Aerospace Technology Systems Corporation offered upgrades that would only be a fraction of the cost of purchasing new MRCAs.

The upgraded aircraft will be called the MiG-29NM and will include a Zhuk-ME FGM-229 slotted phased-array fire control radar that will provide an air-to-ground capability not available on the baseline aircraft, which are optimized for the air defense role.

The avionics system incorporates a night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit, with two color multifunction displays and hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) functionality.

Weapons systems and pylons will be upgraded, making the MiG-29NM capable of carrying the full range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons available to Malaysia’s Su-30s.

The Klimov RD-33 Series 3 engines of the MiG-29N will remain, but a conformal fuel tank added to the spine of the aircraft, together with an extra ventral tank, will increase operational range by 30 percent.

Malaysia, however, had declined this offer deemed expensive.

It would be interesting to note that other than the Indian Air Force, the Myanmar Air Force had also recently upgraded its MiG-29s at RAC MiG facilities near Moscow.  This upgrade, said to be cheaper than what was initially offered to Malaysia, is now being offered to both Malaysia and Bangladesh which operates eight MiG-29B and is also seeking upgrades.

It would be interesting to see what the government’s decision on the MiG-29Ns would be.

Opportunities such as this is what local companies should get involved with. The aerospace industry that had taken off with the introduction of LIMA still remains status quo.  Indonesia has gone on commercial production with its aircraft lines while we are stil struggling to even produce components that would be accepted internationally.

MOVING FORWARD

LIMA is here to stay.  Other than the Singapore Air Show, this is one that is looked at in this region.  While the Singapore Air Show is huge, LIMA is just of the right size for mission-specific companies to participate in.  It is just unfortunate that the industry is not helping out to drive the show instead of relying on the government’s goodwill.

Hopefully EN Projects Sdn Bhd together with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Transport would flog the industry players to play a much bigger role in helping to drive LIMA into the exhibition every global industry player would look forward to.

 

Defence: LIMA ’17 Roars In Langkawi

Three RMAF Airbus A400M aircraft perform a fly pass at the LIMA ’17 exhibition

Defence expenditure is likely to rise as this region and beyond continue to face traditional and non-traditional threats.  The role of the defence industry is also changing dramatically, as new and changing threats require further research and development, increasing the overall costs and pricing of defence products and services.

This was the gist of the message conveyed by Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, at the opening ceremony of the Langkawi International Aerospace and Maritime 2017 (LIMA ’17) exhibition this morning.

“We need to equip our fighting men with the capabilities required to face modern warfare, both symmetrical and asymmetrical, and LIMA ’17 brings together major aerospace and maritime firms from around the world to demonstrate their state-of-the-art static and aerial displays and cutting-edge technologies,” he added.

One of the exhibitors, Leonardo Helicopter Division, a division of the Leonardo S.p.A that is headquartered in Italy, celebrated today the successful reaching of the impressive 100,000 flying hours milestone with the Weststar Aviation Services’s AW139 fleet.

Weststar Aviation Services is the largest South East Asian offshore helicopter services provider and largest helicopter operator of the AW139 in Asia.

Dato’ Sri Najib Razak visiting one of the booths at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center in Langkawi after the opening of LIMA ’17

Leonardo has also brought the ATR-72MP aircraft which is being proposed for Malaysia’s requirement for an advanced new maritime patrol capability.  In the Electronics Warfare segment, Leonardo has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hensoldt (the new name for Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) to offer Mode-5 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) solutions to customers around the world. This collaboration between two European leaders in defence electronics technology shows how, by joining forces, the team can position itself as market leader for cutting-edge new requirements. The two companies, working together as “Team Skytale”, have already been selected as preferred bidder by the UK Ministry of Defence to upgrade IFF systems on more than 400 land, sea and air vehicles.

The ATR 72MP is a multirole Maritime Patrol, Electronic Surveillance and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) aircraft with very affordable costs, developed and built by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division from the platform of the modern ATR 72-600 regional turboprop (pic courtesy of Leonardo Company)

The IFF technology allows operators to electronically identify friendly forces, distinguishing them from potential enemies. It does this by sending out an interrogation signal to unidentified platforms and verifying the automatic responses that are sent back, effectively a modern-day challenge and password system. Ensuring that ground, air and naval crews can reliably recognise their compatriots is one of the main ways of avoiding ‘friendly fire’ incidents. In 2020, all NATO nations are mandated to switch over to the new, more-secure ‘Mode-5’ version of the technology and other nations looking to operate alongside NATO forces will also need to be able to interact with the new standard. Mode-5 uses the latest cryptographic techniques to avoid the threat of deception by adversaries.

In another development, Thales has been selected by AirAsia to supply avionics systems on AirAsia’s new fleet of 304 A320neos.  Thales will equip the 304 single-aisles with its market leading Flight Management System (FMS), the navigation solution of choice for Airbus aircraft, alongside the THALES/ACSS T3CAS surveillance platform, the preferred solution for all Airbus single aisle aircraft.

AirAsia’s Airbus A320neo (pic courtesy of Economy Traveller)

Thales has been partnering with AirAsia, leading LCC in Asia, since 2005, forging a close relationship in support of the airline’s growth strategy. AirAsia already equips their entire Airbus fleet with Thales systems and has selected the group for all maintenance and support operations for Thales systems equipped across their entire A320 fleet of 200 aircraft. In addition to the avionics suite, Thales will continue to provide a Repair-by-The-Hour (RBTH) long-term maintenance contract to support AirAsia’s fleet expansion.  The agreement provides guaranteed turnaround times on repairs and offers a commitment of reliability with reduced operational risk.

Malaysia Minister of Defence, Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, meets with representatives from five countries to discuss asymmetrical threats by Da’esh

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Minister of Defence, Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, met with representatives from five countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia and Qatar to present his view on how to combat the Da’esh threats.  The establishment of the King Salman Center of International Peace was also on the agenda of this meeting.

The RoKAF Black Eagles performing the “Bomb Burst” formation over Langkawi

Making its debut in Langkawi is the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 53rd Air Demonstration Group.  Commonly known as the “Black Eagles” the RoKAF team buzzed the skies of Langkawi in their KAI T-50B Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainers.  The T-50B is one of the few supersonic trainers currently available in the world.

The Russians is well-represented.  The “Russian Knights (Russkiye Vityazi)” aerobatic team showcasing their Sukhoi Su-30SM aircraft for the first time outside Russia, while the Royal Malaysian Air Force performs aerobatics in its Sukhoi Su-30MKM.

The air aces of the two countries, whose performances constantly evoke admiration of the audience, highly praised the flight characteristics of their supermanouverable aircraft.

President of Irkut Corporation Oleg Demchenko marked the high skills of pilots and their ability to use the maximum extent of the fighter’s capabilities while First vice-president of UAC Alexander Tulyakov said: “Positive evaluation of aircraft given by pilots is very important for us – the developers and manufacturers”.

The meeting resulted with a joint photo shoot against the background of Su-30SM and Su-30MKM aircraft.

Sukhoi Su-30 pilots from the Russian Knights and the RMAF’s No.11 Squadron pose together

Russian’s Rostec State Corporation is working with the government of Malaysia to expand cooperation through the supply of civilian products and aviation.

“Over the last 20 years Malaysia has been a strategic partner of the Rostec State Corporation. We are actively involved in military and technical cooperation in a number of areas: aviation, the army and the military navy, and in recent years our cooperation has gained momentum.  We are currently engaged in arms supply programs and are upgrading technology that was previously supplied to Malaysia.

We are also looking to extending our cooperation to civil areas that have growth potential: electronics, composite materials and IT. The civil aviation market, especially the helicopter sector, is also showing great potential for us,” said Head of the joint delegation from Rostec and Rosoboronexport at the 2017 LIMA exhibition Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy Department of the State Corporation.

“LIMA-2017 is the most important event for the aviation and military navy markets of Malaysia and the surrounding region and our participation in it is a long-standing tradition. LIMA-2017 is attracting representatives of various countries of this region and we are looking to conducting fruitful negotiations both with the Malaysian Government and delegations from other countries,” he pointed out.

In the afternoon, the Prime Minister Najib Razak officiated the Maritime Segment which also involved major exhibitors such as THALES, MAST, ACS and SAAB, showcasing the latest technologies in defence products and a demonstration by the elite forces of Malaysia’s security enforcement agencies.

This year’s opening gimmick had the elite forces searching for a box containing a key for the Prime Minister to activate the launch sequence. The key was located using technologically-advanced, unmanned equipment that assisted the forces, including from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), and was handed over to the Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Haji Ahmad Badaruddin who then handed it to the Prime Minister.

Following the launch, a live action demonstration from the RMN Special Forces, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Marine Department of Malaysia with the setting being a hostage rescue mission at sea.

Demonstration by the Royal Malaysian Navy’s special forces, the Marine Operations Force of the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Marine Department performs a demonstration

Later, Najib officiated the naming ceremony of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s latest Offshore Patrol Vessel, the “KM Pekan”.  In attendance were Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein as well as Japan’s Deputy Minister of Land Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, Tanaka Ryosei.

The “KM Pekan” is one of two offshore patrol vessels donated by the Japanese government to the MMEA in 2016.  Both vessels are 92 meters in length with speed of 20 knots and endurance of 30 days, suitable for enforcement missions in the South China Sea as well as in eastern Sabah.  Both are equipped with a helideck and state-of-the-art radars.

According to the Director-General of the MMEA, Admiral (Maritime) Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, a set of crew has been sent to Japan to bring home the second vessel.

For yesterday’s article, please click Defence: LIMA ’17 To Be More Exciting

Defence: What Have YOU Done For Your Country?

The late Major Kayamboo Chellam TUDM

The nation, especially the Royal Malaysian Air Force, said goodbye to one of its finest, Major Kayamboo Chellam TUDM who perished in an accident involving the aircraft he captained at the Butterworth Airbase.

He died on his 45th birthday.

The recently retired Chief of the RMAF, General Tan Sri Dato Sri Roslan bin Saad TUDM found it alarming that the non-Malays are staying away from joining the RMAF

In a September interview, General Roslan invited more non-Malays to join the RMAF.

The late Major Kayamboo was among the non-Malays who make up the five to ten percent of the RMAF’s total strength of 15,000.

Both he and his severely injured co-pilot Captain Wai Lik, also a non-Malay, decided to serve the nation when many prefer to condemn the country on a daily basis.

Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein visiting Captain Wai Lik TUDM at the Seberang Jaya Hospital. He is flanked by the Chief of RMAF General Dato Sri Hj Affendi bin Buang TUDM and Chief of Defence Forces General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi bin Raja Mohamed Noor. Captain Wai Lik’s father is in red.

In fact, Captain Wai Lik’s father proudly said:

“Forget about serving for the country if you cannot die for the country.”

So what excuse do you have when all you do daily is to whine about but never serve the nation?