SeaDemon Says

Posts Tagged ‘Royal Malaysian Navy

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.

Maafkan saya sekiranya artikel saya kali ini agak berbunga.  Ini adalah kerana kita berada di dalam bulan Jun, dan ada tiga peristiwa yang pernah dan telah berlaku dalam bulan Jun.

Peristiwa yang pertama ialah peperangan di Kepulauan Falklands 35 tahun yang lalu dalam bulan Jun yang telah memperlihatkan pertempuran-pertempuran sengit di antara Angkatan Tentera Argentina dengan Angkatan Tentera British.

Peristiwa kedua ialah pertemuan saya dengan seorang bekas anggota lain-lain pangkat Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia yang kini bertugas di salah sebuah stesen televisyen utama di Malaysia.  Saya teringatkan kata-kata beliau semasa kami sama-sama belayar di atas salah sebuah kapal milik Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia, iaitu, “Ramai sekarang lebih gemar berpakaian seperti tentera, berlagak seperti tentera, tetapi lalui latihan tentera untuk sehari pun tidak pernah.”

Peristiwa ketiga ialah peristiwa pelupusan sebuah pesawat Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri yang telah menjadi buah mulut ramai sehingga ada yang sanggup merosakkan imej Angkatan Tentera Malaysia dan Kementerian Pertahanan.

Percaya atau tidak, ketiga-tiga peristiwa yang saya sebutkan di atas ada hubungkaitnya.  Kita mulakan dengan cerita hangat, iaitu, pelupusan sebuah pesawat Nuri yang MUNGKIN telah banyak berjasa.  Saya menggunakan dan menggariskan perkataan MUNGKIN itu kerana tidak ada sesiapapun yang boleh, dengan fakta, membuktikan bahawa pesawat tersebut setaraf dengan pesawat TUDM yang pertama, “Lang Rajawali (FM-1001)” ataupun kapal friget pertama yang dibina khusus untuk TLDM iaitu KD Rahmat.

Ada yang berinteraksi dengan saya melalui laman Facebook menyatakan bahawa pesawat Nuri tersebut pernah memainkan peranan membawa keluar para anggota tentera yang tercedera semasa tragedi Gubir pada tahun 1976.  MUNGKIN. Tetapi tidak mungkin ianya satu-satu helikopter yang telah membuat tugas tersebut pada ketika itu.  Bagaimana pula dengan trak tiga tan atau ambulan yang membawa anggota-anggota tersebut dari pesawat Nuri tersebut ke hospital?  Ada yang nak dipamerkan di muzium juga?

Namun, ada pihak yang tidak berpuas hati dan terus menjadikan isu ini tular di media sosial hingga terpaksa pihak Kementerian Pertahanan masuk campur.

Kenyataan Kementerian Pertahanan berhubung isu pelupusan sebuah pesawat Nuri

Mari kita lihat sebentar proses pelupusan harta kerajaan.

OBJEKTIF PELUPUSAN

Pelupusan sesuatu aset kerajaan adalah untuk memastikan kerajaan tidak menyimpan aset yang tidak diperlukan lagi atau yang tidak boleh digunakan lagi.  Ini adalah untuk menjimatkan ruang simpanan aset tersebut dan bleh menjanakan sedikit kewangan untuk kerajaan.

Dalam isu ini, ada yang mempertikaikan harga pelupusan pesawat tersebut yang dikatakan jauh lebih murah dari harga pasaran.  Untuk pengetahuan umum, kerajaan bukanlah sebuah badan untuk membuat keuntungan seperti badan swasta.  Sebab itu pelupusan pesawat Nuri tersebut tidak mengikut harga pasaran.  Begitu juga dengan tanah kerajaan. Penilaian tanah kerajaan tidak sama dengan penilaian tanah milik individu ataupun swasta.

Sebab itu juga faedah pinjaman perumahan bagi kakitangan kerajaan adalah pada kadar empat peratus.  Adakah anda bersetuju sekiranya kerajaan memberi pinjaman kepada kakitangannya mengikut Base Lending Rate yang dikenakan oleh sektor perbankan?

Maka, jangan samakan proses pelupusan kerajaan dengan proses pelupusan swasta.

JUSTIFIKASI PELUPUSAN

Ada beberapa kategori yang diberikan kepada aset-aset yang hendak dilupuskan.  Saya masih ingat satu ketika dahulu semasa Lembaga Audit Pelupusan datang ke pangkalan di mana saya bertugas, di antara barangan yang hendak dilupuskan adalah sejumlah rucksack (backpack) yang usang.  Bukannya rosak sangat pun, tetapi telah dikategorikan sebagai usang.  Beg-beg ini dipotong atau dikoyakkan di hadapan para juruaudit yang hadir.  Memang sayang. Tetapi ianya telah usang.

Dalam isu pelupusan pesawat Nuri di atas, pesawat tersebut telah membuat pendaratan cemas di Pulau Perak pada penghujung tahun 2014 mengakibatkan kerosakan teruk kepada rangka pesawat tersebutyang tidak ekonomi untuk dibaiki.  Saya yakin, setelah dibawa pulang ke pangkalan asal pesawat tersebut, ianya telah “digantung” dan dijadikan “pokok Krismas” di mana komponen-komponen yang boleh digunapakai sebagai alatganti lain-lain pesawat Nuri diambil dari pesawat tersebut.  Sebab itulah buruk betul rupa pesawat tersebut.

Setelah habis komponen-komponen penting diambil dari rangka pesawat tersebut, satu tender dikeluarkan untuk melupuskan rangka pesawat tersebut.

Satu permohonan dibuat oleh pihak Unit Pengurusan Aset Kementerian Pertahanan, kepada Perbendaharaan Malaysia untuk melupuskan pesawat tersebut yang mana disertakan juga laporan kemalangan pesawat tersebut serta gambar-gambar.  Kemudian satu Lembaga Pemeriksa Pelupusan akan ditubuhkan yang mana keanggotaannya juga melibatkan sekurang-kurangnya dua orang ahli yang tiada sangkut paut dengan aset yang hendak dilupuskan.  Setelah semua proses dokumentasi selesai, barulah tender pelupusan dikeluarkan.

KENAPA TIDAK DIBERIKAN KEPADA MUZIUM?

Aset yang dilupuskan boleh diberikan kepada mana-mana pihak yang membuat permohonan.  Tetapi ianya mesti memenuhi dua syarat:

  1. Ianya masih boleh digunakan lagi dalam bentuk dan fungsi asal tetapi tidak diperlukan lagi oleh agensi Kerajaan; atau
  2. Ianya tidak ekonomi diperbaiki tetapi boleh diguna sebagai bahan latihan dan pameran.  Sebagai contoh: KD Rahmat yang masih dalam keadaan sempurna.

Persoalannya, adakah pesawat Nuri tersebut masih sempurna rupanya dan boleh dibuat bahan pameran?  Anda lihat sendiri rupanya.

BAGAIMANA KISAH PESAWAT NURI INI BERHUBUNG KAIT DENGAN DUA LAGI KISAH DI ATAS?

HMS Broadsword (kiri) dan HMS Hermes (kanan) – gambar Wikipedia

Gambar di atas menunjukkan dua buah bekas kapal diraja Britain iaitu sebuah friget bernama HMS Broadsword dan kapal pengangkut pesawat HMS Hermes.  Kedua-dua buah kapal tersebut telah ternyata banyak berjasa kepada pihak British semasa Peperangan Falklands pada bulan April hingga Jun 1982.  Kapal-kapal tersebut adalah di antara sebab tentera Argentina mengalami kekalahan dan terpaksa menyerahkan Kepulauan Falklands balik kepada British.

Seelok-eloknya kapal-kapal tersebut dijadikan bahan pameran di muzium, atau di Sungai Thames di mana kapal era Perang Dunia Kedua HMS Belfast berada.  Namun apakah nasib kedua-dua buah kapal tersebut?

HMS Broadsword telah dilucut tauliah dan dijual kepada Tentera Laut Brazil pada tahun 1995.  HMS Hermes pula dilucut tauliah pada tahun 1984 dan kemudiannya dijual kepada Tentera Laut India pada tahun 1986.  Malah, tidak ada satu pun di antara lebih 200 kapal yang menyertai armada Britain untuk menawan kembali Kepulauan Falklands dijadikan bahan pameran di muzium.  Sebuah lagi kapal pemusnah yang berjasa, HMS Glasgow, telah dilucut tauliah pada tahun 2005, dan kemudian dilupuskan pada tahun 2009.

Malah, TLDM juga mempunya sebuah kapal yang menjadi kapal pertama dibina untuk TLDM iaitu KD Mutiara (jangan dikelirukan dengan KD Mutiara yang masih berkhidmat sekarang).  Kapal KD Mutiara tersebut pernah membawa delegasi Malaya berunding dengan Borneo Utara, Brunei dan Sarawak mengenai penubuhan Persekutuan Malaysia.  Delegasi Malaya ketika itu termasuk Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Haji Abdul Razak, dan Tun Ghazali Shafie.  Ianya juga merupakan kapal TLDM pertama yang diberi gelaran “Kapal DiRaja.”

Itu memang aset yang amat bersejarah, malah memainkan peranan besar dalam penubuhan Malaysia.  Kenapa tidak disimpan dan dijadikan bahan pameran muzium?

Kapal KD Mutiara ditauliahkan ke dalam perkhidmatan Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaya pada tahun 1961

Teringat kembali kata-kata petugas stesen televisyen yang merupakan bekas anggota TUDM, “Ramai sekarang lebih gemar berpakaian seperti tentera, berlagak seperti tentera, tetapi lalui latihan tentera untuk sehari pun tidak pernah.”

Begitulah hakikatnya sekarang. Yang tidak pernah mengalami dunia ketenteraan yang begitu galak berkata-kata mengenai hal-ehwal ketenteraan sehingga mengajak rakyat berasa tidak puas hati dengan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia sedangkan tidak memahami proses pelupusan aset.  Pesawat Nuri masih banyak yang berkhidmat dalam perkhidmatan Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia dan Tentera Darat Malaysia.  Tunggu sahajalah satu hari nanti apabila kesemuanya tidak lagi berkhidmat untuk ATM. Banyak nanti bahan pameran. Cuma dikhuatirkan muzium yang tidak mencukupi

Tentera kuat berpegang kepada tradisi. Tentera juga tidak lupa kepada sejarah. Tetapi tentera tidak bersifat sentimental dan berhati tisu.  Itu sifat tentera papan kekunci sahaja.

“Good iron doesn’t make nails, good men don’t make soldiers.”

That is the old Chinese adage which is still probably true especially for the Malaysian Chinese today.  It is the same adage that the late Lee Kuan Yew lamented about in one of his memoirs. The participation of the Chinese community in the Malaysian Armed Forces is still poor despite numerous recruitment drives done to get them to join.

In 2010, out of an approximate 100,000 men and women of the Malaysian Armed Forces, only 0.2 percent of Chinese joined the Malaysian Army, 0.3 percent joined the Royal Malaysian Navy, while 0.4 percent joined the Royal Malaysian Air Force. For the Indians, the numbers are 0.7 percent, 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent for the respective branch of the Malaysian Armed Forces.

It may be on the extreme end to say that the Chinese probably feel that it is far more important to make money than to play a role in defending the country, but the notion that I get is that they probably feel you cannot prosper working for the government.

It could also be due to the unwillingness of the youth nowadays to undergo hard training no matter how good the pay is. But that does not answer why the number of Malays are more in the Malaysian Armed Forces.

As a result, the Malaysian Armed Forces is overwhelmingly Malay.  Hence, in any leadership line up you would see more Malays becoming senior and star officers compared to the non-Malays.

This lopsided scene is then misinterpreted as the non-Malays do not stand a chance to rise and make the ranks – a perception that is played by those irresponsible to instill an anti-establishment feeling among the non-Malays.

Let us take the RMAF, for example, where the organisation has four non-Malay star officers (Brigadier-Generals and above) out of a total of 47.  That represents 8.5 percent of the total number of star officers compared to the 2.1 percent of total non-Malay participation in the RMAF, which is looking at increasing the number of non-Malays to a minimum of 20 percent of the total strength.

It is also important to note that among the operational officers, two non-Malay lady officers stand out the most.  They are Major Patricia Yapp Shau Yin RMAF and Major Teoh Siow Ling RMAF.

Major Patricia Yapp Shau Yin RMAF attributes her success to discipline, hardwork and determination, not race nor gender.

Major Patricia Yapp who hails from Sandakan, Sabah is an examplary Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) who is the world’s first female pilot to fly the Russian-made Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29N.

When asked if there is discrimination in the RMAF towards women or the non-Malays, she said the men and women all do the same field training, physical training and flying training. Women don’t get special treatment and are all evaluated by the same standard and are given the same opportunities. The key is to never give up trying after each failure because it has taken her a lot to be where she is now. It is all about discipline, courage, teamwork and commitment.

She is saddened though that during one of the recruitment drives in her home state of Sabah, she waited for half a day for Sabahans to turn up but none did during the second half of the day.

Major Teoh Siow Ling RMAF flies the Lockheed C130H Hercules tactical transport aircraft

Major Teoh Siow Ling RMAF also attributes her success to discipline, determination and hardwork.  The Melaka-girl is aware that some non-Malays say that she would fare better elsewhere, for example, in the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces.

It is not true that there is discrimination against the non-Malays in the RMAF,” she said. “There are those who are my seniors who are Malays who still hold the rank of Captain. Race has nothing to do with it.

It is only because the number of non-Malays are small that you do not get to see a huge number go up,” she added. “If you don’t work hard, you will not go up and it doesn’t matter what race you are. If you do not shine, no one will see you and you will remain where you are.

The RMAF has had many pilots flying the fixed and rotary winged aircraft in its inventory since its establishment.  Not once has the RMAF barred any non-Malay to be involved in handling any sensitive equipment or information.  The Army has, if my memory serves me right, produced 29 non-Malay star officers, the RMN 22 while the RMAF 19.

Compare this to our Southern neighbour.  The Malays have only been accepted into the Armour Formation two years ago.  In fact, the Singapore Armed Forces used to have or still has a discriminatory policy towards the Malays, not allowing them to hold sensitive key positions thus depriving them of promising careers in the SAF.

Such discrimination does not exist in the Malaysian Armed Forces, which have produced 70 non-Malay Generals and Admirals.  All is especially fair in the RMAF.

Therefore, there is no reason for the non-Malays to shy away from joining the Malaysian Armed Forces.  There is also no reason for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to feel as if they would not be able to compete against those from the Peninsular.  After all, Major Patricia is from Sabah.

And the current Chief of the RMAF is from Kuching, Sarawak.

A friend sent me the above article written by a former senior Armed Forces officer on the subject of “honorary” ranks.  I have taken the liberty to share the article below:

As long as I can remember and it is important that we consider this, the only other persons outside the military who donned military uniform were our royalty (the Raja Raja) in their capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the various Corps that made up our armed forces that included the navy and air force. It is largely a ceremonial position that is a common feature in several Commonwealth armies.

However, our country is unique. We have nine Raja Raja who in order of seniority act as patron to the corresponding senior unit they are assigned. It is more or less a permanent inherited position that is, a well-respected custom that remains unchanged to this day.

Military officers whether serving or retired are very proud of our uniform, ranks and military accoutrements. The king, who is also our commander-in-chief, by way of a formal document commissions us. We undergo rigorous training at the various officers training academies domestic and foreign to be commissioned as second lieutenants (one pip) as our initial rank.

It is a long and arduous journey as we progress through a maze of military requirements that consists of passing promotion examinations and career courses to earn a higher rank. Few ever qualify for the rank of general of various grades but as professional soldiers we serve our country and navigate the complex eco system of military service to excel professionally.

Those who served during the height of the Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation as front line troops bore the full brunt of those conflicts. Many of our comrades were maimed and others made the ultimate sacrifice. Thus the weight of history is borne by all who wear the military uniform, and whatever exclusivity it brings is defined by those who served and continue to serve our “tanah air.”

As military officers, we are very concerned that of late, politicians have begun dispensing “commission ranks” — colonels, generals and captains (navy) — among themselves which also extends to other celebrities such as singers, actors, sportsmen and social activists. None of these people have ever fired a shot in defence of the realm or done a day of military training.

Some even proudly display the converted Parachute Badge commonly referred as “Jump Wings” without doing a single jump. There are also cases where certain individuals have the audacity to don the converted maroon beret of our commando units. We adhere to the belief and convention that no one other than the Raja Raja have the right to this honour.

I think it is time we put a stop to these so-called honorary ranks and unauthorised use of military accoutrements. If there is a need for such ranks to be handed out then those chosen need to at least pass basic military training before even being considered for such an honour.

Otherwise, those “rewarded” dishonour the service of men and women, who have actually earned their ranks in the process of serving their king and country.

And lastly I would like to add that of late that large number of non military organisations have all gone “al military/police” by wearing military type ranks, insignias and camouflage uniform to the boot. Let’s keep the ranks of lieutenant, captain, major, colonel etc strictly for the military only.

The top echelon of these organisations have also chosen to wear the cross swords/kris an insignia normally reserved for our top generals and very senior police officers. By doing so they not only confuse the public but our soldiers and policemen as to their standing in protocol.

The country should have only two recognised institutions known as the uniformed service that’s the army and the police.

It’s about time our authorities do something about by having proper guidelines to this effect.

I am puzzled that a retired senior Armed Forces officer does not know that the provision for Honorary commissions exists in the Armed Forces Act, 1972.  I first came across this provision when I studied the Act for the Military Law subject during my Officer Cadet days.

Under Section 8 of the Act it says:

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may grant honorary commissions in the regular forces to such persons as he may think fit.

Honorary Colonels (Navy Captains), for example, are given to civilians whose position in his or her organisation commands assets of strategic importance to the Malaysian Armed Forces, such as the Malayan Railway, ports authorities, the MISC, TNB, Telekom etc., etc., and honorary ranks go down all the way to Honorary Captains (Navy Lieutenants).  The lower ranks include esteemed sportsmen and sportswomen and individuals whose charisma and value to the society would be valuable to the service they are commissioned into, such as to inspire the men and women of the service, to act as a bridge between the service and related civilian agencies, and also to promote the service in public relations exercises.

They are all given the honorary commission of the respective service’s volunteer reserve force.

Therefore you get sportsmen and sportswomen such as Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nichol David who have been commissioned into the Navy and Air Force respectively.  You have Dato Irmohizam Ibrahim, the Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor who has been commissioned into the Navy.  He was selected for the honorary commission by virtue that he is the Chairman of the Lembaga Kemajuan Perikanan Malaysia and has been actively involved in promoting the Navy’s RAKAM (Rakan Maritim) initiative for the fishing community.

Why is this a big thing? Richie McCaw, the former New Zealand’s All Blacks Captain was made Honorary Wing Commander (Lieutenant Colonel equivalent) of the Royal New Zealand Air Force!

The Indian Air Force gave honorary Group Captain (Colonel equivalent) to Sachin Tendulkar, India’s cricket team captain.

These individuals are commissioned as honorary officers in the volunteer forces of the three services of the Armed Forces. These officers do not need to fire any gun as they do not have command status.  However, if there is a request and the command of the service the honorary officer is commissioned into, it would be at the expense of the honorary officer him/herself.

Nor do they get any remuneration from the Armed Forces except for the one-off RM1,000 for them to make their uniform and buy the accessories.  They are also not subjected to the Armed Forces Act and neither are they given a service number.

And it is not up to politicians to hand out ranks.  The commission is given by the Yang DiPertuan Agong on the advice of the Armed Forces Council which comprises of the Minister of Defence, a representative of the Rulers appointed by the Rulers Institution, the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces Chief, the Chief of the Services, and two other members appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong.

The Colonels-in-Chief and Captain-in-Chief of the respective Corps or Service would have a say on the Honorary commission to be awarded by the corps or service they preside over.  For example, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor as the Captain-in-Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy has set the number of honorary commissioned officers at 50.  Therefore, the Chief of Navy has to carefully select the individuals the Navy believes to be worthy of such commission.

No wings are given out to these honorary officers unless they have such qualification.  There are cases where former servicemen have been given honorary commission for the role they play in bridging the society and the armed forces, such as Datuk Huan Cheng Guan, who was an other rank in the Royal Malaysian Air Force.  He received an honorary commission for his tireless effort in bridging the society with the armed forces.

If Datuk Huan had a jump wing when he was serving, there is no reason for him not to don the wing if he wears the uniform of an honorary officer.

If Khairy Jamaluddin is the one that is being referred to, then let it be known that he is an active reservist and had undergone basic parachute training and therefore deserves to don the wing on his uniform.  He is also a Brigadier General in the Askar Wataniah.

MS Dhoni, another captain of India’s cricket team was not only given an honorary Lieutenant Colonel but also the jump wings of India’s Parachute Regiment, the regiment he was commissioned into honorarily.

Just like in India, it is customary for any commander of any regiment, corps or service to award honorary jump or pilot’s wings to any individual that they see fit.

As for civilian organisations that have ranks similar to the military and police, I can see several that have that kind of rank.  The Angkatan Pertahanan Awam is Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force and plays a role during wartime in assisting in the defence of the country.  Therefore, it deserves the ranks.  Oddly, it uses military ranks up to Colonel and then use police ranks for star officers.

RELA uses civilian ranks akin to the police because they come from the same Ministry and RELA acts as a support organisation to maintain public order, security and safety.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), although a civilian organisation but like the police it is an armed service.  Its Director-General is appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong and plays the role of a paramilitary force at sea maintaining our sovereignty.  I see nothing wrong with them using Navy-like ranks because of the huge role that they play.

The MMEA is not like UK’s Coast Guard which is a purely search-and-rescue outfit, while the MMEA does law enforcement, maritime border control as well as search-and-rescue.

Perhaps, Lt Col Mohd Idris should also know that the Salvation Army uses military ranks and even have military training academies and corps.  However, I have yet to see anyone complain in the newspapers over such petty issue.

Therefore, why should we complain over something that is completely legal and is awarded by the Rulers?

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.

 

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

The Langkawi Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 will be more exciting than the previous editions because there is a marked increase in floor space as a result of the re-introduction of the Maritime Segment at the Resorts World, Langkawi.

There will be the array of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) that will be on display such as the United States Air Force MQ-1 Predator, United States Navy MQ-8 Fire Scout, Thales Fulmar Mini-UAV, SAAB AUV 62AT, and the TBN UAV from Ukraine.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will be debuting the newly-received offshore patrol vessel ‘KM Pekan’ donated by the Japanese government.

LIMA ’17 has confirmed 555 exhibitors from 36 countries and is expecting over 180,000 trade and public visitors from all over the world. LIMA ’17 will be held from 21 to 25 March 2017 in Langkawi. This year will mark the 14th edition in its 27 year history and is expected to be the best and biggest one to date.

Irkut Corporation of Russia will be featuring the Russian Air Force’s aerobatic team ‘Russian Knights’ in their spanking new Sukhoi Su-30SM.  This would be the return of the Russian Knights’ to LIMA and their first tour outside the Russian Federation in the Su-30SMs.

Sukhoi Su-30SMs of the Russian Knights at the Langkawi International Airport

Irkut will also be featuring its scout/attack helicopter, the Kamov Ka-25 “Alligator.”

Irkut Corporation will be featuring aircraft models of the entire Irkut product line will be presented at the UAC stand: the Su-30SME fighter, the Yak-130 and Yak-152 training aircraft, and the new MC-21 commercial liner.

Irkut Corporation comes under the Russian pavillion which is under the charge of JSC Rosoboronexport, which is a part of the Rostec State Corporation. Rosoboronexport is in-charge of the united Russian stand at LIMA’17 showcasing over 500 products from 20 enterprises of the defence industry complex of the Russian Federation.

LIMA’ 17 also serves as the perfect platform to encourage further co-operation between Malaysia and regional & global allies in both the maritime and aerospace industries, specifically on asset acquisition as Armed Forces around the world are modernizing their asset bases. For example, the Chiefs of Navy Roundtable Talk at LIMA’17 this year will bring together 12 Chiefs of Navy and 24 representatives to discuss about “Naval Capability Based Acquisition Reform”. Subsequently, the LIMA’17 Air Chiefs Conference will also be taking a similar approach this year, and the attending Chiefs of Air Force and other senior air delegations will be tackling the “Air Force Capability Based Acquisition Reform”.

The Ministers of Defence and Transport viewing the preparations at the Maritime Segment before the Press Conference cum High Tea on board the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Jebat

Another first for LIMA 17 will be the involvement of youths from across the country. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, together with the Ministry of Defence have invited over 500 young individuals from Briged Sukarelawan Khidmat Negara (BSKN), Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Perlis, Parlimen Belia Malaysia, iM4U, Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM) and our Reserve Officer Training Unit (PALAPES). They will be attending a Comprehensive Educational Tour throughout LIMA ’17 and attend engagement sessions with leaders in the defence sector. On the final day, a Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) Townhall Dialogue on defence to encourage the youth to play a larger role and capture their aspirations about the future of Malaysia’s security.

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, GUAM — A B-1B Lancer soars over the Pacific Ocean after air refueling training here Sept. 30. The B1B Bomber is deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of the Pacific Commands continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing regional security and the U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific. The B1 is from the 37th Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Other than the Russian Knights, the Black Eagles, the aerobatic team of the Republic of Korea Air Force will be making a first-time appearance this LIMA. The Black Eagles’ performance involves 9 KAI – T50B jet aircrafts. LIMA 2017 will also see the TNI-AU’s Jupiter as part of the aerobatic demonstrations on show. Our very own Royal Malaysian Air Force’s SU-30 MKM and F/A 18D jets, the Rafale from France, the Gripen 39C/D from Thailand and 2 Supersonic B-1 Bombers from the United States Air Force will also perform flypasts during the exhibition.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKM will be performing solo aerial displays throughout the five-day exhibition in Langkawi


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