SHAH ALAM: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) is to celebrate its 11th anniversary on Monday and all it wants is newer and a lot more patrol assets, boats and aircraft. The need for newer and more patrol assets had been more acute lately with a series of notable ship hijackings off Johor, late last year.
One thing for sure APMM officials are not shy to talk about their predicament. And its not only limited to the director-general alone. Even his deputy director general are talking about the need to recapitalise the APMM. Such candor is unheard off from the Armed Forces where even the chiefs are reluctant to say what is really needed.
This was not the case back in 2008-2009 period when the APMM had to ground its two Bombardier CL415 amphibious aircraft as they did not have enough money to maintain them. The thinking then was not to rock the boat or “embarrass anyone” and the funding will come. However only after I ran a story on the grounding on the Sundaily that the funding was allocated. So I guess that they had learn from that episode.
Speaking to Bernama, APMM deputy director-general (Operations) Maritime Rear Admiral Datuk Che Hassan Jusoh said MMEA’s existing 256 assets were not enough to the guard the country’s 4,490km coastline and waters covering 614,000 square km.
“Also most of the assets we have are already 30 to 50 years old…we need assets equipped with the latest equipment to monitor our waters which are exposed to criminal activities.
“Currently we have 68 ships, six helicopters, two Bombardier planes and the rest patrol vessels, rescue boats and high-speed boats for intercepting suspicious vessels,” he told Bernama after appearing as a guest on Bernama Radio24’s “On the Radar” talkshow in conjunction with APMM’s 11th Anniversary celebration, here Thursday night.
He hoped the government would consider additional allocations for the APMM to buy new assets as the RM836 million (allocated) for it under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) was grossly inadequate.”
Malaysian Defence had reported previously that APMM is getting six new patrol vessels by 2017. This patrol vessels is also expected to be equipped with a mini-UAV to extend their ISR capabilities.
Plans are also afoot to build two OPVs and additional patrol boats and interceptor crafts though with the current economic situation does not bode well for its recapitalisation plan. Among others APMM is seeking to get at least four more helicopters and one additional Bombardier CL415 to add to the two already in service.
APMM is likely to be allocated additional Operating Expenditure (OE) annually as its gets more personnel and equipment in the near future.
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