All Is Well

he Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), front, and the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transit the South China Sea.

SHAH ALAM: All is well. It was widely reported last week that the RMN together with RMAF had stopped a botload of Rohingyas from entering the country from the Andaman sea. One of the ships involved, KD Kasturi, handed over food and water to the boat before ensuring that the boat, likely manned by crews from one of the many human smuggling syndicates, likely operating out of Bangladesh or Myanmar, sailed back towards the Andaman, instead of beaching the boat into Langkawi.

As this was playing out in the local media, in the South China Sea, our own subforce quietly returned into service KD Tun Razak.

A screenshot of the video.

The return into service of Tun Razak, likely sailing separately with its sister submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, came as news reports about a China survey vessel escorted with a number of China Coast Guard vessels had sailed into the Malaysian Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ). A number of PLAN vessels are also reportedly in the vicinity of the area including a type 52B destroyer, Wuhan, according to the New York Times.

The Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), left, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) transit the South China Sea. US Navy

American warships have sailed into disputed waters in the South China Sea, according to military analysts, heightening a standoff in the waterway and sharpening the rivalry between the United States and China, even as much of the world is in lockdown because of the coronavirus.

The America, an amphibious assault ship, and the Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser, entered contested waters off Malaysia. At the same time, a Chinese government ship in the area has for days been tailing a Malaysian state oil company ship carrying out exploratory drilling. Chinese and Australian warships have also powered into nearby waters, according to the defense experts.

he Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), front, and the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) transit the South China Sea.

It must be noted that the Muhyiddin government has not make any public announcements on the stand-off since it started early last week. Note that this was the same stance taken by both previous governments in regard to the South China Sea issues though early this year the previous administration did filed its intention in regards to the EEZ. I am guessing that China has not taken kindly to that stand.

KM Pekan


–Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

23 Comments

  1. Marhalim do you think our Scorpenes will be upgraded with AIP someday?

    And why wasn’t both boats (yes submarines are classified as boats, not ships) built with AIP as part of the package back in 2003?

    Reply
    I don’t think so, the AIP technology back in 2003 were still in the infancy and with the navy being so conservative, I don’t think it would have happened

  2. DCN back in the 2002 period was offering MESMA to customers. It is an AIP module that can be inserted between the hull.

    Certain navies have embraced AIP but some were late. Japan is an established and mature sub operator but was late into the AIP business. Some navies also feel that AIP is more useful for ocean going deep water boats than for shallow water littoral ones.

  3. “Malaysian state oil company ship carrying out…” The West Capella was chartered by Petronas, not owned by Petronas, Panama flagged. Actually where are these ships ( West Capella+RMN vsl unknown + MMEA vsl unknown+China Haiyang Dizhi 8 Flotilla+ USN America Expeditionary Strike Group) recently? Off Sarawak coast? Off Sabah coast? Off Terengganu coast?

    “…guessing that China has not taken kindly to that stand.” That is expected and consistant to their response all this while.

    BTW China is also a major buyer of Malaysia’s LNG, why want to “disrupt” Petronas?

  4. nimitz – “BTW China is also a major buyer of Malaysia’s LNG, why want to “disrupt” Petronas?””

    Because from a Chinese perspective Malaysia and anyone else who performs exploration in the area are illegally doing so in an area which is irrefutably a part of China.

    The Chinese are more than happy for others to explore but only if they acknowledge China’s sovereignty in the area, perform explorations with China’s blessings and ignore attempts by others (read the U.S. and subservient allies like Australia) to interfere in matters that don’t concern them.

  5. I don’t really think all is well, especially with the prolonged Chinese intrusion. The Navy is having its full hand dealing with them as well as those PATIs. I really hope that this is wake up call that the government must really take defence matters seriously and overhaul the defence procurement entirely.

    IMHO, Dr M really screwed our Armed Forces big time. Feel free to disagree I’m looking for reasons to not dislike him even more

    Reply
    Of course it is not all well but the way the government is handling the matter harks to the saying all is well

  6. “The Chinese are more than happy for others to explore but only if they acknowledge China’s sovereignty in the area…” This is tantamount to surrender IMO. Imagine the cost/benefit analysis, we have too much too lose. One is update Wiki entry “Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with PRC, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines, PRC and Vietnam.”

  7. nimitz- “this is tantamount to surrender IMO. Imagine the cost/benefit analysis”

    Do you have an alternative?

    We have no choice but to tread carefully when it comes to dealing with bigger countries like China. We have to strike a balance between security issues and the economy; realpolitik.

    On the maritime boundaries we have overlapping claims with almost everyone. With Indonesia it’s in the South China Sea and Melaka Straits

    ASM,

    He introduced a various policies which places emphasis on the country as a whole; not the armed forces. Defence buys were based on political factors like it would improve the local economy as well as bilateral relations. It proved to be an absolute disaster.

  8. Azlan,

    Yes that’s what I observed. National security is politicised, for his own benefit and not the nation. Actually we could have a decent defence industry if we put the proper people and have a proper policy. Oh god you’re making me disliking him even more instead…..

    With the current Covid situation I suppose all defence related procurement is put on hold?

  9. ASM,

    In principle the idea was sound. After all there should be overall benefits for the country.

    In actual practice/implementation however it resulted in the MAF getting stuff suited for its requirements with all the associated penalties. Today we have an MAF which should have better overall capabilities after all we’ve spent and one we can’t afford to adequately fund or equip.

    I have no idea how the current government will go about things but under a policy we’ve had for a long time a future aircraft purchase will be determined by factors such as offsets /TOTs; whether the OEM or home country is willing to invest in the country; whether Malaysian companies get opportunities in that country, whether MAS gets extra landing rights, a Malaysian being sent to space, etc.

    Which is why we had Fulcrums and have MKMs and various other things.

  10. “On the maritime boundaries we have overlapping claims with almost everyone. With Indonesia it’s in the South China Sea and Melaka Straits.”
    I think maritime border disputes is with all respective neighbours, recent flare-up was with Singapore & Indonesia. Then for Indonesia I add the disputes in Celebes Sea and Straits of Singapore. Land border with Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei too have disputes but can be trashed out due to working techical committee with these nations. All is well?

  11. I do believe as highlighted here, our main issue now is lack of Hull to do constabulary role and monitoring of eez. If I count correctly RMN have 10 ships that can do off shore patrol and MMEA have 4 I think. Between 2021 to 2024 MMEA will receive 3 kota bahru OPV while RMN will start receiving the maharaja lela class starting 2024. So the gap to speak is between now to 2024.Maybe its about time we look further for ships built in the 90s, that may be retired soon such as the type 23 for an interim solution, if there is any. Not as a guided missile combatant which will be expensive to refurbish but more of a gun based temporary OPV. Again if only budget allows for it

  12. nimitz- “ons. All is well”

    The idea is to “manage” these overlapping claims. To ensure that although these may not be resolved to our satisfaction; that the status quo is maintained.

    I’m not aware of any disputes with Brunei over the common land boundary. Only at sea.

  13. nimitz- “I think maritime border disputes is with all respective neighbours, recent flare-up was with Singapore & Indonesia””

    Obviously. For countries to have overlapping disputes there must be neighbours or at least share a common sea boundary.

    Overlapping disputes which got out of hand resulting in combat include the Thai clash with Cambodia some years ago, the one with Laos in the 1980s (Thai artillery was outgunned by Lao 130mms and the Thais lost a
    F-5B – ex RMAF – to a missile and the clash with Myanmar (heavy artillery and Paveways were employed).

    Your right. I forgot about the issue over Limbang with Brunei but this is mainly dormant – both sides are not pursuing anything and are contend to let things be.

  14. @ kamal

    Rather than getting expensive to operate old naval ships to do constabulary duties, lets maintain what level of budget the MMEA is getting now till 2040. We can buy more OPVs for less money than getting type 23s.

    @ azlan

    I believe the limbang issue is closed, as is our EEZ with Brunei. Brunei has even build a bridge to bypass limbang, the jambatan temburong.

    And brunei also actually build a bridge to make it easier for malaysians to go from sarawak to sabah with the Jambatan Pandaruan or Jambatan Persahabatan Brunei–Malaysia.

  15. Why can’t RMN adopt the Damen 1800 OPV design as its long term OPV needs. it is cheap ( for the cost of 1 maharaja lela you can buy 7) and create a long term maintenance savings commanality with the MMEA.

  16. An aside … I want to remind my friends that we have an outstanding issue with Rohingyas temporary stay in Malaysia that has stretched over 3 decades. Whilst sympathising with their plight as stateless persons, I can’t help but think the new Foregn Minister Hishamudin (ex Defence Minister) needs to seek out his Burmese counterpart and check what the Burmese intentions are post Covid19 and 2020. Likewise the West must try and set a country by country quota on how many Rohingyas they’re able to take in when the numbers if IDPs and refugees have increased worldwide. UN pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi is flagging as the issue is an ON-OFF mode for so many years. We’re seeing Compassion Fatigue amongst our people tthat don’t bode well for Rohingyas.
    If the Myanmarese military dictated regime of Daw Aung San remains resolute in not taking back the Rohingyas in Malaysia, perhaps we can use them to our advantage …
    Just take the best Rohingya youths as Border Scouts/Guards with the PGA in overall Command. They must serve with dedication for a 10 years minimum before being given PR. Their families are put on a separate camp or island like the Vietnamese over 40 years ago on Pulau Bidong! If these boys misbehave or attempt mutiny, tell them the government is holding their families. Station these Rohingya youths in Eastern Sabah relieving our men from the Armed Forces and Police. Assign another thousand or two to police Sarawak’s extensive borders with Indonesian Kalimantan. Likewise, do the same for the Filipino Moros from Sabah to police the Thai border. The Rohingyas and Moros would scramble and kill to be legit Malaysian residents! The rest who don’t make the cut can be negotiated on a bilateral manner with Myanmar and the Philippines. We get to assuage our guilt by giving some of these refugees a M’sian ID, and at the same time we get to negotiate hard with the home countries to accept them. Of course … the UNHCR UN Human Rights Watch will protest and howl, but it’s a near win-win solution. I see the refugees as good ‘cannon fodder’, expendable yet not expensive to carry out. It’s more expensive to raise a regiment or a division, but refugees mate, they’ll work for just an allowance, no actual wages. I have toyed with this idea for years.

  17. Taib “Just take the best Rohingya youths as Border Scouts/Guards with the PGA in overall Command. They must serve with dedication for a 10 years minimum before being given PR. Their families are put on a separate camp or island like the Vietnamese over 40 years ago on Pulau Bidong! If these boys misbehave or attempt mutiny, tell them the government is holding their families … Likewise, do the same for the Filipino Moros from Sabah to police the Thai border. The Rohingyas and Moros would scramble and kill to be legit Malaysian residents! … I see the refugees as good ‘cannon fodder’, expendable yet not expensive to carry out. It’s more expensive to raise a regiment or a division, but refugees mate, they’ll work for just an allowance, no actual wages. I have toyed with this idea for years.”

    Your idea is a recipe for disaster. I’m shocked that you could have failed to consider anything that could go wrong.
    -Creating a second class of serving personnel that is segregated along racial lines
    -Giving them conditions of service that can be exploited by bad actors, including their superiors
    -Giving security forces jobs and ultimately citizenship to people with no real love for the country, only hate after ten years of systematic abuse
    -Creating the potential for new ethnic enclaves in Malaysia and new concerns for the government
    -Treating them as second class and expendable. Why would they fight for the country or their section mates in tough situations?
    -Perpetuating the culture of marking time in the services
    -Challenging the notion that armed forces jobs are a privilege of Malaysians.
    -Cutting back on the recruitment of long serving, motivated volunteers in favour of your army of slaves.
    -Not saving money because your regular personnel are not paid much in the first place and your scheme needs money to administer.
    -A policy of underpayment only encourages corruption and organized crime, neither of which can be segregated from our regular career personnel. You’ll have another Wang Kelian scandal with mass graves, along with all kinds of people and things flooding across the border.

    I have a suggestion and it is simply this: increase the recruitment of Malaysians as a means of lowering unemployment from this recession. You’ll have more applicants than the government can create spots for.

  18. … – “I believe the limbang issue is closed, as is our EEZ with Brunei””

    Like I said; it’s dormant. Both sides are not actively pursuing the matter. They is still an outstanding overlapping claim offshore though.

    Taib – “I believe the limbang issue is closed, as is our EEZ with Brunei””

    Our own Foreign Legion?

    Why we? What tangible benefits are there to be gained? It’s also a political time bomb. The issue we face is not so much a question of manpower and recruiting foreigners is not the answer. Leads to more issues.

  19. Taib – “If these boys misbehave or attempt mutiny, tell them the government is holding their families””

    Great. What an excellent way to motivate them. First we press gang then into serving in a para military organisation and then we keep their families as hostage …

    Whilst we’re why don’t we form a “Malaysian Foreign Legion”? Applicants who can apply will include all Bangladeshi and Indonesian migrants/workers. They serve 10 year contracts and after completion are granted PR!

    Never mind the legal aspects does this really make sense to you? Recruiting Rohingyas. As it is; we have a whole list of problems facing the country; problems which our political leaders don’t have the political will to fix.

  20. @ kamal

    ” Why can’t RMN adopt the Damen 1800 OPV design as its long term OPV needs. it is cheap ( for the cost of 1 maharaja lela you can buy 7) and create a long term maintenance savings commanality with the MMEA ”

    Why do you need 2 different services to do the OPV task? Just let all the OPV task fall under the MMEA. Let TLDM concentrate on more fighting and deterrence types of ships.

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