All Together Now

MMEA personnel at the 2023 Merdeka parade. APMM

SHAH ALAM: PMX DS Anwar Ibrahim presented the 12 RMK Mid-year team review at the Parliament yesterday. Among others he announced that the government is committed to spending at least RM90 billion a year from 2023 until 2025 under 12MP. He also said that the government will fully spend the RM400 billion allocation under 12MP and increase the ceiling by RM15 billion, bringing the total sum to RM415 billion.

For more details go here.

Anwar in his presentation also touched on national security sector. As usual, no details were announced apart from him repeating that his intent to stop leakages from the procurement of national security assets. This will be done through government-to-government deal, Anwar said echoing what he said previously.

There is also, unfortunately, nothing new in the list of assets to be procured (see below the full transcript). The items being procured are armoured vehicles, drones, littoral mission ships, helicopters, and light combat aircraft.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will get more operational bases and the Maritime Surveillance System will be upgraded and new radars to be purchase. Based on the statement, I do not think MMEA will be getting new ships apart from the three OPVs. It is unclear whether the helicopters, Anwar mentioned in his presentation include MMEA or those are simply the ones being leased for Tentera Darat.

Memperkukuh Keselamatan dan Pertahanan Negara.
Keselamatan dan kedaulatan negara akan terus dipertahankan bagi
menjamin keamanan dan kesejahteraan rakyat dan negara. Kerajaan akan memberi
tumpuan kepada tiga perkara pokok bagi memperkasa kubu negara.
Pertama: Anjakan utama pengukuhan keselamatan dan pertahanan negara.
Masyarakat mensyaratkan agar ketirisan dalam tatacara perolehan aset segera
ditangani bagi menjamin kesiapsiagaan pertahanan negara. Kerajaan akan
meneruskan usaha pencegahan jenayah dan rehabilitasi bagi meningkatkan
kedudukan Malaysia dalam Indeks Keamanan Global.
Kerajaan melipatgandakan usaha untuk terus memperkasa dan
memodenkan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia yang bertugas sebagai benteng
keselamatan negara. Kerajaan bersetuju untuk memperkukuh kesiapsiagaan
pertahanan melalui perolehan aset tambahan seperti kenderaan perisai, dron, littoral
mission ship, helikopter dan pesawat tempur ringan.
Seluruh sistem perolehan telah dirombak untuk menetapkan supaya bekalan
senjata yang diperlukan ditentukan oleh kepakaran berkaitan tentera, mengelak
daripada ketirisan dan dalam kebanyakan urusan akan menerusi pendekatan G2G
dengan negara masing-masing dan tidak melalui ejen-ejen.
Kedua: Mengoptimumkan kawalan keselamatan di sempadan melalui
beberapa projek seperti:
(i) naik taraf pusat kawalan operasi dan pembinaan baru
pangkalan operasi Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia;
(ii) naik taraf Sistem Penguatkuasaan Maritim Laut dan menara
radar penderiaan jauh;
(iii) naik taraf dan pembinaan baharu Kompleks Imigresen, Kastam,
Kuarantin dan Keselamatan di pintu masuk terpilih;
(iv) pembinaan baharu pos keselamatan ATM di sepanjang
sempadan Sabah dan Sarawak dengan Indonesia; dan
(v) pembangunan pangkalan baru tentera laut di Bintulu, Sarawak.
Ketiga: Kerajaan akan terus memerangi jenayah siber yang semakin
berleluasa. Hampir 55,000 kes jenayah siber dengan nilai kerugian mencecah RM1.8
bilion dilaporkan dalam tempoh 2021 hingga Julai 2023. Kerajaan akan meminda
undang-undang sedia ada bagi meningkatkan keberkesanan memerangi kegiatan
jenayah siber.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

31 Comments

  1. Tiga perkara pokok…

    Pertama: Anjakan utama pengukuhan keselamatan dan pertahanan negara.

    Kedua: Mengoptimumkan kawalan keselamatan di sempadan melalui
    beberapa projek

    What is the third pokok?

  2. I am more interested if he will fixed the defence allocations to a certain sum or percentage as the last couple of years the budget has dropped to less than 1% GDP which is understandable why but still really is too low and needs to be fixed now that our economy is back on track.

  3. There are plenty of ways to optimise our little budget to give much more bigger results.

    First we need to come clean that our current plans such as 15 to 5 are just not workable for the future.

    Second we need a global plan that includes all services + APMM.

    Third we need to be clear that as a maritime nation, the security of our waters is our first priority. Even our army needs to have the same outlook, for starters by having coastal anti-ship missiles in their plans.

    For our maritime domain, having large but weak navy, and a coast guard that does not have adequate resources to do their basic tasks will be a problem. I would prefer to have a smaller, leaner navy that is prepared to fight a future conflict in SCS. A coast guard that is at every hotspot in our eez 24/7.

    Yes OPEX is something that cannot suddenly double in an instant. Can APMM have OPVs optimised to run at slower speed but with longer endurance for a change? Usually just a presence of a coast guard vessel will make illegal fishing vessels avoid the area, and that means fishes (and profit, and food security) for malaysian fishermen.

  4. Rumors… rumors…

    Two units of PPA OPV/Frigate (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura – Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Vessel) that currently in production for Italian navy could be sold to Malaysia?

    That would be a very interesting scenario. The PPA has 3 variants
    PPA light (Equipped with guns only, missiles/torpedoes FFBNW, OPV level)
    PPA light+ ( guns + anti-air missiles)
    PPA full ( guns + anti-air missiles + anti-ship missiles + ASW torpedoes)

    They are basically Frigate-sized vessels, 2x the size of Gowinds. Even the PPA Light version displaces around 5,800 tons. It has large hangar that can fit 2x NH90, multi-purpose bays that can fit 8 TEU container midships and 5 TEU container under the hangar. It will have plenty of space for UAV, USV and such for the future.

    Currently there is 2 PPA Light+ version that is in build
    – Marcantonio Colonna P433, launched Nov 2022, planned commissioning Oct 2024
    – Ruggiero di Lauria P435, launched Aug 2023, planned commissioning Aug 2025

    If we do get them, it will be only the 3rd time TLDM uses gas turbine for its ships.

    So PPA or Type 31e? Type 31e will be common platform currently for Royal Navy, Singapore, Indonesia, Poland and in future, probably New Zealand too. Economical all diesel powerplant. But PPA design is quite interesting too. With the possibility of quickly getting them in 1-2 years time.

    If we buy them, will it be an alternative to Gowind? I would see them as mainly a replacement for Lekiu and Kasturi class ships. I would still prefer we get all 6 Gowinds as per planned. Should we transfer allocated budget of LMS batch 2 to get this instead? That would be an interesting question to answer by the navy. Could this be a part of the more government-to-government deal the Anwar Government is mulling?

    The PPA during the recent LIMA 2023
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Italian_ship_Francesco_Morosini.jpg

  5. Well indonesia signed for 5 FREMM with italy without ever paying for any of them, and now building 2 Arrowhead 140 instead. If they do get the PPA, that would be very interesting indeed. It would tie up to the current rumors of Indonesia getting Italian Subs instead of the Scorpene.

    Personally I would still prefer the Arrowhead 140 for TLDM, the PPA has too many things not in common with what we now have. 127mm guns, different CMS, different missiles, etc.

  6. Buying more warships will undoubtedly be part of a presidential candidate campaign. Over here, no one will back buying second hand ships or anything, most will curse claiming all sorts of thing.

  7. Our neighbour got weird tatakelola. The Menhan can go about signing MOUs with principals without their Bappenas budgeting for it.

    And nobody questions that

  8. @hulubalang
    “current plans such as 15 to 5 are just not workable”
    Its the only plan they got that is Govt approved, and that has survived our multiple revolving door Govts. Unless there is political push to change I doubt the current chief will want to change course.

    “the security of our waters is our first priority”
    Indeed but we arent an island and TDM does need to focus on a competent ground force. As I pointed out, what happens if PLAN invades from Thai border copying the path of IJA in WW2. Or scenarios like Lahad Datu incursion.

    “If we buy them, will it be an alternative to Gowind?”
    As I understand, TLDM needs more boats of certain sizes & capabilities and not really few large sized frigate leaders.

  9. Well indonesia signed for 5 FREMM with italy without ever paying for any of them, and now building 2 Arrowhead 140 instead.(hulubalang)
    That seems to be the standard almost normal practice of the Indonesian Defense Ministry… announce a buy and conveniently changing the preferred buy down the street. And they get away with it every single time…

  10. Joe “but still really is too low and needs to be fixed now that our economy is back on track.”

    Some countries can afford higher defense spending per GDP because most of the production had already been localised. These allowed them to get spillovers effect for every dollar they spends. Uncle Sam for example get $1.5 dollar in economics spillovers for every $1 dollar they spend.

    While defense procurement isn’t as attractive as infrastructure investment, most of these countries had max out & build all the important profitable infrastructure anyway & thus defense spending seem like a good way to boost economics outputs.

    Over here we do not have the same fundamentals

  11. Marhalim, do you think we will get news about LMS and SPH when Turkiye President visit Malaysia in the future?

  12. Wonder whether the 32 Gokbeys said to have been purchased by a country are meant to kickstart the helos production plan in Negeri Sembilan Aerospace Valley by TAI n NS Corp? If yes, that would be a good move to add to the helos requirement of the country.

  13. @ joe

    “TDM does need to focus on a competent ground force”
    Yes of course. But we need to be a competent home defence force like Finland or Vietnam; not like USA or UK, which are forces tailored to fight on foreign soil. We really need to change our mindset to become home defence centric, not parroting “conventional warfare” tactics of attacking forces like US Army or USMC.

    “As I pointed out, what happens if PLAN invades from Thai border copying the path of IJA in WW2. Or scenarios like Lahad Datu incursion”
    Ermm as you pointed out?
    That was actually my question to you previously about if we really need to do amphibious assault/landings.
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/sooner-gempita-than-later/#comment-877131

    “TLDM needs more boats of certain sizes & capabilities”
    Malaysia in general needs more boats of those certain sizes & capabilities, not really TLDM per se. Stuff like PC, FIC, OPV is not needed by TLDM to fight other navies. Let MMEA run those things, and give adequate budget for them (probably 30%-40% more than their small existing budget tops). We can develop TLDM to be a lean fighting force, with Submarines, Frigates even with existing allocation levels. For example the allocation for 8 LMS Batch 2 can buy you 2 Scorpenes + many more millions to spare.

  14. @Zaft
    “Over here we do not have the same fundamentals”
    Indeed, many of the indigenous arms making nations either could afford going local & expensive stuff which they keep for long or else wage wars (direct & indirect) to keep the arms business churning.

  15. Hulubalang “But we need to be a competent home defence force like Finland or Vietnam; not like USA or UK”

    Finland, Vietnam share a land border with a powerful neighbour who are trigger happy & have a history of them invading and due to their disadvantages geography there’s not much potential partners to help them out. Thus for most of history they can’t relied on others and have to do the defending of themselves by themselves.

    We however do not have the same dynamic & spending resources for such low risk event mean we sacrificing other capabilities that of meant to safeguard against other higher risk event and thus why we didn’t do it.

    PRC is not our next door neighbours & they can’t invade us directly without going through our neighbours & if they does invade our neighbours & we are on the menu next sitting pretty within our borders waiting for our turns while our neighbours are struggling & eventually be defeated then only do something when PLA arrived at our footsteps doesn’t sound like something smart to do.

    Not to mention, Finland jump into NATO collective defense the 1st moment they get. So Asymmetric tactics of defending themselves by themselves only is something they did out of necessities & not out of choice.

  16. @ darthzaft

    ” mean we sacrificing other capabilities that of meant to safeguard against other higher risk event and thus why we didn’t do it ”

    Q : What is the “other higher risk event”? How should we prepare then for this “other higher risk event”?

  17. @hulubalang
    “That was actually my question”
    And this was my reply https://www.malaysiandefence.com/sooner-gempita-than-later/#comment-877164

    “not parroting “conventional warfare” tactics”
    Even on the defence we still have to have a conventional force that will take on a conventional force opponent. Ukraine’s successful holdout is due to their conventional force & tactics, and not thru asymmetric or guerilla warfare.

    “We can develop TLDM to be a lean fighting force”
    TLDM can be anything but they have to have a peace time role and subs makes poor enforcers against encroaching CCG and fishing boats. TLDM simply cannot be one dimensional as you propose. Its like your trying to play a footie game with 10 world class strikers and 1 average keeper, you will sure lose.

  18. … – ”PC, FIC, OPV is not needed by TLDM to fight other navies.”

    Where is it stated that these bits of gear don’t have utility? How will PASKAL perform its roles at sea without FICs? How will ship transfers at times be done without FICs [note the roles the CB-90s have traditionally performed]. As for OPVs this matter has been done to death… The RMN has no requirement for any guns only armed ”OPVs” or any ”OPV” per see but it has no choice but to retain guns only FACs in service because replacements aren’t there and because until the MMEA is fully resourced the RMN is the only entity [unless there’s another I’m blissfully unware of] that can carry the burden.

    … -”That was actually my question to you previously about if we really need to do amphibious assault/landings.”

    I see us performing ”amphib movement” rather ”amphib assault”- one administrative; the other operational. I also don’t see the likelihood of anyone conducting ”amphib assault” on us; for the reason that they don\’t have to; all they need to do is control the sea lanes and deny us access.

    … – ”Let MMEA run those things, and give adequate budget for them (probably 30%-40% more than their small existing budget tops).”

    Hallelujah! By all means write to your local MP or to the PM because this is precisely what the RMN wants but it”s the politicians who are the issue. Also note that the MMEA needs the sexy hardware but also the less sexy stuff; i.e. improved shore support infrastructure.

    Zaft – ”Finland, Vietnam share a land border with a powerful neighbour who are trigger happy”

    I have no idea about the ”trigger happy;; part and I don’t really want to know but look at the context. Finland was party of the Russian empire and fought wars with the Soviets. Vietnam was colonised by China for almost a century.

    Zaft – ”for most of history they can’t relied on others and have to do the defending of themselves by themselves.”

    Do you need some references to reading material on Vietnam? During the war against France and Uncle Sam; Vietnam had huger external help. In 1949 China became a communist state and that meant that the long border with China became a haven for the Vietnamese and enabled supplies to flow south. During the war against the Yanks North Vietnam received massive amounts of help from China, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries; via the land border and the port of Haiphong. You will also note that during the Easter Offensive and the 1975 one the NVA came not only across the DMZ but also from Cambodia and Laos. Yes the North Vietnamese had the determination to see it through but they also had a lot of external help an several other key advantages.

    Zaft – ”PRC is not our next door neighbours & they can’t invade us”

    Why pray tell would they? China seeks to control the littorals and it doesn’t need the Malay Peninsular for that ….. Note that in the past a worry was that a unified Vietnam would come south via Cambodia and Thailand and this led to the massive arms dump in Thailand [which we contributed to], why the SAF had plans to move up north if it had to and why the Thais as far back as the 1970’s had heavy armour amongst other things.

    Zaft – ”to mention, Finland jump into NATO collective defense the 1st moment they get. So Asymmetric tactics of defending themselves by themselves only is something they did out of necessities & not out of choice.”

    Would you like me to recommend a book on the Winter War or on the War of Continuation? The strategy applied by the Finns was driven by realties faced and as I never tire of pointing out when ”asymmetric” warfare is pointed out [as if it’s a magic wand or a panacea] is that others can also practice it …

    ”nd subs makes poor enforcers against encroaching CCG and fishing boats.”

    Correct and some years ago someone made the preposterous claim that our subs should surface in the vicinity of intruding Chinese ships to show them subs or there or to warn them. Also, more subs are nice but they also have to operate alongside other assets in order to be truly effective; i.e, WW1/2 and the Cold War demonstrated this; both wars also demonstrated that subs can be prevented from carrying out their jobs by strong surface and air assets and other means. There is also the pertinent fact that others too operate subs; have more of them and fully understand what they can and can’t do.

  19. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, low intensity conflict makes sense. Except for a few countries in the world, most can only engage in low intensity conflicts. Fast forward to 2023, many countries in the region and beyond are capable of high intensity conflict. Does it makes sense for Malaysia to plan for low intensity conflict in 2023? No. Nothing about non-aligned, we want to be friends with the world will justify that position. Because if we say its about neutrality, we either behave like Switzerland (which has a strong defense relative to its size), or we go pacifist and eliminate the armed forces (zero defense) as we embrace the rest of the world. Ultimately, this “plan for low conflict” is not government policy, but voters expectations. Majority of voters don’t care, don’t understand, or are ambivalent towards defense. Some repeat the same mantra of non-aligned and neutrality, which becomes why spend on defense, which translates to let’s just spend minimally, which is justified by we plan for low intensity conflicts. Just like re-hulling the FAC is a still a bad idea regardless of how “new” the ships are, people ought not to repeat the “plan for low intensity conflict” narrative because its debilitating.

  20. kel -”In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, low intensity conflict makes sense. ”

    Whatever are you on about? For centuries or since antiquity the nature of conflicts depends on a host of factors

    kel – ” Does it makes sense for Malaysia to plan for low intensity conflict in 2023? No”

    Nonsense… Countries plan for the type of conflicts they expect or hope to face based on threat perceptions and the geo-political environment. It has zero to do with what makes ”sense” or doesn’t.

    kel – ”people ought not to repeat the “plan for low intensity conflict” narrative because its debilitating.”

    This may surprise you but planners cater for a whole list of contingencies; it’s what they do. Naturally thay plan for various things but can only focus on a selected few.

    kel – ”Ultimately, this “plan for low conflict” is not government policy, but voters expectations.

    Nonsense. It’s based on history; the neighbourhood we live in an various other factors. If you need a reminder; with the exception of Dwikora we’ve never faced a serious state threat; nor do we face hostile neighbours – historical and socio political factors determine the public’s overall attitude towards defence Contrast this to Vietnam which was colonised by China for a century and over the years has fought various wars/clashes with it or with the TNI which occupies a place in the national psychology in a way the MAF doesn’t.

    As explained by an academic; we also avoid naming a specific threat because that enables us to do away with actually committing and maintaining a fixed figure for defence.

    kel – ”Just like re-hulling the FAC”

    It’s was driven by the fact that replacements aren’t due anytime soon and the RMN needs the numbers. Period/full stop …

  21. @hulubaang
    Agreed that the PPA has less commonality with RMN ships but not just that, it is also much more expensive than Gowind LCS. There are still possibilities that RMN might require AAW ship but the current focus is on LMS Batch 2.

    LMS, if configured correctly could even replace LCS and PPA can do but with shorter range. LMS should have
    – 8-cell mk41 vls self-defence version
    – 16x ESSM block 2 quad packed into 4 cells + 4 SM2 Block3c
    – or 32 ESSM block 2 quad packed into 8 cells
    – Thales NS100 AESA (Smart-s mk2 if really want to save money)
    – no need for X-band FCR as all missiles active seeker with mid-course guidance to save costs, use EO turrets for guns
    – Bow sonar for ASW like Thales Kinglip mk2
    – Provision for towed sonar array that can fit up to CAPTAS2/4C size
    – 1x Millenium CIWS or GOKDENIZ (whichever that is cheaper) or 2x DS30

    All of this could be fit into 2000+ tones ship at a reasonable price that could give almost the same or even better capability than LCS. Applying these modifications to a larger Jose Rizal class (or even Damen Sigma) could still get us almost 2 LMS for the price of 1 LCS (original LCS price of course).

    So does RMN still need more than 6 LCS? Can this 12 optimized LMS be good enough replacement to 6 LCS batch 2?

  22. “All of this could be fit into 2000+ tones ship”
    You could do that but it leaves no room for any upgrades and a compact space limited mounts could limit any future potential upgrades/replacements. This is quite obvious not what TLDM wanted when they specced in the LCS.

  23. @ Luqman

    Your configuration is basically what an updated Gowind Frigate could be.

    That spec cannot be had at a reasonable price/LMS batch 2 budget. That ship will cost the same as the Maharajalela Gowinds. Just check the price of UAE Gowind Corvettes (USD 850 million for 2x Gowind 2500 corvettes)

    Packing so much into a small ship is not a good value for money, as the ship hull is only a small portion of the overall cost.

    I my opinion a small ship should be cheap enough to be lost, but can be used in concert of; and to enhance the sensors and firepower of our current frigates. It should not be an alternative to a frigate. If you really need a frigate, then please buy a frigate; don’t buy a corvette.

  24. @joe
    “This is quite obvious not what TLDM wanted when they specced in the LCS.”
    One even could say even LCS has not much of potential upgrades. Guy A said 3000 tones enough for upgrades, guy B said 6000 tones etc.

    If potential upgrades is what you are looking for, better go for 5000 tones+ design like Iver Huitfeld or Fridtjof Nansen or De Zeven Provincien

    RMN must get a different design (bigger than LCS) if they really want potential upgrades.

    So what potential upgrades that RMN want to put on LCS? more VLS? more SSM? bigger radar? UUVs?

  25. Luqman – ”LMS, if configured correctly ”

    The keyword is ”if”. Is there intent? Will there be a shift in policy; from acquiring a minimal deterrence capability to having something capable of operating way beyond just a low intensity limited duration conflict?

    Luqman – ”Can this 12 optimized LMS be good enough replacement to 6 LCS batch 2?”

    Unless there is a change in policy the LMS’s will be modestly armed [not only due to funding issues] but because they are expected to operated in lower threat environments than the LCSs ….

  26. … -”If you really need a frigate, then please buy a frigate; don’t buy a corvette.”

    – We need MRCAs but for reasons well known we bought LCAs as part of the high/low end mix; yet we can’t do the same with LMSs?
    – What happens when there is no cash to buy a ”frigate” or cash to get sufficient numbers?
    – What happens when the bean counters won’t approve a ”frigate”?
    – What happens when the end user [the one who does for real what we discuss in the virtual role] see a need for a mix [like the RMAF with it’s MRCAs and LCAS or other navies with frigates and smaller less capable combatants]?
    – Who’s to say that a ”corvette” will by default be less survivable or less well armed than a ”frigate”; i.e. the IN’s Kora class has 16 Urans. You are overly fixated on designations – there would be nothing bizarre if the RMN decide [it won’t] to designate the Kedahs into ‘light frigates”. Just because they’re armed only with guns doesn’t mean they can’t be designated – ‘light frigates”. Similarly a navy could go for a 1,800 tonne hull and armed with with a 16 cell VLS and 16 SSMs and still call it a ”corvette” – no fixed rule.

    … – ”I my opinion a small ship should be cheap enough to be lost,”

    In my opinion in this day and age where everything is expensive; plus the fact that the RMN is resource strapped; we can’t afford to lose anything per see but losing something is par the course par the course should a conflict erupt. Another issue – as I never tire of pointing out – is we really have no idea as to the type of conflict we might be faced with. Countries rarely get to fight the conflicts they’d like or prepare for. The enemy also has a say/vote.

    Luqman – ”better go for 5000 tones+ design like Iver Huitfeld or Fridtjof Nansen or De Zeven Provincien”

    As of 2023 neither our finances nor threat perceptions or the RMN’s operational requirements enable or call for a 5,000 tonne combatant.

    Luqman – ”RMN must get a different design (bigger than LCS) if they really want potential upgrades.”

    As I pointed out many moons ago the LCS is too modestly armed; has zero deck space for upgrade, etc but is in line with existing longstanding policy and is as far as we’re willing [not able per see] to spend. Would be nice to have a Tier 1 combatant with a 32 cell VLS; a CIWS; an embarked UAS to complement the helo and free deck and below deck space for a future upgrade but lets be realistic. Countries buy what they do based on finances but also based on threat perceptions as set by policy makers.

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