SHAH ALAM: Foreign Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan on December 18 that the Japan’s Official Security Assistance (OSA) grant aid announced two days earlier are drones and fast interceptor boats. The aid will be used for surveillance and monitoring of its maritime borders off Sabah’s east coast, an area under the ESSCOM.
Mohamad however did not announced numbers nor the exact type of drones and interceptor boats to be gifted. As Japan is donating fast interceptor boats, I am guessing it will be the same ones it donated to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) several years back.
Japan donated 13 interceptor boats to PCG, each with the length of 12 metres and three 223kW outboard engines delivering a maximum speed of 50 knots (see picture). It is very similar to ones used by the MMEA, the Armed Forces and marine police, most of which are sourced from local builders.
Likely the outboard motors will be Yamaha, one already used in large numbers by the security services and civilians in Malaysia so spares and maintenance will not be an issue.
As I mentioned previously, Malaysia seemed reluctant to accept other better monitoring and surveillance equipment unlike our neighbours. Indonesia at the same Tokyo event signed a deal for a large patrol vessel for its coast guard.
Even a smaller patrol vessel like the 46 metre one built for JCG will be better for the surveillance and monitoring of our maritime borders. MMEA only got six 44 metre patrol boats. It is not like our shipyards are lining up to build 46 metre boats like the fast interceptor vessels.
Honestly, if we get less than 13 fast interceptor boats under the Japan’s OSA, it will be a joke. Why a joke, you may ask. A joke as we clearly do not want to be seen under the influence of the Japanese while at the same time killing our local defence industry by not buying their boats.
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