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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It is one thing to cry aloud about your predicament, it is better if you could give/suggest the options to the government on how to solve it.
Of course there is only a limited amount of money available, what is needed is to think outside the box in order to get the most out of the available budget.
With the oil prices going to be low for a foreseeable future, a lot of relatively new platform supply vessels / crew supply vessels of 30-50m in length being put for sale. These could be bought at rm5-10million each and would be an ideal boat for coast guard duties.
Another option would be getting used patrol boats at friendship prices from friendly countries. For example, we could get ex south korean navy 1980’s chamsuri class patrol boats as a 1 to 1 replacement of the 1960’s vosper patrol boats. They build more than 100 of those boats and are retiring them annually.
A fleet of 12, 1 to 10 year old offshore vessels plus 12, 30 year old chamsuri patrol boats (that is a total of 24 new boats) could be had for about rm100-150million. That still leaves alot left from the rm 836 million capex budget.
The key is, think outside the box, and give solutions to the problem, not just state the problem.
Yes but I think it is a start.
offshore supply vessels/ crew boats
I tend to think that local shipbuilders are more than capable to replace the bulk of MMEA aging boats
Of course they do but the point…. was making that since money is short try to stretch it by getting 2nd hand boats either those retired by other coast guards or oil industry supply boats laid idle by the current industry crisis.
I believe its quite tough to specify and tender out for used equipment in the govt procurement process
Just because it was not publicly mentioned doesn’t automatically mean the MMEA doesn’t have have a list of options or doesn’t think out of the box.
I know that when the MAF registers a requirement for new gear with the Finance Ministry, it has to provide options and justify in detail why it’s requesting cash for new gear.
Ideally, we should get a vessel with more endurance and seakeeping ability than the 170 ton Chamsuri class if we are to police our territorial waters and EEZ effectively. There will always be a need for small (and less heavily armed) vessels, but that alone will never be enough.
I can’t understand the Chamsuri class. The ships were designed for the very high likelihood that they would engage heavily armed North Korean vessels, and so are very heavily armed themselves. And yet, they were given precious little armour and one was shot to pieces in the 2002 skirmish.