KUALA LUMPUR: The news from Bernama (below) is self-explainatory. Neither Pak Lah and Najib were around for the launch this time around.
Malaysia’s Second Scorpene Submarine Launched, Named ‘Tun Razak’
From Abdul Muin Abdul Majid
CARTAGENA (Spain), Oct 8 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s second Scorpene submarine was launched by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah here Wednesday, marking another milestone in the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) bid to further enhance its capability amid growing maritime security challenges.
The “Tun Razak” was officially unveiled to the world by the Malaysian queen at a ceremony at the Navantia shipyard in this southern port city, about 450km from the Spanish capital, Madrid.
Looking elegant in a dark blue jacket and white pants, Tuanku Nur Zahirah was accompanied by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
In keeping with the maritime tradition, Tuanku Nur Zahirah broke a bottle against the vessel’s sail, the tower-like structure on the topside surface of submarines, to signify the official launch and naming of the vessel.
“I hereby launch this submarine and name it `Tun Razak’. May Allah bless her and protect all who sail with her,” she said.
The name was chosen in honour of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussien, a statesman remembered for his great contributions to the country’s independence, modernisation, administration and development.
A “doa selamat” (prayers) was also recited at the ceremony.
Malaysia ordered two brand-new Scorpene submarines for RM3.4 billion in 2002 which are being jointly built by DCNS of France and Spanish shipbuilding firm, Navantia.
Present at today’s event were Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, Defence Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal, Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Malaysian ambassador to Spain Datuk Naimun Ashakli Mohammad, Spanish navy chief Admiral General Manuel Rebollo Garcia and Navantia chairman Juan Pedro Gomez Jaen.
Also in the crowd were RMN Submarine Force Project Team head First Admiral Mohammad Rosland Omar, as well as other officials from Malaysia, Spain and France. A large Spanish press was also present.
The VIPs later toured the Scorpene, a conventional submarine with an overall length of more than 67 metres and operational depth of more than 300 metres. The diesel-powered vessel is to be manned by a 31-member crew.
Malaysia’s first submarine, named “Tunku Abdul Rahman”, after Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, was launched at the DCNS shipyard in Cherbourg, France, in October last year.
It is expected to be commissioned in January 2009, assume the name “KD Tunku Abdul Rahman” — KD stands for Kapal Diraja which means His Majesty’s Ship in the Malay language — and travel back to Malaysia in May, arriving by late July 2009.
The vessel launched today will be known as “KD Tun Razak” once it is commissioned in October 2009. It is expected to set sail for Malaysia in January 2010, arriving home two months later.
In a statement, the RMN said the first Scorpene submarine had completed combat system tests and validation of submarine performance tests in France.
“The submarine is currently undergoing sea trials involving RMN’s Submarine Force trainees. It is expected to be in Malaysia by the middle of next year, adding sparkle to RMN’s Diamond Jubilee celebration,” the statement said.
Malaysia’s two submarines are expected to be based at the soon-to-be-completed RM690 million naval base in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah.
A total of 142 RMN personnel are currently undergoing training in Brest, France, to prepare them for Scorpene duties.
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