Third Time A Charm?

A CGI of the first of class MMEA OPV 1800.

SHAH ALAM: In previous posts, Malaysian Defence wrote that the three MMEA OPV built by TH Heavy Enginering Sdn Bhd (THHE) were to be named after Royal towns in Malaysia. It was later changed to a warrior princess.

The first post on October 9 2019, had this to say:

The first of class MMEA 1800 OPV will be named KM Kota Bharu, the second KM Kuala Kangsar and the third KM Seri Menanti. KM Kota Bharu is of course named after the royal town of Kelantan while Kuala Kangsar is Perak and Seri Menanti, Negri Sembilan, respectively. There are nine state royal towns in Malaysian with two ships already in service with MMEA, namely, KM Pekan and KM Arau. Both, as you are aware, were ex Japanese Coast Guard ships which were gifted to Malaysia some two years back.

It was not to be of course in July 2020:

It must be noted that some quarters had criticised the naming of Pekan and Arau – claiming both were named for the parliamentary constituencies – though they were actually named after the Royal towns of Pahang and Perlis, respectively.

By that time, DS Najib Tun Razak was no longer the PM and Arau MP DS Shahidan Kassim was no longer had any power over MMEA as he was no longer a minister. Both were part of the decision making for the three OPV.

KM Pekan

Tun Fatimah was supposed to be the name of the first OPV as Malaysian Defence reported on November 30 2020:

As for the name of the OPV, I had also written that MMEA had decided against naming the three-class OPV with royal town names. I was told that the ships will be called after female warriors instead. I am guessing – I stand to be corrected – that the first of class will be named KM Tun Fatimah after the Sultanate of Malacca princess.

KM Arau

The new name for OPV 1 was confirmed on January 7 2021:

Its Sarawak director First Admiral (M) Zin Azman Mohd Yunus said the OPV was supposed to be delivered earlier but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the OPV to be called KM Tun Fatimah will be based at Beting Patinggi Ali to prevent the intrusions of foreign vessels into the Malaysian EEZ. The ship will boost the capability of the MMEA as it will be able to stay at sea for one month at a time

A group photograph with OPV1 on January 6. She looked resplendent despite the delays. Note her main gun is not fitted yet. It will be done after the handing over to MMEA or after her commissioning. The Aselsan SMASH 30mm gun is among the government furnished equipment. KDN

What is this all about then? Malaysian Defence was informed that MMEA is mulling to change the names for the three OPVs. This was apparent when both the agency and Home Minister referred to the ship as OPV1 in their talking points during the recent visit to the THHE yard in Pulau Indah. This intrigued me of course which led to conversations confirming the likely change of name of the OPV.
The first MMEA OPV at her slipway at the THHE Fabricators yard in Pulau Indah in November 2020.

With the first OPV expected to be handed over to MMEA soon and commissioning before May, I am guessing we will find out soon enough.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Don’t they have anything better to do? Call it KM P Ramlee or AR Tompel and be done with it.

  2. Change of new boss, so he wants to make his mark as well. Just as the previous Minister in charge of MMEA wanted to change from naming of royal towns. Politicians, if they cannot make things better they will make things worse. Expect the latter.

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