11 September 2014
Malaysia's Scorpene submarine (photo : carigold)
KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia's two Scorpene submarines are being utilised in four special operations off Sabah, according to Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.
The submarines, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak, however, were not dispatched for operations under the Eastern Sabah Security Command, he said.
"The submarines have their own roles. I cannot tell you what are the operations are. The navy is a silent force and that is why people do not see what we do but we are working round the clock.
"You must trust me as the Navy Chief, the navy is operating to ensure Malaysia’s waters are protected," he said after launching the 14th Asia Pacific Submarine Conference here yesterday.
Aziz said the two submarines were not suitable to be used for security operation in Sabah's east coast, taking into factor the sea depth.
However, Malaysian navy had enhanced the involvement of its other assets for air and sea surveillance within Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).
"We have placed our highly capable ships and interceptor boats. We are also deploying our Super Lynx and Fennec helicopters focus on surveillance operations because of its wider view compared to boats.
"These choppers are able to do wide-area surveillance and have better view on boats that need to be intercepted," Aziz said.
"We had requested for the security forces to be able to shoot at suspicious boats that try to enter Sabah waters but at the same time we have standard operating procedures that need to be followed.
"The curfew has somewhat made our job easier because we can now focus. If not, the foreign boats can easily sneak in and hide."
Dusk-to-dawn curfew was enforced on July 19 following the murder of marine personnel while another was kidnapped on Mabul Island.
Curfew areas involved waters off Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Semporna, and Tawau.
Since the Mabul incident, there have been two attempts to infiltrate Sabah's waters through Semporna and Sandakan where shooting was involved.
As of this year, Sabah recorded four kidnapping cases involving tourist, businessmen and a policeman. Victims were taken away from Lahad Datu, Kunak and a resort off Semporna.
Police have also identified two suspects known as the Muktadil brothers who were responsible for several abduction cases and the murder of the policeman.
Aziz stressed Malaysian navy remained professional in carrying out its role as the first layer watchdog at waters.
Meanwhile, more than 60 navy personnel from 19 countries participated in the closed-door conference aimed at discussing issues pertaining to Submarine Escape and Rescue in the Asia Pacific.
Among the participating countries are the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Australia, Peru, Chile, Pakistan, Vietnam, Singapore, Ecuador, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, and Brunei.
(New Straits Times)