04 Juni 2015
AV-8 Gempita 8x8 (photo : Panggilan Pertiwi)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will soon see a number of military and defence upgrades especially along the Sabah border, according to Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein.
At a press conference today, Hishammuddin announced that he and officers from the Ministry of Defence had detailed the ministry’s direction for the next five years and said it would include items detailed in the 11th Malaysia Plan in regard to the nation’s safety.
According to him, the ministry would uphold the nation’s defensive portfolio with a focus on four major aspects i.e. increasing the preparedness of the Malaysian Armed Forces’ physical assets and facilities; increasing its capability to face non-traditional threats in Sabah; improving the welfare of members and veterans of the Armed Forces; and strengthening the commercial and innovative sector of the defence industry.
“Sabah has always been a flashpoint that we need to address. We cannot let our guard down – we need constant monitoring,” said Hishammuddin.
Mark V Special Operation Craft (photo : US Navy)
“Our (mobile) offshore bases will be leaving tomorrow and will be in position soon,” he added, saying that such bases were already at Sabah.
This was said in regard to the Ministry’s initiatives already in play to strengthen defences around Sabah, among which would be the formation of two forward sea bases, the mobilisation of 12 high-speed Mark V Special Operation Craft (SOC) boats, and 12 8×8 GEMPITA Shielded Vehicles placed in Kukusan Camp, Tawau in January, among others.
Three battalions of standard infantry will also be placed around Sabah, specifically in Lahad Datu, Lok Kawi, and Labuan.
The navy will also be constructing the infrastructure necessary for refits of its Scorpene submarines, which are slated for completion at the end of the year.
“These initiatives to increase the level of Sabah’s defence will be upheld in the 11th Malaysia Plan,” said Hishammuddin.