The be able flexible and needs a balanced

The Future RMN.
   The complexity and uncertain challenges
require the RMN to be able to respond quickly tailored to Malaysia’s National
Defense Policy (NDP). Thus, the RMN has to be able flexible and needs a
balanced fleet between East and West which offers credible options for
Commanders to make best decisions. At the same time, operational demands and
maritime security challenges are on an increasing trend. Should the planning
for RMN development focus on the regional security or budget? Discuss.

 

INTRODUCTION

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            Mahan defined the ways that a nation
should deploy and dispose its naval forces in times of peace. ?he godfather of
Sea Power, determined the constitution of the fleet, as a critical factor for
naval power.1
RMN aiming to cope with a range of threats and challenges and fulfill its
nation’s ambitions in maritime domain, a fleet should consist of adequate
number of ships and of requisite types. RMN are charged to correspond in such a
manner so that to achieve an ideal connection between naval procurements and
ambitions, threats and challenges within a given fiscal context. Mahan
determined four elements (abilities) which constitute a balanced fleet:2
(1) projection of sea power and overcoming a contingent or future enemy, (2)
protection of vital sea lanes, (3) scouting and operating toward the coast and
(4) exercise naval diplomacy.

 

Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)
is one of the maritime agencies in Malaysia which one of the roles and
functions is to safeguard our national interest.  Hence, the roles and
functions are the bread and butter to the RMN, and of course it is not limiting
the usage, freedom of manoeuvres in Malaysian waters for whatever
reasons.  In connection to maritime environmental issues, the RMN has a
strong sense of commitment in upholding the community values of Malaysia. 
At the forefront of these values are respect for the environment and a growing
need to ensure that naval operations are undertaken by sustainable methods and
that the environment is preserved for future generations3.

 

From
brown water navy to blue ocean navy, RMN evolves with Riverine Craft Patrol
(RCP) and Patrol craft (PC) later state RMN have missile gun boat and gradually
have FSG, FFG, MPCSSS, NGPV and coming soon LCS and LMS. The significant 83th
anniversaries, RMN officially established it Eastern Naval Fleet base in RMN
Naval Base in Kota Kinabalu on 27 April 2017, while RMN Region 2 HEADQUARTER
shifted to Sandakan in line to beef up eastern Sabah coastal from transborder
crime and illegal activities.

 

“Security
wise, the current maritime activities and development in the South China Sea
and in the Sulu waters in Eastern Sabah require the government to give high
level of focus and attention to ensure maritime security for the two states.”
Ahmad Kamarulzaman said the commands of the two fleets would officially take
effect in April or May.4 “What is more important now is the maritime
aspect, such as the threat of encroachment from militants, cross-border crimes,
and increasing our capabilities especially in the Sulu Sea,” 5

 

RMN Aging Fleet Imbalance

 

The
current RMN fleet strength are imbalance whereby the strike flotillas and
logistic flotilla station in Lumut under West Headquarter Fleet and East Headquarter
Fleet filled up only by NGPV, Gunboat and patrol craft only. The distance and
time taken sailing from west to east will take from 4 to 5 days. It will expose
the movement of RMN fleet from the interest countries. The Commanders should
identify the imbalance and form the way ahead to balance the fleet should be
their priority when RMN formed up the two fleet Headquarter. The west fleet Headquarter
focus on Gun Boat Diplomatic, Exercise bilateral and multilateral and training
ashore with fantastic facilities. Means while the East Fleet focusing on the
operational and patrolling Malaysia Territorial Water (MTW) and Economic
Exclusive Zone  (EEZ). Less time for
training and limited facilities. Hectic sailing schedule and high demand of
operational may compromise the ship’s crews competencies as ship sailing within
designated assigned sector. They did not allow to leave the sector unless for
resupplying and refueling to the base. Ships enter morning and depart from the
port in the evening. The time spent at jetty less than 24 hours.  However training still can be carry out
onboard within ship capabilities and equipment onboard.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Should
the planning for RMN development focus on the regional security? The answer yes
based on the regional security threat and challenges. RMN required the state of
art technologies, autonomous and robust in order to provide the commander
firing solution and decision making. The discussion will using PESTEL acronym.

 

Geopolitical

 

The
South China Sea becomes the new theater between the claiming countries with
China. US ship present under the code freedom of navigation make the thing more
worst. The political will and power of the claiming countries try their best to
protect and defending each countries claiming and national interest. After the
Lahad Datu Incidents, Malaysia Government shifted the security focus to the
east Malaysia. MAF have been increased it number of personnel both maritime
patrol and land patrol. Eastern Sabah Security Command Headquarter (ESSCOM)
established to coordinat all varies involved to address the security and
illegal immigrants, illegal settlement built up by illegal migrants. The
establishing of ESSCOM are on track and manage to reduce transborder crime and
illegal activities in Eastern Sabah coastal.

 

Recent development in the East has
persuaded Kuala Lumpur that the main focus of their military attention in the
coming years will be eastwards. As mentioned above, said developments can be
broken down into two main areas: that of inter-state territorial disputes and
aggression from trans-national non-state actors.6
The former largely revolves around the South China Sea dispute. Malaysia is a
passive player in the South China Sea dispute, laying claim to a portion of the
Spratly Archipelago and its surrounding waters, and currently occupies five
features within it.7
The most notable of these features, Pulau Layang-Layang (Swallow Reef), a
reclaimed island which currently hosts a naval base for the RMN’s patrol crafts
as well as a runway capable of supporting a C-130 aircraft. Kuala Lumpur has
become increasingly concerned about China’s increasingly aggressive acquisition
of more maritime territory in the SCS, seen most evidently in its extensive
land reclamation works and militarization of certain features within the sea in
the last few years.8  Politically government of the day will try
hard to equip MAF and RMN in particular to meet and address the security issues
in Malaysia.  The mandate from the
politically will expedite the process as security will influence their campaign
and gain the people support and vote.

 

Geoeconomic

 

The
global economic conditions have indeed hit the Malaysian economy and in turn
have impacted all of Malaysian Armed Forces. But I always look at challenges as
opportunities, so one opportunity I see is in reviewing our priorities and
focus towards ‘fit-for-purpose’ requirements, we will be looking to do more
with less. – Navy Chief .9   Future acquisitions by the RMN will mostly be guided by an
innovative plan introduced by the RMN referred to as the ’15 to 5
Transformation Program’.10
The idea muted and underline by Chief on Watch been table up and briefed to the
Malaysia Economic Committee Councils from varies ministries lead by Prime
Minister of Malaysia.  The current an
inventory of aging ships and decreasing budgets, the RMN has had to be creative
in ensuring Malaysia’s current naval power projection capabilities are well
maintained while streamlining the fleet and saving costs.11
Referred to as the ‘Transformation plan 15 to 5’ plan, it refers to the current
15 classes of ships from seven different nations currently in possession by the
RMN. Since this represents a large cost in terms of maintenance and operations,
the plan seeks to streamline the fleet to only five classes, while
decommissioning older ships.12
The five classes would be the New Generation Patrol Vessel, the Littoral Combat
Ship, the Littoral Mission Ship, the Multirole Supply Ship, and a future expansion
of its submarine fleet.13
The government in principle agreed to funding and materialization of the RMN 15
to 5 plan program into varies stage and depending on Malaysian economic well
being, oils and gas prices and Malaysian Ringgit currency rate. The wealth of
oils and Liquid Natural Gas in vicinity of Sarawak water crucial for Malaysia
economic income for next three decade.

 

            As RMN Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman
noted “…We used to have 15 types of vessels from seven different countries
with the average age of 15 years. After a study done we realized that the
operating costs are very high… it is cheaper to buy new ships than to maintain
the old ones that are already 30 to 40 years old. Although LMS is smaller it is
capable of doing a lot of missions…In the past we wanted the best platform
available to meet our requirements but in reality we can’t afford them. So we
are looking at ways to meet the challenges…if the transformation program is
endorsed by the government the replacement process will be done in stages. We
will focus on building ships from 5 classes harnessing the abilities of local
industries…” 14

 

            RMN assets must sent to sea to
conduct maritime patrol and safeguarding Malaysiaa Economic Exclusive Zone and
Malaysia Territorial Water.  Malaysia
fruits of economic sources come from natural resources especially oils and gas,
fisheries and ecotourism.

 

Geosocial Security Threat

 

Besides the more ‘traditional’
challenges of state-on-state rivalries over territory, Malaysia’s East is also experiencing
more direct threats from maritime-based non-state actors. This was certainly
true in the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea, the one million square kilometer body of water
which borders Malaysia, Indonesia, and the southern Philippines. The sea had
seen a recent upsurge in kidnappings of Malaysian and Indonesian citizens by
Abu Sayyaf, a militant group based in the southern Philippines. The group
itself is part of a larger phenomenon of jihadi groups operating in the
generally lawless southern Philippines. Besides the presence of Abu Sayyaf in
the Sulu Archipelago, there is also the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in
Mindanao province to contend with. Current worries about the possibility of
ISIS establishing a foothold in the Philippines has increased the imperative to
bring order to the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea.  Although
this sea has always been a rather lawless area, due to the presence of grinding
poverty on its shores and the absent of effective government, the recent
upsurge in violence has become more apparent recently.15

 

            RMN
may utilize the media social to get the survey on this topic, to identify and
see how Malaysian or netizens response to the
planning for RMN development focus on the regional security or budget ?  RMN may tape an ideas from publics as they also
the taxpayers the financial source of project funding RMN Plan 15 to 5
programme. The survey analysis may be provide some new input how or the best
way how to tackle the financial.  Social
media provide the public’s venue for RMN do more with less in protecting
Malaysia ‘s National interest.

 

            The
current security issues especially in Sabah Water create fear and security
dilemma among the tourists to visit Malaysia and Sabah in particular. This
social security dilemma jeopardizes the amount of tourist visit Sabah
especially the Scuba and Diving activities in the Resort island in Sabah water.
To address it, the conduct of sea patrol in the area very crucial and required
the sufficient amount of assets to cover large area and extended duration of
asset availabilities at sea. The social support from the publics to response to
the security and regional threat are critical for the government not seen to
focus more on defence sector rather than balance budget as previous Malaysian
Five Year Plan and Yearly Fiscal Budget. The input and social response will
influence the government decision and budget approval on RMN acquisition plan
especially RMN Transformation 15 to 5 Plan.

 

Technology

 

The current RMN fleet aging,
some ship more than 30 to 53 years in services. The RMN have difficulties to
operate and maintain an aging ship. Most of the technologies from Fire control
and management system, ship power monitoring system and other system onboard
are from 70s and 80s technologies. The spare obsolescent and not produce in
market due to company close down. The old technologies required more time in
combat management system and ship power and monitoring system, required a lot
of time for commander make decision. Being a small navy, the RMN needs to
evolve to remain relevant.  It has to create a credible force encompassing
an integrated system of ships, aircraft, submarines and well trained personnel,
but resource are increasingly scarce.  To stay ahead, the RMN has to do
more with less.  In other words, one of the RMN challenges is to stay
ahead by achieving improvement through the application of creative and
innovative solutions and making all round improvements continuously.  The
other challenges are the need to adopt technological advancement, continuous
upgrading of the existing fleet to ensure the highest state of readiness and
effectiveness and achieving synergy in the future warfare scenario.  The
procurement of new technologies and upgrading of its asset must parallel with
the environmental friendly requirements.

 

The
rapids and robustness of defence technologies development, will let the RMN
stay behind. The increasing of operation and maintaining  cost will the current economic situation
demand the RMN do more with less asset. The RMN asset pull the socks till the
last drop of her endurance both machine, human and logistic. The fatigues and
ship condition deteriorate as wear and tear and technologically aging.

 

The
availabilities of modern technologies require less human power, user friends
and more automations solution data produce. To acquire it require financial
budget from the government and special allocation prior an approval. The
current technologies like Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Night Vision
Binocular and other detection equipment very critical in addressing tranborder
crimes such as sea robberies, kidnapping and 
illegal immigrants. The RMN need new the platform fitted with such
equipment to have efficient sea patrol.

 

Environment

 

Taking into consideration
the multifaceted nature of today’s security dynamic, Malaysia, as a maritime
nation, is facing various challenges. We are currently putting great efforts
into ensuring the security of the Eastern Seaboard of Sabah from the threats of
kidnapping-for-ransom and particularly in the Sulu Sea area and South China Sea
area we are focusing on possible conflict surrounding disputed
territories. 16 
Nonetheless, security and safety in the busiest strait in this region – and
maybe the world – the Straits of Malacca, is our main concern. In dealing with
this challenge, business shall not be as usual. The Navy needs to be more
innovative in its operational conduct in order to safeguard the sovereignty of
the country.17

 

Indonesia, Malaysia and the
Philippines have been successful in establishing trinational agreements among
each other to enhance security cooperation in the Celebes Sea, however these
have lacked sufficient scope and depth to address the current terrorist and
piracy threats in the Celebes Sea region. This lack of security cooperation is
mainly due to these nations’ historical mistrust of each other’s national
interests, domestic political challenges and limited force projection and
interagency capabilities.18
 Trilateral Maritime Patrolling (TMP) a
good move and joint maritime patrol among three country maritime border in both
Celebes Sea and Sulu Sea Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippine.  The idea muted thru the successful of Malacca
Straits Maritime Patrol among the four neighbour namely Indonesia, Malaysia,
Thailand and Singapore within the designated patrol area to combat the sea
robberies and piracies. TMP spirit and objectives are to combat the transborder
crimes, kidnapping for ransom, illegal immigrants and etc.

 

The RMN has a strong sense
of commitment in upholding the community values of Malaysia, thus naval
operations are properly planned as to suite the environmental stewardship in
order to preserve it for future generations and therefore, will give the RMN a
fine record.  It appears that there were operational benefits from sound
environmental practices and the RMN is slowly to adopt this concept. The
design of RMN ship need to take account to protect the environment and roles
model. The dirty oil storage inside skid tank and transfer into dirty oil bulk on
arrival at jetty. RMN ship also carry out environment protection duty by
reporting and investigation of any merchant illegal dirty oils pumping into
sea. The RMN is to ensure that naval operations are undertaken by sustainable
methods as to preserve the environment for future generations.

 

Legal

 

            The
data collection and proof of any case brought to the court required a solid and
clear proof to defence or prosecute the case in court. The legal issue very
technical in nature and the proof much be valid enough to produce the case
prima facie. The commander on ground required all this data collection and
recording facilities both day and night capabilities.

 

Publicized
the RMN roles, function and what we doing at sea very important. The Malaysian
taxpayers need to knows how RMN spent their taxation as a guarantee of every
Ringgit spent worth and wisely use. An analysis of these recent procurements as well as the
larger ’15 to 5 Transformation Program’ suggest that RMN 15 to 5 strategic
direction as of now is focused less on ‘big ticket’ purchases designed for
conventional forms of blue-water control, but rather cheaper, faster, and more
lightly armed patrol vessels more equipped to deal with immediate security
challenges in Malaysia’s littoral regions19.

 

CONCLUSION

 

            RMN development need to focus on
both regional security and budget. The regional security threat and challenges
that RMN address now require RMN plan it operation area and tempo within the
approval budget from the government. The current financial government not in
favour to RMN to acquire new asset without government endorsement and approval.
Both security and budget compliments each others. However based on the data and cost
provide, the current operating and maintaining cost of RMN asset will be
increase between five to ten percent annually.

 

            RMN
Transformation 15 to 5 plan will surely reduce the financial budget to RMN and
government for next thirty to fifty year to come. The plan and government
agreement and endorsed hoping to materialization of RMN plan if the Malaysia
economic going will for the year to come. RMN appreciate and thankful for the
good leadership of the government on approval the special budget from varies
sources and method including private and government link company to finance the
RMN dream and vision.