Sunday, May 23, 2004

At least three RMN ships to patrol Melaka Straits, says Navy Chief

KOTA TINGGI May 22 - The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) will deploy at least three ships at all times to patrol the Melaka Straits to ensure the busy waterway is safe to all passing ships.

The Chief of Navy, Admiral Datuk Seri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor said the presence of the RMN ships would help to deter sea piracy and smuggling activities.

"On the minimum, we will deploy three ships to patrol the straits at all times. We are also involved in other operations," he told reporters after the passing-out parade of RMN recruits at at Pularek, Tanjung Pengelih, here Saturday.

Mohd Anwar said the RMN also deployed its assets to patrol 24 hours the waters off Pulau Batu Putih, the rocky island claimed by Singapore.

The RMN ships were also involved in patrolling the country's waters in the South China Sea to prevent illegal fishing by foreign trawlers, he said.

Mohd Anwar said the RMN was also ensuring Pulau Perak in Kedah and Pulau Jarak near Pulau Pangkor in Perak free of illegal activities with 24-hour patrols.

On "Ops Pasir" in waters of Sabah's east coast, he said that at least four ships were deployed together with four assault CB-90 craft.

"There must be a RMN presence to deter smuggling activities and piracy," he said of the operations which also involved the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft and assault Rover craft from the army.

He also said the RMN had plans to increase its fleet of F2000 frigates from two to six to form a full frigate squadron.

The existing frigates "KD Lekiu" and "KD Lekir" were bought from Britain at over RM1 billion.