Hishamuddin: Expand bilateral relationship to include sharing of military assets

Malaysian Minister of Defence Dato' Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein calling on Singaporean Prime Minister Brig. Gen. (NS) Lee Hsien Loong 13 Feb 2014

Malaysian Minister of Defence Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein calling on Singaporean Prime Minister Brig. Gen. (NS) Lee Hsien Loong 13 Feb 2014

Minister of Defence Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein expressed the need for much closer working relationship between ATM and Singapore Armed Forces, in the tune of smart partnership such as sharing of military assets and common platforms, on top of frequent and more comprehensive joint exercises and programs.

NST story

13 February 2014| last updated at 07:29PM

Malaysia and Singapore bilateral relationship needs expansion: Hishammuddin

By Rizalman Hammim | news#nst.com.my
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SINGAPORE: The bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is currently at an all time high but there is a need for the relationship to be expanded to other fields.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the two countries have a very good relationship in fields like the economy but both countries need to expand such relationship to other fields like security and defence.

“During my visit here, I have had meetings with a number of Singapore leaders including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. During the meeting with Lee, I am glad to hear that both countries are on the same page on many matters,” said Hishammuddin, who was in the republic to attend the Singapore Airshow 2014.

He said in the field of security, Malaysia and Singapore need to increase the smart partnership in the sharing of assets in the effort to prevent excessive expenditure by both countries.

“Both countries face similar threats, namely terrorism and militancy but the biggest threat to our security and safety is natural disaster. There is no need for us to spend money on assets that might be overlapping,” said Hishammuddin.

He said the military of Malaysia and Singapore also need to enhance their cooperation by undergoing more joint exercises and training, as well as developing the defence industry in both countries.

Hishammuddin was speaking to the media after visiting the Bukit Chandu Memorial which memorialise the sacrifice of Lt Adnan Saidi during World War 2. Today is the eve of Adnan’s death on February 14, 1942.

Also present was the Army’s field commander Lt General Datuk Seri Zulkepli Kassim.

The bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is currently at an all time high but there is a need for the relationship to be expanded to other fields, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said. Pix by Zulkarnain Ahmad Tajuddin

Read more: Malaysia and Singapore bilateral relationship needs expansion: Hishammuddin – Latest – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/latest/malaysia-and-singapore-bilateral-relationship-needs-expansion-hishammuddin-1.483387#ixzz2tEUP1WKq

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In principle, the call is an extension of the existing formidable and very cordial diplomatic and bilateral relationship. Trade between the two nations which once were part of Federation of Malaysia is growing and more and more GLC co-operation in joint development programs are being initiated and rolled out.

Temasek is partnering with Khazanah to develop projects within Marina new central business district, as result of the redevelopment program of former KTM land in Tanjung Pagar. Also in various investment opportunities arisen from the mega-development corridor economic plan within Iskandar Malaysia, RAPID and Johor Bahru CBD, which include the extension of MRT line from Woodlands.

In terms of security, the Royal Malaysian Police has established a very good working relationship and sharing of information and intelligence materials with the Singaporean Police and Internal Security Department, in areas such terrorism, extremism and militancy due to religious devotion. The co-operation is reflective with the arrest of South East Asian most wanted terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari near Johor Bahru on 1 April 2009 after he managed to escape from ISA detention on 27 February 2008.

Channel News Asia story:

Singapore and Malaysia to strengthen bilateral defence relations

 

Singapore and Malaysia have reaffirmed the longstanding defence relationship between the two countries and agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (3rd-R) had a meeting with and hosted Malaysian Defence Minister Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (4th-R) to dinner on Monday evening. (Photo: MINDEF)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia have reaffirmed the longstanding defence relationship between the two countries and agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein held discussions on Monday evening at a dinner hosted by Dr Ng.

Mr Hishammuddin is in Singapore from Monday to Thursday, and will visit the Singapore Airshow 2014 on Tuesday.

During his visit, Mr Hishammuddin will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and meet with Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam and Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew.

MINDEF said Mr Hishammuddin’s visit underscores the warm defence and bilateral ties between Singapore and Malaysia.

The Singapore Armed Forces and the MAF share a long history of cooperation, and interact regularly through bilateral exercises such as the Land Exercise Semangat Bersatu and the Naval Exercise Malapura.

– CNA/gn

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However, it is rather unusual for Hishamuddin making the call in the context and perspective of defence and military. It is because the SAF is superior in terms of access to wide range of quality and potency of assets, skills and availability of resources to support the comprehensive military system from the defence doctrine adopted and applied in Singapore for the past 45 years.

RSAF G550 AEW/C, capable of very serious surveillance and ability to continue flying for more than 12 hours

RSAF is operating 24 F15SG air superiority fighters, 52 F16C/D multirole combat aircrafts, 4 KC135 and 6 KC130 air refueling tankers, 4 G550 AEW/C airborne early warning and command aircrafts, on top 20 AH64D Longbow anti-tank assault helicopters and streams of CH47 Chinooks, Super Pumas and Cougars utility helicopters. RSN is operating 6 submarines, 6 Lafayette Class frigates, 6 corvettes, 12 patrol vessels and 6 missile gunboats. There are 4 amphibious transport docks (LPDs).

This is not withstanding the availability and utility of UAVs.

Endurance Class LPDs in service of RSN. Able to carry half a battalion of combat troops, weapons, MIFVs and trucks anywhere in the world

It terms of assets and military platforms, it is likely Malaysia would gain more in the ‘asset sharing’ co-operation as compared to Singapore. At this point of time, it is unsure how the Singaporeans would receive Hishamuddin’s call. More importantly, how would the ‘asset sharing’ co-operation would be implemented.

Currently, Malaysia has been very accommodating towards RSAF use of Malaysian airspace for take off and landing approach, particularly for the Tengah Air Base which is located at the north west part of the Singapore island.

Singapore also enjoys preferential military co-operation and standing with US and Australian Armed Forces. The Changi Naval Base is a major US Navy base in South East Asia region.

Minsiter of Defence Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein greeted by the Commander of US Navy Pacific Fleet Command in Pearl Harbour Adm Harry Harris Jr., accompanied by Director General of Military Intelligence Lt Gen Dato’ Abdul Hadi Abdullah

Unless Hishamuddin is making the announcement as part of Malaysia’s strategic partnership in military relationship and co-operation with US and Australian Armed Forces, either directly or indirectly (for example via Singapore). In his recent visit to US Navy Pacific Fleet Command in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, Hishamuddin announced closer maritime co-operations with US Navy and US Marines Corp.

NST story:

18 January 2014| last updated at 12:21AM

Malaysia, US to strengthen maritime ties

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and the United States are ready to strengthen the maritime abilities of the Malaysian Armed Forces by using the US Marine Corps model, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said.

In a recent meeting with US Marine commander General Terry Robling, Hishammuddin discussed how both countries could realise plans to strengthen their maritime abilities.

“I have invited US Maritime specialists to Malaysia for further discussions.

“I believe this will help our armed forces in the future,” Hishammuddin said during a visit to the marine war training centre in Kananoke, Hawaii.

Hishammuddin was on a working visit to Hawaii from Jan 11 to 16 before heading to Washington and New York.

He also met Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr, Commander, Pacific Air Forces General Herbert J. Carlisle and Commanding General of US Army Pacific General Vincent K. Brooks during his visit to United States Pacific Command (USPACOM).

At the meeting issues related to stability and safety around borders, especially involving terrorists, gun smugglers and human trafficking, were discussed.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (centre) with USS Lake Erie commanding officer Captain John S. Baringan (left) during a visit to United States Pacific Command in Hawaii yesterday.

Read more: Malaysia, US to strengthen maritime ties – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/malaysia-us-to-strengthen-maritime-ties-1.464986#ixzz2tErkWqYr

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There is a more probable strategic initiative of smart partnership for military relationship and co-operation in region. This could be a precursor to an initiative for a Commonwealth Military Co-operation and the possibility of Commonwealth Armed Forces in South East Asia particularly around the South East Asia rim.

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei are Commonwealth cousins, where Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are nations within the neighbourhood. Coupled with United Kingdom and Canada, the Commonwealth Military Co-operation to flex the ‘brotherhood muscle’ in the region and the strategic initiative to keep the most important waterway in the world free from probable threats.

The attitude towards greater military co-operation with the US Armed Forces has already been paved from Hishamuddin’s announcement of the establishment of USMC base in Bintulu.

The Diplomat story:

Malaysia to Establish Marine Corps and South China Sea Naval Base

Malaysia’s Navy has announced it is creating a Marine Corps force and naval base at Bintulu.

zachary-keck_q
October 19, 2013

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is creating a marine corps and establishing a new naval base in the South China Sea near waters it disputes with China, IHS Jane’s reported this week, citing a press release from Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

According to the defense minister’s statement, the new naval base will be built in Bintulu on the South China Sea (SCS) for the explicit purpose of protecting nearby waters and oil reserves. As Jane’s points out, however, the base will be located just 60 miles from the James Shoal, an area in the South China Sea claimed by both Malaysia and China.

Back in March a PLA amphibious task force conducted a large naval exercise in the James Shoal.

“It is not just a few ships here and there, but a crack amphibious landing ship carrying marines and hovercraft and backed by some of the best escort ships in the PLAN fleet,” Gary Li, a senior analyst with IHS Fairplay,told Asian Correspondent at the time.

“We’ve never seen anything like this that far south in terms of quantity or quality … it is hard to know whether it is just coincidence, but it does seem to reflect [President] Xi Jinping’s desire for more practical operationally based exercises,” Li added.

IHS Jane’s said that establishment of the Marine Corps will be partly used to deal with Sulu militants who have caused unrest in Sabah in eastern Malaysia. The Marine Corps will be drawn from Malaysia’s existing services as the overall size of the armed forces is capped. It has not been determined which of the services the Marine Corps will fall under.

IHS Jane’s said that Malaysia will rely on the expertise of the U.S. Marines Corps (USMC) to help develop the new Marine force.

“Malaysia is keen to draw on the USMC’s expertise and has been in discussions with the United States (US) over support, training and expertise exchange,” the report said.

Initially, the Malaysian marine corps will lack an amphibious naval platform as the RMN’s only amphibious ship, the Newport-class landing ship-tank KD Sri Inderapura, was destroyed in a fire in 2009. It is currently in discussions with both France and South Korea over acquiring a landing platform deck (LPD). The U.S. has also offered Malaysia the LPD USS Denver after it decommissions it in 2014. U.S.-based defense companies are also discussing selling Malaysia the AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopters.

Malaysia’s decision to establish a naval base in the South China Sea is in line with other Southeast Asian nations that are locked in territorial disputes with China over the waters. As The Diplomat reported last week, the Philippines is creating a new naval base on Oyster Bay, Palawan Island. Vietnam is similarlyexpanding its Cam Ranh Bay naval base and offering foreign navies greater access to it.

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Jane’s Defense Weekly story:

Military Capabilities

Malaysia to establish marine corps, naval base close to James Shoal

Dzirhan Mahadzir, Kuala Lumpur – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
15 October 2013

Malaysia’s 8th Royal Ranger (para) battalion practice beach landings on Nenasi Beach, Pahang state, Peninsular Malaysia, with the US Marine Corps during CARAT Malaysia in June 2013. Source: Dzirhan Mahadzir

Malaysia is to set up a marine corps and establish a naval base close to waters claimed by China, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement on 10 October.

According to the statement, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base will be established at Bintulu on the South China Sea (SCS) to protect the surrounding area and oil reserves.

Unstated by the minister is the base’s proximity to James Shoal, which is 60 n miles away and was the location for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercises on 26 March that were the most recent example of China asserting its claims to most of the SCS.

Hishammuddin’s description of the marine force only states that it will be established for amphibious operations, drawn from all three services and essential for security in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, where Sulu militants staged an incursion in February that was subsequently repelled by a military operation.

The statement did not give any further details but IHS Jane’s understands that the marine corps proposal was planned before the Sulu incursion but has since been prioritised.

While the marines will be drawn from all three services, the bulk is expected to be drawn from one of the three parachute battalions of the 10th Parachute brigade, which will be redesignated as a marine battalion.

The 9th Royal Malay Regiment (para) and 8th Royal Ranger Regiment (para) have both conducted amphibious warfare training as a secondary mission, most recently in June during the CARAT exercise with the US Marine Corps (USMC) and subsequently in an amphibious landing exercise with French troops and the landing platform dock FNS Tonnerre .

The marines will be drawn from existing personnel because of a government cap on the number of armed forces personnel allowed on active duty.

The Ministry of Defence is yet to decide whether marines will fall under Malaysian Army or Royal Malaysian Navy control. Initial plans call for the unit to be an independent force under the control of the Malaysian Joint Force Headquarters until operational experience determines which service is better suited.

Malaysia is keen to draw on the USMC’s expertise and has been in discussions with the United States (US) over support, training and expertise exchange. Malaysia has been without an amphibious naval platform since the loss of Newport-class landing ship-tank KD Sri Inderapura in an October 2009 fire.

Plans to obtain an LPD, with France offering a downsized Mistral design and South Korea offering a downsized Dokdo design, have been stalled due to budgetary constraints. The US has offered the LPD USS Denver , scheduled to be decommissioned from US service in 2014, to Malaysia on a hot transfer along with some equipment, which likely includes AAV-7 amphibious vehicles.

The US would welcome Malaysia’s establishment of a marine force as current Pentagon regulations restrict the USMC to conducting exchanges and training with marine units of non-US treaty ally nations – an exception being in the case of multiservice exercises such as CARAT. Likewise, Malaysia has been keen to further develop joint amphibious training exercises and exchanges with the US but has been hampered by the absence of a marine force.

Other than equipment for the marines, the US has offered Malaysia surplus equipment from operations in Afghanistan, including infantry weapons and sights, night-vision goggles and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

The US is also offering the AH-1Z Super Cobra to meet Malaysia’s requirement for an attack helicopter. While Boeing has been marketing the AH-64 Apache, the prospect of a purchase by Kuala Lumpur is unlikely due to Malaysia’s disinclination to buy key military equipment in service with its neighbours: the Apache is in service with Singapore and on order by Indonesia.

France has been marketing the Eurocopter EC 665 Tiger for the same requirement and hopes to leverage the French Army’s long-time assistance in training the Malaysian Army Air Corps.

Hishammuddin’s announcement of a new naval base at Bintulu follows a number of unpublicised incursions by Chinese naval and maritime surveillance forces into Malaysian waters off East Malaysia and the Malaysian portion of the Spratly Islands.

Unlike Vietnam or the Philippines, Malaysia does not make public such occurrences to avoid jeopardising its strong economic ties with China. China’s activities in its near waters are of concern to Kuala Lumpur, however, which has stepped up naval patrols in the area.

The RMN is hampered by its small fleet and the need to maintain a strong naval presence off Sabah to discourage further intrusions by Sulu militants. In this light, another portion of Hishammuddin’s statement – that the first in class of the Second Generation Patrol Vessel – Littoral Combat Ship (SGPV-LCS) programme will start operations in 2018, gains greater importance.

Six of the SGPV-LCS corvette-class ships, which are based on the DCNS Gowind corvette family, are to be built by Boustead Naval Shipyard. Construction is expected to begin in 2014.

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And the press release on his recent visit to US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.

IMMEDIATE RELEASERelease No: NR-037-14
January 17, 2014

Readout of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s Meeting with Malaysian Minister of Defense Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein

Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein today at the Pentagon.

Secretary Hagel underscored the U.S. commitment to deepening ties to Malaysia.  The two leaders discussed a range of international security issues, including Afghanistan, North Korea, and the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in addressing regional security challenges.

Malaysia is an important partner in Southeast Asia that is making valuable contributions to international security both on its own and in partnership with ASEAN.  Secretary Hagel praised Malaysia’s leadership in Southeast Asia.

The secretary and the minister also talked about ways to enhance the defense relationship between the United States and Malaysia, including by enhancing bilateral exercise and training opportunities and exploring expanded defense trade cooperation.

The two leaders looked forward to meeting again at the upcoming U.S.-ASEAN informal meeting in Hawaii in April.

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This military co-operation could be an extension of the Malaysian foreign policy. The need for this to likely be redressed with more involvement of military co-operation arisen from China PLA’s more aggressive moves to display their military might, in the psychology war for their claims of the imaginary and unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line in South China Sea.

ASEAN EEZ Vs China's claims over South China Sea with the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line

ASEAN EEZ Vs China’s claims over South China Sea with the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line

China also demonstrated their blatant disregard to respect the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and the Document of Conduct which she inked.

Hishamuddin and his entourage reciting the doa for the 146 gallant warriors of 1 FMR. 13 Feb 2014

Minsiter of Defence Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and his entourage reciting the doa for the 146 gallant warriors of 1 and 2 FMR at the foyer of the Bukit Chandu Memorial, 13 Feb 2014

It is very refreshing that Hishamuddin as Minister of Defence paid tribute and homage to the 146 gallant warriors of 1 and 2 Federated Malay Regiment who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending the Pasir Panjang Line between 12-14 February 1942 with the final battle at Point 226, commonly known as Bukit Chandu.

Doa untuk pejuang bangsa: (dari kiri) Birg Gen Rahim, Jen Tan Sri Zaulkifli, Dato' Seri Zahid, Dato' Dr Latif dan wakil Kelab RAMD

Doa for gallant warriors:  Minister of Defence Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leading the doa at Bukit Chandu Memorial (from l to r) Brig Gen Rahim, Cihief of Defense Forces Jen Tan Sri Zaulkifli, Deputy Minister Dato’ Dr Latif Ahmad and representative of Kelab RAMD. 14 Feb 2012

He is the second Minister of Defence to remember Lt Adnan Saidi and the gallant men of 1 and 2 FMR during the commemoration for their heroic defense of the Pasir Panjang Line and tragic defeat. This is reflective of the Malaysian Government attitude in honouring gallant warriors and servicemen killed or wounded for the nation.

Bronze statue depicting three men of 1 Malay manning a field mortar

Bronze statue at the Bukit Chandu Memorial depicting three men of 1 Malay manning a field mortar

Published in: on February 14, 2014 at 17:30  Comments (48)