1. INTRODUCTION The complexity and uncertainchallenges require the RMN to be able to respond quickly tailored to Malaysia’sNational Defence Policy (NDP). Thus, the RMN must be flexible and needs abalanced fleet between East and West which offers credible options forCommanders to make best decisions.
At the same time, operational demands andmaritime security challenges are on increasing trend. Should the planning forRMN development focus based on regional security or budget? A thorough study mustbe conducted to decide which is the most importance. Many aspects of dimensionand requirement need to be carefully studied before a simple decision can bemade.
A simple decision that carry the weight of a country. It is because oftoday’s decision will cost the future of RMN. Thus, the top management need toconsider a lot of factor before any decision can be made. Malaysia NDP indicated therequirement that MAF need to adhere. RMN as part of the MAF play an importancerole to support the NDP.
The development in RMN assets were strategically navigatedto meet all these requirements. The regional security of the SEA country knownwith a lot of cases. Many security issues related with our country such aspiracy, cross border crime, humane trafficking and etc attracted attention offoreign country like United State of America. Overlapping claim of disputedarea between bordering country also put our security force in a wary state.Realising the military capability of our neighbours will give us some awarenessof the MAF capability.
Can we defence our country with our current state? If sohow long can we keep the status quo? What is the future planning? 2. DISCUSSION Based on Malaysia’s NDP Chapter 71: Defence Funding, Adefence allocation based on the country’s financial capability is needed toensure that the MAF continues to be able to meet any challenges againstnational interests. In order to achieve the desired effectiveness, decisions ondefence allocation are made based on the following principles: a. Affordability TheGovernment recognizes defence as an important function of governance.Notwithstanding this the defence sector is capital-intensive and meeting itsrequirements depends on national funding ability.
The principle ofaffordability is the basic consideration for deciding on the types of assets tobe acquired and projects to be implemented. b. Allocation not basedon GDP Theallocation for the defence sector is not based on certain fixed percentages inthe national budget but on priorities and national funding availability. In theinterest of transparency all details of the defence sector allocation is debatedin Parliament during the tabling of the Supply Bill. Both the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) and the Dewan Negara (Senate) debate the defenceallocation prior to its approval. In the process of determining thefuture of our defence capability, we must know what is the principles we mustadhered. The fundamental principles of defence are as follow: a.
Self-Reliance. b. Total Defense(HANRUH). c. Commitment towardsthe Five Power Defense Arrangement.
d. Support for theUnited Nations’ efforts towards universal peace. e. Counterterrorismmeasures. f. Defense Diplomacy. As stated in our NDP, the explanationof each fundamental principles of defence are as follow: a. Self-Reliance.
Malaysiamust depend on its own resources and capabilities to safeguard its sovereignty, independence andterritorial integrity. Hence, the MAF must possess the ability to respond toany enemy military hostility. This ability also encompasses logistics support,human resources and defence industry. Therefore, the development of a viabledefence industry and the presence of defence science and research institutionare critical. b.
Total Defence (HANRUH). Totaland integrated defence involves many government agencies, the private sector,NGOs and the citizenry in all circumstances. National defence is not the soleresponsibility of the MAF but the responsibility of all levels of society. Allparties should know the role and contribution that they could play in times ofdisaster and conflict. National defence has to be based on self-confidence andnot depending on external parties. Within this context patriotism and nationalismamong Malaysians always need to be nurtured and with the realisation thatnational prosperity and peace override individual needs and political ideology. c. Commitment Towards The Five PowerDefence Arrangement.
Malaysia views the FPDA as a “safetynet” should events outside the capability of the MAF occur. Besides Malaysia,the other FPDA members are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and UnitedKingdom. The FPDA is the only multilateral defence cooperation which Malaysiahas been a member of since 1971.
Although it remains untested at war orconflict, the FPDA is an effective conflict management tool and has contributedtowards MAF’s development and enhancement of its professionalism. d. Supporting The United Nations’Efforts Towards Global Peace. Malaysia fullysupports the effort of the UN and the international community to preserveuniversal peace and security.
Malaysia has adopted a proactive approach inaddressing global issues in line with its foreign policy. Malaysia’sinvolvement under the UN’s banners started in 1960 in Congo. Now Malaysia isactively involved in UN Peacekeeping operations as Military Observers,Battalion Group, Headquarters Staff Group and UN Technical. MAF’s involvementin UN missions is not restricted to peacekeeping only but also peace enforcementand humanitarian assistance duties. Malaysia is a party to the UN StandbyArrangements 1996 and as stipulated in the arrangement, party shall have aninfantry battalion on standby for deployment under the UN if necessary. Up tonow more than 25,000 MAF members have been involved in UN operations. Malaysiais fully supportive of the various treaties and conventions on global armscontrol and disarmament regime. As a party to the NPT and CTBT Malaysiaobserves the ban on all forms explosions and testing with a view for a totalban of such activities.
Malaysia’scommitment is in line with the spirit of the Southeast Asia Nuclear WeaponsFree Zone (SEANWFZ) which came into force in March 1997.Malaysia also supportsthe ban on the manufacture, development and stockpiling of biological andchemical weapons in line with the Convention on the Prohibition of theDevelopment, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) andToxin Weapons and on their Destruction 1972 and the Convention on the Prohibitionof the Development, Production and Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons andon their Destruction 1993. Additionally, Malaysia has taken the steps to banthe use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines uponratifying the Convention on the Prohibition of Use, Stockpiling and transfer ofAnti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) in April1999. Subsequently this was followed by the gazettement of the Anti-PersonnelMines Convention Implementation Act 2000 and the destruction of anti-personnelmines stock in 2001. e. Counter Measures Against Terrorism.Terrorism remains a critical security issue for Malaysia.The transboundary activities of terrorist groups involve a variety of ethnicgroups and nationalities.
Therefore, any country could potentially be thecentre for terrorist activities. Malaysia is confident that comprehensiveactions at all levels are important to address and counter terrorism in itsinfancy. f. Defence Diplomacy.
Malaysiarecognizes defence diplomacy as an important effort towards conflict preventionand escalation which could undermine peace and stability. Among the stepstowards this are confidence building measures, transparency, construction ofpositive norms and establishment of channels of communication. These effortsare implemented through joint exercises, information sharing, senior officers’visits, exchange of officers and the provision of military education andtraining facilities.
Malaysia employs the defence diplomacy approach throughbilateral and multilateral defence cooperation: (1) Bilateralism. There are manysimilarities between Malaysia’s strategic interests and that of the othercountries in the region. As such Malaysia’s defence is closely linked todevelopments in the regional security environment.
Any regional geostrategicshifts could impact Malaysia’s defence as any breakout of military conflict,humanitarian disaster or socio-economic problem could spread to Malaysia’sboundaries. The principal aim of defence diplomacy is to maintain good relationswith countries in the region especially members of ASEAN and to improvecooperation as a means of ensuring security and stability. Malaysia will alsocontinue to enhance defence diplomacy efforts with extra-regional countriesthrough constructive defence engagements. Among the efforts made to enhancediplomacy is the provision of opportunities for foreign military personnel toattend courses in Malaysia through the Malaysian Defence Cooperation Programme(MDCP). (2) Multilateralism. Multilateral defencecooperation is an important principle in establishing and enhancing regionalcooperation in the interest of peace and stability. It is now viewed as animportant avenue for addressing common issues while promoting transparency inthe region. Malaysia has adopted multilateral cooperation as an approach thatcomplements existing bilateral arrangements.
Within this context Malaysia iscommitted to its involvement in two existing multilateral forums namely ASEANand ARF. Malaysia’s involvement in ASEAN and ARF is important as both forumsare intended to ensure a peaceful and dynamic Southeast Asia. At the ASEAN level,the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting is being enhanced by taking into accountother efforts including relations with non-ASEAN countries.The ARF encompasses three levels i.e. confidence building measures, preventivediplomacy and conflict resolution as the basis for multilateral cooperation. Militarycapability can be measured through a few factors such as the equipment orassets available in the inventory of certain military establishment. Nowadays,the advancement of technology makes a lot of differences between a countrymilitary capability.
Previously the military capability of a country can be determiningby the number of military personnel they have. This statement become irrelevantsince the advancement of technology in weaponry field. Modern technology cangive an edge to any country who have the most modern and sophisticated weaponand assets in their inventory. For example, Singapore compare with Malaysia.From the aspect of man power Malaysia still superior than Singapore but if wecompare with their military assets the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is moresuperior. According to Felix Heiduk (2017),Malaysia’s 2015 defence budget was $5.
3 billion. Since 2005 Kuala Lumpur hasthus increased its military spending by about 15 percent in absolute terms. Its2015 military expenditure represents 1.5 percent of GDP and has thus markedlydropped since 2005 (2.2 percent of GDP). Two external threats to its securityin 2013 and 2014 revealed gaps in the armed forces’ capacities, triggering adomestic discussion about the need to modernize or expand, especially the airforce and navy. In 2013 a militant group from the southern Philippines enteredthe Malaysian federal state of Sabah, which covers the northern part of theisland of Borneo.
The few badly equipped Malaysian forces stationed in Sabah wereunable to repel this ‘invasion’ for some time. Like Vietnam and thePhilippines, Malaysia is also in conflict with China over who has sovereigntyover a number of reefs and islands, as well as the delimitation of its EEZs inthe South China Sea.33 Since 2013 Chinese fishing and coast-guard vessels haverepeatedly entered waters claimed by Malaysia. China held a manoeuvre at seanear the James Shoal, which Malaysia also considers part of its territory.These intrusions were forcefully condemned by the Malaysian defence minister,and led to calls for the defence budget to be raised and for the navy and airforce in particular to be modernized.2 In those history lesson, we learnthat many incidents that occurred due to our lack of readiness.
Perhaps that iswhat other country think about Malaysia. Nonetheless, our country still managesto survive and manage to overcome the obstacle. The key to survival isadaptation. Thus, it is very important for us to remain calm and make the rightdecisions in order to save guard our national security. Throughout the RoyalMalaysian Navy (RMN) history from the beginning of establishment of the Straits Settlement Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve(SSRNVR) in Singapore on 27 April 1934 by the British colonialgovernment in Singapore until today, RMN had gone through a lot ofchallenges.
The establishment of RMN nowadays are a proof of its adaptabilityto meet the challenges in order to survive the obstacles. Challenges may comein many forms. However, it can be divided into two which are internal andexternal. The internal challenges for RMN is regarding matters that causeproblem or obstacles. It can vary from human power, management, fund and etc.Whilst the external challenges are the matters related to job performances ofRMN as a part or the Malaysian Arm Forces to protect the Malaysia’ssovereignty. RMN existence are very important toMalaysia as part of the defence forces.
As a military body, RMN play many rolesduring peacetime and wartime. History of RMN had stated many events involvingcontribution made by RMN during World War II, Communist Era, Fighting Piracy atGulf of Aden, SAR of MH 370, Lahad Datu Incursion and etc. All these eventstaken place within or outside our country and left witnesses who observed RMNcontribution during peacetime and wartime. All these missions were impossibleto complete but RMN made it possible with the man power and required assetsprovided. ”And prepare against them whatever you are able of power andof steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy andothers besides them whom you do not know but whom Allah knows.
And whateveryou spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will notbe wronged (Al-Quran, Surah Al-Anfal, verse 60)”3. From the Islamic perspective, Allah had order for us tomake preparation for war and spend our fund towards it. The verse explains tous how important it is to prepare for war and allocate our fund for thatparticular purposes. However, the challenges that pose to RMN especially andMAF generally are budget allocation for military expenditure. These phenomenaappear and affect all aspect of military especially RMN. The advancement oftechnology, globalization, neighbouring country issues, country’s economycondition, political issues are a few of the factor that contribute to thechallenges faced by RMN.
The responsibility and ability to absorb and counterthe challenges fall on the shoulder of The Navy People. Each and everyone inthis service play an important role in ensuring that RMN can survive all thechallenges. Thisarticle will discuss about the future planning of RMN, whether RMN planningdevelopment has to focus based on regional security or budget allocation. Historyhad recorded that RMN used to be a fearsome Navy in South East Asia regionduring the 1970s.
During theconfrontation era Malaysia Arm Forces had expand its capability due to thenecessity to defend our country from outside threats. RMN during that time werealso get an expansion of its inventory of assets. Many ships and boats wereprocured to support the requirement of defending the country.
During that timesafety and security of the nation become the top priority. Although Malaysia atthat time was still a young country who just received its independent in 1957,the nationality spirit among the citizen of Malaysia at that time defy theboundary of races and religion. Learning from the bitter lesson ofcolonization, all Malaysian stand together to protect its sovereignty.
In those days, Military Expenditure were given toppriority due to the threats presents. However, we are currently living in apeace and tranquil country. Threats are not visible to people’s naked eye. Incertain cases, the civilian sometime question what is the function military?Why do they exist? What are their purposes? Many question came up from peoplewho does not understand the important of military role in a country. Althoughwe are currently living in a peaceful country, it does not mean that the threatwould not surface or our enemy has become our allies and our country willremain as a peaceful country forever and ever. Fairy tale does not always hasgood ending.
By studying the history of war and genocide incident that occurredin other country for instance Palestine and Israel, we can understand that evenif we provide assistance to other people like our neighbour it does mean thatthey will become our friend forever. History of other country had though us well.It is up to us to take the necessary step to gain knowledge and avoid anyfuture damage to our country. Malaysia geographic feature of maritime area are dividedin a few seas namely the Straits of Malacca, Straits of Singapore, South ChinaSea, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea. All this area is shared and bordered with theneighbouring countries.
This geographical factor become a challenge to RMN inorder to conduct operation in those waters. Previously the RMN Fleet Commandwere located only in Malaysia Peninsular. A centralize command system which wasthen supported with the Naval Region Area Headquarter located at strategicarea. As the RMN developed with the modern-day challenges, the necessity toseparate the command of the fleet for better and effective operationalperformance between east and west of Malaysia water become a reality. In 2017the Headquarter Eastern Fleet established at Teluk Sepangar, Kota Kinabalu,Sabah was officiated during the celebration of RMN’s anniversary. The establishment of East and West Headquarters Fleetgive a better control of the fleet and operation conducted in both area. Thedistribution of assets and man power also been executed strategically to fulfilthe necessity and welfare of The Navy People.
Concentration of the force aremade specifically to meet the possible treats available in certain area. Thisis very important to ensure effective and optimum decision can be made wheneveror whatever complex or uncertain challenges appear at our gate. RMNis currently strengthened with 44 ships, in which majority of them are morethan 25 years old and built in various nations. Maintaining these ageing Fleet had proven to be a major challenge forRMN over the recent years. The issues such as obsolescence and significantincrease in the maintenance costs had resulted to various implications to RMN,both directly and indirectly.
Among thesignificant ones were the increases in RMN’s Operational Expenditure over theyears, degrading capabilities of ships and high risk of operational hazards toboth men and assets. On top of allthese, the limitation of funds also made the possibilities for the procurementof new assets seems to be closed. Facing these challenges, RMN are forced tothink out of the box. Then, the RMN Fleet TransformationProgramme, which is also known as the “15-to-5” was introduced at the righttime by the Chief of Navy. Throughthe “15-to5” Plan, the existing 15 classes of ships will be gradually replacedto a much dynamic and manageable 5 classes, namely the LCS, NGPV, LMS, MRSS andSubmarines. The NGPV and Submarine arealready in RMN inventory, while the LCS are being built with the first ship areexpected to be in action by 20194.
The procurement of LMS will be the starter of this programme, and will take placein the nearest future. The 15-to-5Plan can be regarded as an “Out of the Box” approach by RMN in transforming itsFleet through the “Efficiency Savings” in order to achieve maximized savings. The “Efficiency Savings” in this casedoes not confine solely to the financial aspect itself, but also focusing onthe implementation of good governance and best practices navy-wide to create adynamic and transformational organization.
Moreover, the implementation thisprogramme is also believed to create various benefits for theorganization. Besides enhancing thecapabilities and operational readiness of RMN, the implementation of thisprogramme is also believed to play a major role in nation’s development,especially the local defence industries, as well as becoming a role model toother agencies, both locally and also internationally. This just prove to theworld how RMN manage to use the challenges and innovatively changes it intoopportunity.
3. CONCLUSION Based on the history and current situationof RMN’s development we can conclude that regional security and budget play ahuge role in determine the track that RMN going to navigate. Both factors havean intercorrelation effect with each other in determine the planning of RMN’sdevelopment programs.
It is up to us TheNavy People to plan the safe track so that we can safely sail out from our portto the next port. RMN is not a luxurious ship but it is a war ship. A ship weuse to defence and safeguard out maritime sovereignty.
Therefore, the budgetwill affect the condition of our ship. If we optimize the budget given to us ina smart and economically we can manage the endurance of the ship so thatregional security issue can be handle effectively.