Sunday, October 28, 2012

As Written By Others

And yet some people only believe the nonsense that comes from their political Gods. And I have put in bold the confirmation that our Dolphins beat the French at the wargames as I posted here before.

Brave men of the sea

Our very own: ‘KD Tunku Abdul Rahman’ docking at the Kota Kinabalu Naval base at Teluk Sepanggar . 
Our very own: ‘KD Tunku Abdul Rahman’ docking at the Kota Kinabalu Naval base at Teluk Sepanggar .
It takes men of exceptional valour to serve in a tin can that dives 300m deep and even braver ones to stay there for a prolonged period of time.
TO many people of my generation our knowledge about submarines comes from the TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and I dare say that many submariners today, the world over, owed their occupation to that show.

The series ran for four years, from Sept 14, 1964 to March 31 1968, in the United States making it longer than the original Star Trek which was on the air for only three seasons.

While many astronauts look to Star Trek as their inspiration, many navies throughout the world can thank Voyage’s lead actors Richard Basehart and David Hendison, who played the admiral and commander of SSRN Seaview respectively in the show, for the enlistment of their submariners.

So it was great pride when Malaysia’s first submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman arrived at the Navy Base in Lumut from Toulon in 2009. The second submarine KD Tun Abdul Razak came home a year later.

So Malaysia now has two submarines – Perdana Class Scorpene – that sailed home right into controversy with accusations ranging from corruption to poor quality. The pride of the navy was hurt especially when politicians started questioning a submarine that could not dive because of some initial technical issues.

Last week, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) invited about 100 newsmen, including yours truly, to see for themselves the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman docked at the Kota Kinabalu Naval base at Teluk Sepanggar in the Sabah capital.

Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar threw a grand welcome and opened up almost all of the base, which is the Naval Sea Region 2 headquarters, to the newsmen as they went from the submarine simulator, shooting range, visiting KD Kedah and KD Perak patrol vessels and finally KD Tunku Abdul Rahman or KD TAR as its men called it.

Admiral Aziz and his merrymen did not hide behind any Official Secrets Act and took all questions. “I run a tight but open ship,” said the affable Admiral Aziz who apologised profusely for not being able to take us out for a dive in the KD TAR. “We would take a few hours to prepare the submarine and we have to go out 16km into the sea before we can safely dive. We would not have been able to accommodate everyone.”

The original plan was for the navy to take us to Temburu Layang-Layang so that we could see KD TAR in operation but because of the heightened territorial disputes between the littoral states, the Government on the advice of the Foreign Ministry asked that such a trip be postponed.

However, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and Admiral Aziz were just itching to show off their latest technology. Also on hand to welcome us and show us around were First Admiral Abdul Rahman Ayob, who was the original project team leader in 2002 when the procurement was first inked and Captain Zul Helmy Ithinain, the first commanding officer of KD TAR. These two men were among the first Malaysians to receive their Dolphins insignia but they had to look on longingly as the sub’s present CO Commander Zahri Mohamad took us around the ship.

Kmr Zahri showed us not only his private room, the torpedoes, missiles, engine room, command centre, the crew sleeping quarters and the most important part of the vessel – the galley (or the kitchen to us civilians). “Our main problems in a submarine are weight and space,” said F/Admiral Rahman. To solve both, F/Admiral Rahman revealed that food became the main solution.

Tight space meant that moral needs had to be kept high at all times and one of the best ways was to ensure good food. There are no army rations for the submariners, they have a specialist cook who can rustle up great meals anytime. However, the Asian staple diet of rice is limited to only once in every three days because rice is heavy, said F/Admiral Rahman who is said to be quite a mean cook himself. According to friends, this son of Johor cooks up a Nasi Beryani Gam to die for.

The front of the submarine houses the torpedo and missile room which is at the moment are also used to billet the fresh batch of trainees – all of whom are qualified naval men who have volunteered for the job. Capt Zul Helmy readily admits that its not a job for the faint hearted. While other neighbouring navies shipped back their submarines, Capt Zul Helmy and his 35-man crew sailed the vessel back from the French naval base in Toulon, France to Lumut in an eventful 54-day journey. But before they left, KD TAR took on a French nuclear submarine in a war games contest and won 10 times out of 10.

“Our diesel submarines are among the best and quietest in the world. We can hold up against the best,” said Admiral Aziz, adding that those who criticised the project did not understand the significance of the tactical use of submarines in protecting our waters. The entire submarine squadron consists mainly of officers and all of them volunteered for their assignment. Not surprisingly the lingua franca of the unit is English. “Like any military troop in the world the weapons and systems are only as good as the personnel using it.

“Our Royal Malaysian Navy deserves the support and not the brick-bats that have been thrown at us. We are doing this to serve the nation,” said the Navy chief.
> Executive editor Wong Sai Wan despite his apprehension looks forward to going underwater with the brave officers and men of KD TAR.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Who Said The Seawolf Cannot Hunt?

Another successful exercise that has demonstrated what the naysayers had said are just hogwash.

TLDM sekali lagi membuktikan tahap kesiagaannya di tahap tertinggi dengan kejayaan penembakan peluru berpandu atau misil dari permukaan ke sasaran udara (surface to air) di Perairan Selat Melaka pada 23 Oktober 2012.  Penembakan kontraktual misil jenis Vertical Launch Seawolf  (VLSW) ini telah dilancarkan dari platform kapal Kelas Frigat, Kapal Diraja (KD) LEKIU ke sasaran udara TGX-2 yang ditunda oleh pesawat Learjet 35A.

For Full Article and still pictures please click ==> PELANCARAN MISIL SEAWOLF, BUKTI KESIAGAAN TINGGI TLDM

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Political Military Foot-In-Mouth-Ism

I rarely want to comment on politikuses comments on military matters as it makes me more want to cry rather than smirk at their ignorance. I only do so when it is proven that what they claim is totally wrong or even can be called an outright lie. Thus far I have only commented in forums that after my research there has never been a trial in France on the alleged improprities in the Scorpene purchase, but since this is already coming from the source, might as well post it here to show who has been actually been inflicted by the disease in the title of this post.

October 08, 2012 17:27 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 (Bernama) -- A prominent French Government prosecutor has denied reports circulating among some Malaysian online news portals of an ongoing trial in France, on allegations of corruption by a French company over the purchase of two French-made Scorpene submarines by Malaysia in 2002.

Yves Charpenel said the media in Malaysia should be able to distinguish between rumours and facts, and between investigations and a trial.

"I am aware about all the fuss kicked up by certain media (organisations) in Malaysia over this matter but what I can say is that this is nothing more than a trial by the media," he told Bernama here today.

Charpenel, who was a former head of prosecution in France and now a state prosecutor and an executive member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA), was here to attend the four-day IAACA conference and general meeting which ended yesterday.

Following a complaint filed in 2009 by Suaram, a Malaysian human rights non-governmental organisation (NGO), that a French company had allegedly paid bribes to a Malaysian firm for the submarine deal, he revealed that two independent "investigating judges" started their investigations earlier this year.

Charpenel said that in France, as in other countries practising the rule of law, all investigations were done in absolute secret.

He said, it was anybody's right to file a complaint and due to the secret nature of the investigations, some resorted to complaining to the media.

He explained that for specific cases in France, the Justice Ministry would ask an independent judge, called an "investigating judge", to investigate.

"He is just an investigator. This is an old system that started from the Napolean era. If the investigating judge wants someone to come to Malaysia, he has to ask from your government because we have what is called the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance. And the Malaysian government can say 'yes' or 'no'.

It has to be decided by the Malaysian authorities.

"A French investigating judge cannot take his luggage, take a plane and go to Malaysia and ask someone to answer his questions. It is impossible, it is against the French law and it is also against international law," stressed Charpenel.

He pointed out that in France, as elsewhere, the course of justice would not be dictated by the media.

As he put it,"In France, the time of justice is different from the time in media. Of course, the media needs data, information, news. It's natural but the investigation is quite different. This is exactly the same, whether in France or in Malaysia.

"And, it has to be secret. We are now in the first step, maybe, we got another step, maybe not, and it is quite early to say more."

Asked about media reports that French lawyers representing Suaram in the suit would be coming to Malaysia to brief their clients, Charpenel said any lawyer from any country was free to do so because he was paid by his clients.

"He can speak freely to the press, that's freedom or human rights. But he is not a prosecutor. He is not an investigating judge. He is not an official."

In April this year, local Opposition politicians here had even called for Malaysian officials to testify in Paris or risk being ostracised in the European Union.

"A trial is a trial with all the rules. Investigation is another thing," said Charpenel of the misinformation generated by certain news portals over allegations that a trial was already underway.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said over the weekend that the Auditor-General had declared the Scorpene deal was done in accordance with legal procedures.


So can we still consider statements like this as valid?