NAVAL DEVELOPMENT IN ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY (RMN):
A STUDY OF MAYSIAN NAVY
1. Introduction. The Government of Malaysia had embarked on a development program for its Armed Forces since 1991. Basically, this development is to reshape Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) from a counter – insurgency to a modern conventional force. As part of its outward perspective, Malaysia began upgrading its military.
2. MAF development is not an exclusive program. It is integral in Malaysia’s overall development programme. In 1991, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had introduced his Vision 2020 with the objective of developing Malaysia into an industrialized country. Tun Dr. Mahathir has thus introduce the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP 2), embodying the New Development Policy (NDP) (1991 – 2000) as the continuation of New Economic Policy (NEP) (1971 – 1990).
3. NEP emphasized equity with growth while NDP emphasized on economic growth with equity. The NDP will build upon the achievements during the First Outline Perspective Plan (OPP1) to accelerate the process of eradicating poverty and restructuring society so as to correct social and economic imbalances.
4. Geostrategically Malaysia commands the strategic waterways of the Malacca and Singapore Straits. These waterways constitute and economic lifeline for eastern industrial powers. More than 80 percent of their energy requirements are transported through the Sea Line of Communications. The security and stability of the region would thus have far reaching concerns internationally.
5. To study the development process of the RMN’s policy and its ability to enhance National Development by contributing in economic growth. The hypothesis is, the development process of its Armed Forces is required as creates a strong mechanism platform to protect the economic interest in Malaysia, with a tight budget.
6. This paper will touch on need for MAF development (RMN) and further explain the implication of the development in regards to National Security, Strategy and Doctrine and Economic. In the highlights, it will touch on the challenges in implementing the development plan and measures taken to overcome the limitations.
DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
7. Director of the Institute of Pacific Asia Studies at the University of Hull in Britain, Tim Huxley said Military development is combining the use of advanced computers, with precision-guided weapons, is intensifying disparities among armed forces.
8. Meanwhile, The Editor of The Naval Officers Association Maritime Affairs Canada, Peter Haydon said the general trend in naval development is towards numerically smaller fleets but with ships of greater capability. It is more appropriate to measure naval power as a function of the size of ocean area over which a country’s navy can exercise full control.
6. The current policy of budget allocation, particularly MAF, a primary factor for insufficient capabilities of RMN in ensuring a safe and secured economic platform for investor in Malaysia.
7. The main aim of this paper is to study the development process of the RMN’s policy in order to maintain peaceful and sovereignty and its ability to enhance National Development by contributing in Malaysia’s economic growth.
8. The scope of this paper is organized based on the following but not limited to the sequences:
a. Background of The Royal Malaysian Navy. This section will explain the background of the RMN including history, role and mission of RMN, organizational structure, and operational concepts.
b. Development Policy and Planning of The Royal Malaysian Navy. This section will discuss the RMN’s development plan based on the National Defence policy, RMN development policy and the Areas of development.
c. Implications of the Development of the Royal Malaysian Navy. This section will analyse the implication of the development as well as the challenges in implementing the development process.
9. According to Admiral Tan Sri Dato’ Ahmad Kamarulzaman Hj Ahmad Badaruddin, Chief of Navy ” Currently, there is a preponderance of intra-state conflicts, which are predicated against central authority. Specifically, within South East Asia, there are worrisome trends and ominous signs of the collapse of states.
10. This chapter will look into the history, role and mission as well as the organizational structure of RMN. In understanding how the Navy operate, this chapter will also highlight the Operational concept of the RMN.
11. Edmond Dantes (1997) look into the RMN’s Development plans as the force development plan that is to attain a balanced force. This article elaborates the role of NGVP during peace and wartime. A part from that role includes the collection of environment data, disaster relief, and medical evacuation. Other development matters were acquiring three dimensional warfare capabilities, the fleet logistics upgrade, the naval aviation growth and Base Development plans.
12. O’Hanlon examines a wide range of relevant technologies, in two broad categories, electronic and mechanical. From this survey he offers an evaluation of where evolving technologies are likely to provide new capabilities, and where significant force limitations are likely to remain. As he points out, the fact that none of the military services has actually committed to major changes in its force structures and operational concepts.
HISTORY OF ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
13. The Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve (SSNVR) was the forerunner of the RMN. The SSNVR was formed in Singapore on 27 April 1934. The first SSNVR ship was the His Majesty Ship (HMS) LABURNUM. The HMS LABURNUM was complemented by the HMS PENYENGAT. On 1937, HMS PANGLIMA and the HMS PAHLAWAN were commissioned for coastal patrols. The HMS PANJI which was commissioned in Singapore then transferred to Penang for training purposes. Two years later, they acquired two patrol boats, HMS TRANG and HMS JERANG. The first ship of the Malayan Naval Force was a refurbished 300 ton (LCT) No 341, namely HMS PELANDOK. Later on, the British Admiralty agreed to hand over the (LCG) No 450, then LCT renamed as HMS MALAYA while the LCG renamed HMS PELANDOK.
14. In 1954, a minelayer was transferred to the Royal Malayan Navy and renamed HMS PENYU. The period of 1959 to 1960 saw a transfer of four Inshore Minesweepers and one Coastal Minesweeper, KD MAHAMIRU and in 1961, a VIP yacht KD MUTIARA was built.
ROLE AND MISSION OF THE ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
15. Naval warfare is any naval power within its capability would want to use the sea for itself, and denying it to the enemy. The MAF are assigned with two main tasks, maintaining territorial and safeguarding of Malaysia’s interest.
16. The core mission is to prepare and deploy naval forces to protect Malaysia’s maritime interest and ensures victory in war. In war, the missions include, the destruction of enemy forces, Defense of Sea Line of Communications, the protection of shipping, ports, harbours and surveillance.
THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
17. The RMN organizational structure forms part of the overall MAF Higher Command Organization, which comprises various decision-making councils and committees. The Chief of Navy is the leader of all. He is assisted by the Deputy Chief of Navy and a team of staff officers divided into 4 main divisions, namely Plans and Operations, Human Resources, Logistics and Administration. However, there are two directorates which come directly under the command of the Chief of Navy, the Inspectorate General and the Naval Intelligence Directorate.
18. The light of Malaysia’s current strategic interests, our past policy is deem obsolete. It shall be replaced with a concept of preventing conflict. This is achieved either through preventing it from happening or by ensuring that the conflict occurs outside of our territory. Deterrence, Forward Defence, Total Defence and Diplomacy are thus the corner stones guiding the future operational concepts of the MAF:
a. Deterrence. Deterrence in Malaysia’s context can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, through possessing the capability and willingness to inflict severe damage on any attacking force. Secondly, by having a capability to expand and intensify our combat power.
b. Forward Defence. This concept requires that Malaysia be able to protect her interests by being able to project her forces well beyond the outer perimeters of her interests.
c. Total Defence. The total mobilization of the nation’s material and human resources for national defence. In other words the core force will be assisted by the Armed Forces reserves, the police forces and other armed voluntary organizations.
d. Diplomacy. The RMN also has the important role of promoting regional peace through maintaining good defence relations with friendly navies, by having a mutual agreement between them.
THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN OF ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
19. Malaysia has shift its defence strategy from counter insurgency to a more comprehensive strategy. The new concepts of strategy should also base on capabilities and developing MAF as deterrence to any potential aggressors.
20. Basically, this development is to reshape MAF from counter-insurgency forces structure into modern convential force. This development program is not an arms build-up, but rather developing defence systems. This allows the Armed Forces to concentrate on it traditional role of defending the nation’s sovereignty against external aggression. The government recognize the need to reorganize and developing the Armed Forces so that the three services can operate as an integrated forces.
21. Generally, Malaysian NDP is a manifestation of its goal for the protection of it national strategic interests and the preservation of national security. The policy outlines three basic fundamentals, namely National Strategic Interest, Principles of Defence and the Concept of Defence.
22. Taking cognizance of its strategic and competing interests, Malaysia NDP revolves around three fundamental pillars, namely self-reliance, regional cooperation and external assistance. It provides direction and guidance to the MAF in performing its role of protecting the sovereignty of the nation.
23. In October 2000, the Defence Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak announced to develop a new NDP not solely based on threat perceptions. The new concepts would provide a more comprehensive national defence, non threatening to anyone while providing to potential aggressors. In developing the MAF would consider the following areas:
a. Organization and Structure. Effective command and control of the MAF is crucial to successful application of force in future. This call for the MAF to establish an operational joint Command and Control Headquarters aimed at optimizing the operational capabilities of all of its components. The Headquarters should have operational command of the assigned forces.
b. Human Resource. The personnel of the MAF are the most valuable assets to our defence capabilities. Efforts should be continued towards improving benefits and conditions of services, besides providing challenges and opportunities in order to attract quality personnel and prevent brain drain.
c. Equipment. The development of systems should be based on new capabilities where necessary to overcome deficiencies in current capabilities. The MAF should equipped with the best possible system that the nation could afford bearing in mind factors such as applicability, technology, sustainability and sourcing.
d. Applicability. Systems to be procured should meet the operational requirements and introduced into service after intensive evaluations and trials. There should be no compromise.
e. Technology. Systems brought into service should incorporate state-or-the-art and proven technology. Where possible it should be capable of upgrading to meet technological advancements.
f. Sustainability. The capability of the MAF depends on the ability to support the system throughout its life span. This requires the replacement of adequate infrastructure, maintenance system and sufficient funding. Procurement should also emphasis on the integrated logistics support capability of the potential suppliers.
g. Affordability. Due to the ceiling on defence budget, operational requirements must take into account affordability. Towards this end, a desired system should not only meet operational requirements but also be within the bounds of affordability.
h. Sourcing. The majority of desired systems would either be available off the shelf or customized to meet user’s requirements. Sourcing systems from overseas should be considered as the ability of the manufacturer to support the system throughout its life span and their willingness to transfer technology.
i. Infrastructure. Military infrastructures are essential to launch and support military operations. MAF shall continue to maintain the construction and engineering capability. National installations, assets and infrastructure must possess the capacity to accommodate military needs. This calls for close co-ordination among the various agencies during the planning stages.
j. Logistics Support. The MAF’s, readiness and sustainability to conduct military operations are highly dependent on an efficient logistics support system. This involves the ability to provide sufficient and timely material support, constant supply of personnel and weapon systems. Critical stocks especially consumable items as ammunitions, fuel and spares should therefore be adequately pre-positioned at strategic locations.
DEVELOPMENT POLICY OF THE NAVY
24. The NDP’s key objective in planning military capabilities is to develop a well integrated and balance military force incorporating the best possible mix assets and resources to defence the nation. Warships of the future apart from being equipped with the most “humane” weapons and equipments to undertake peacetime operations other than war tasks, should also be able to survive in high intensity situation where highly lethal weapons are mercilessly employed.
25. Some of the essential capabilities of the future RMN force in line with development process are:
a. A Lean and Mean Force. Apart from costs consideration the desire for a leaner force is rationalized from the belief that the fighting quality is important instead of the size of the force. A small lethal force that optimizes technology offers greater survivability and flexibility.
b. Stealthy Design. Given the lethality of modern weapons most modern warships are designed to evade radar detection. Besides enhancing survivability, stealth provides the possessor unlimited tactical advantages.
c. Evasive Capability. To enhance survivability, most modern equipped with the capability to “blind the enemy”. This entails the use of advance electronics to deceive and denying the enemy the ability to make positive identification and firing of weapons. Information technology and the control of cyberspace are prerequisites to attaining this capability.
d. Self-Defence System. Should avoidance and evasion fail the lethality of modern weapons makes it mandatory for modern warships to have both soft and hard kill self-defence capabilities. Soft kill weapons may range from advance electronic deceptors to active decoys. While hard kill weapons could include theatre missile defence.
e. Firepower. For a warship to undertake war fighting duties, it must have sufficient reserves of firepower. Preponderance of offensive firepower over the enemy coupled with a sound defence system apart from enhancing deterrence, would also provide own force greater flexibility in terms of strike timing.
f. Integrated Force. Begin with a system onboard that integrates different kinds of systems. Integration ought to transcend across different ships and between naval operations ashore. For joint service operations there must be full integration between ships, aircraft and land forces ashore.
g. Competence and Innovation. A force built around this kind of high technology needs to be managed by competent individuals. While competency and motivation ensure that assets are optimally operates. Budgetary constraints are prompting greater interest in novel ship types and in using naval forces in more innovative ways.
26. These are some of the key guidelines in RMN development process. However it still subject to defence budget, memorandum of understanding by the government, requirement of the country leaders and the economic growth of Malaysia. In procurement, the policies shall consider the ability of the manufacturer to support the system throughout its life span and their willingness to transfer technology in creating our own defence industries.
AREAS OF DEFENCE DEVELOPMENT IN ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
27. The current force structure of the RMN is in line with the NDP. Based on present multi-dimensional maritime threats the RMN must possess a credible and balance fleet in-being with multi role capabilities. In order to turn it into a more potent fighting force the following area are being considered for the future development:
a. Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence. These 4 elements configured to achieve the highest level of competency for smooth and efficient channeling of command and control information. These 4 elements system should also an integrated system that enhances the total fighting capabilities of the MAF.
b. High Technology-Based. It is envisaged that technological advances and systems would be further developed. Thus RMN is gearing for a force structure of highly technology-based which enable to conduct a modern maritime warfare with optimum automation and minimal human interface.
c. Sea Control. The RMN must possess a force, which is capable of conducting sea assertion along the Sea Lanes of Communication. Additionally the nature of these operations requires a force that is flexible and well balance.
28. RMN continually seeks to develop a balanced capability in all dimension. The economic recovery, ongoing development plans for the refurbishment of existing warships, equipment and other facilities to bring these assets closer to state of the art technology shall be appropriately pursued.
29. The RMN must be able to deal with a whole spectrum of threats ranging from conventional warfare to Low Intensity Conflict. This has to be translated into the acquisition of relevant assets, doctrinal formulation, leadership training, organizational structure, human resource and financial management. Against this backdrop, the RMN will be suitably structured and organized to be able to raise, train and sustain a balanced and effective force.
30. The general instruction and requirement of this research was given to the researcher on 23 May 2018. The submission of this paper is on 231200H July 2018 to the Syndicate Directing Staff.
31. The research methodology carried out in this paper was largely confined to materials from open sources such as monthly defense magazine, books, articles, journals, working papers on RMN development, Chief of Navy speech and address, RMN Standard Operating Procedures (Training and Operations), warfare notes and the world wide website. It had provided a basic foundation in writing this paper.
RESULTS AND FINDINGS
IMPLICATIONS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
32. In developing the force level, other issues needed consideration and given prominence to provide the necessary support to the MAF. These include developing the required, developing local defence industry, incorporating defence requirement into infrastructure development, fostering high morale by improving the welfare, increasing educational opportunities and promoting research and development activities in defense sciences and technology.
IMPLICATIONS TO NATIONAL SECURITY
33. Given the changing environment, Malaysia, according to Defence Minister Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, has adopted a number of approaches where MAF development is one of them. First and foremost, Malaysia believes in the notion of comprehensive security, both domestically and internationally.
34. Defence Industry. “Vision 2020” is an ambitious plan to make Malaysia a fully industrialized country. Malaysian maritime industries capability were only seen after late 70’s with the emergence of Malaysian Engineering Shipyard, Hong Leong Lurssen, Sabah Shipyard and Penang Shipyard Cooperation (PSC) – Naval Dockyard. Since then most RMN ship’s have been maintained in these shipyards. With the development of RMN, these shipyards should be able to undertake more challenging repair and maintenance work. The scheduled maintenances would provide continuous opportunities for small and medium industries to involve in their related fields.
35. The New Generation Patrol Vessel (NGPV) project would be a catalyst for the growth of the local maritime industries. The transfer of the technologies to Malaysian beneficiaries will enhance the policy of self-reliance. The Malaysian Defence Industry Council aimed to play an enhancing role in bringing together foreign and local defence companies to establish more meaningful and secured partnership.
36. Research and Development and Financing. For a country like Malaysia where the development of high technology is still an infancy stage, research and development must be selectively pursed. Affordability must be considered, and improvements gradually incorporated into the foreign designed military systems throughout their lifecycle, with the integration of new technology.
IMPLICATION ON STRATEGY AND DOCTRIN
37. The NDP assigned the MAF with two main roles namely, to maintain territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and also to safeguard the security of Malaysian nationals and property. In MAF, strategy are defined as “Fundamental principles by which military forces guide their actions in support of national objectives”.
38. Strategy and Doctrine are built from history and relates them to the present and future. They are formulated and referred by Commanders in any operations. It help Commanders to determine the best course of action in a particular operations, reduce the amount of orders issued and guide officers and crew on the expected behavior in a particular circumstances. RMN should develop sound strategy and doctrines on all aspects of warfare and maritime operations As the RMN develop the fleet, the present strategy and doctrines available in the fleet doesn’t provide adequate knowledge to assist RMN in running successful maritime operations.
THE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS
39. The assumption among economists is that there is a direct trade off between ‘gun and butter’ and that increasing defence spending would hurt the civilian economy. Despite the assumption, defence spending in some developing countries are growing continuously.
40. Procurement of New Technology. In the case of Malaysia, we find that there is no direct correlation between the development process and national development as yet. MAF development process neither does nor retards the economics growth of the country. MAF development is simply acquiring modern technologies to increase and enhance its military and defence capabilities.” MAF development focusing in three aspects namely new equipment’s, improving the MAF capability and lastly giving intensive training in handling latest technology.
41. Human Resource Development. With regard to human resource development, MAF will give special attention on training for military personnel in handling more sophisticated advance military equipments, which contribute indirectly towards the economic growth. Lately, MAF begins implementing knowledge organization concept in the forces. However, the learning process would take times to produce well trained personnel. In present, MAF has to outsource qualified personnel.
CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN OF THE NAVY
42. Therefore, it is important that the RMN addresses the challenges to ensure and maintains a credible Naval force. Significant among them are issues related to the manpower needs of the RMN, the Revolution in Military Affairs, public support to the Reserve Force and the economic challenge to security.
43. Defence Personnel. Sophisticated equipment and related infrastructure alone cannot ensure success in achieving the task entrusted. It calls for a combination of professional personnel that is well organized at all times. To achieve this, RMN needs to overcome the problems of attracting quality people as well as ensuring a good benefits to them. Whilst remuneration cannot be the only incentive, it has to be complemented with terms to reflect a reasonable quality of life and tenure of service.
44. Public’s Support. Greater reliance is placed upon Reserve Force that is ready at all times to be mobilized in times of necessity. The Reserve Force has two components, the Reservists and the Volunteer Reservists. However, volunteer, serving the Navy on a part time basis, is by no means an easy task.
45. Revolution in Military Affairs. The advances in technology has created a revolution in military affairs. Whatever it is, it has brought about changes in technology and weapon systems with substantial implication to modern warfare.
46. Economic Challenge and Stability. As countries become more interdependent it creates a bond between them and bind their security with one another. The advent of globalization has enhanced interdependence and compel countries to adopt an open economic system. Globalization has created a high degree of instability which neither the government nor private sector are in a position to influence.
47. As a legally sanctioned instrument of force, the roles and tasks of a naval force are much dictated by geo-political, strategic imperatives and core national values. RMN are not only responsible for safeguarding the sea frontiers, but also plays a leading role in the economic growth by keeping the sea lines of communication open to ensure safety.
48. The development process will not only enhance the RMN’s fire power but also improve its readiness and availability to show its presence over a large area of Malaysian sea zone and within its reach. RMN must take steps to conduct research and development on design engineering and efficient innovation management functions. The local defence industries with local contents, partnership and skilled workers will benefit the country and enhance the RMN readiness.
49. Conclusions. The geography makes Malaysia a maritime nation. Some 95% of Malaysia’s trades are sea borne. RMN like other agencies is viewed as an instrument of government policy. The military is subjected to civil supremacy that the government is the sole source of strategic military policies.
50. The many challenges found in VISION 2020 statement, include the creation of a united Malaysian nation, which is territorially and ethnically integrated, and a psychologically liberated and secure society that is self-confident. In line with these aspirations the government allocates resources for national defence in a balanced manner in tandem with our socio-economic and other needs.
51. The current approach is by adapting a concept of preventing conflicts from occurring on our territory. We cannot afford a war on our soil for it would cause untold damage to the years of investment and toil that we have put in.
52. The RMN total quality management direction statements states that “its core mission is to prepare and deploy naval forces to protect Malaysia’s maritime interests in peace and ensure victory in war. The primary role of RMN is to defence national sovereignty and territorial integrity and security of Malaysian nationals and property against any forms of threat. RMN also has the secondary responsibility of enforcing national laws at sea in the economic exclusive zone and assisting the Army, The Royal Malaysian Air Force and other government agencies when requested.”
53. Development process of policy for Royal Malaysian Navy need to upgrade to have a good services in Malaysian Army Forces. There are a few recommendation that need to to focus ob the development process in RMN:
a. Increase type of development for the Navy. In the Navy, there are a few lack of the process and the policy. There are more development in Navy that need to review to upgrade their system and get a better development for Navy.
b. Better Policy of the Navy. Nowadays, policy that use by Navy need to change or upgrade according the current situation. Better policy can produce better army and services.
c. Potential Future Action by Malaysian Goverment. The development process also can achieved their aim based on the action by Malaysian government. Support from the government is the one of the factor that help the process.