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Crucial role for naval base in Sandakan
Published on: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sandakan: The Royal Malaysian Navy's Region 2 Operations Base here is very important and critical to ensure the sovereignty in the waters here is always preserved.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said it is in line with the rapidly changing and challenging geopolitical landscape that demanded the Malaysian Armed Forces (especially the navy) to implement a more practical and effective approach to safeguarding the security of the country's waters.

"In addition, geo-strategic differences between the west coast and the east coast of Sabah require a new, more structured, systematic approach and a new approach to maritime operations. I believe the base operation is capable of further improving the level of readiness and effectiveness, efficiency and management of the navy's operations," he added.

Musa who is also Sabah State Security Committee Chairman said this at a press conference after officiating the Region 2 Operations Base of the Royal Malaysian Navy at the Sandakan naval base, at Jalan Coastal Bandar Sandakan, Tuesday (picture right).

Also present was his wife Puan Sri Faridah Tussin, Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, Royal Malaysian Navy Eastern Fleet commander Dato' Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman, Region 2 First Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob, State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman, State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din, National Security Council Sabah Director Datuk Rodzi Md Saad, among others.

During the ceremony, Musa also witnessed a ransom rescue demonstration in front of Bunga Mas 5 Auxiliary Vessel, a silent parade by those from KD Sri Tawau, visited KD Selangor and the Region 2 Operations Base as well as presented Rakan Maritim cards to representatives from the Marine Department, agencies and fishermen.

Musa also spent time meeting with members of the Maritime Community Partner comprising fishermen, resort operators and ferry operators as well as operators of trading vessels.

He welcomed the navy's initiative in launching the K3M (Awareness, Maritime Community Safety), to facilitate the maritime community to seek assistance in the event of an emergency situation and to report any suspicious incidents and activities in the country's waters.

With this, assignment on operations in waters off the west coast of Sabah and Sarawak will be carried out at the Eastern Fleet Administration headquarters at the naval base in Sepanggar, Kota Kinabalu.

Operations in the east coast will be carried out by Region 2 Operations Base at the naval base in Sandakan.

"The government's efforts and initiatives, especially through the Ministry of Defence and the Malaysian Armed Forces, clearly prove the government's seriousness and commitment to ensure the safety of the nation and the people, especially in Sabah waters.

"I also emphasise the importance of the community's role, especially those living the waters and islands, to always provide support and full cooperation to the security forces, so that any threats from security can be achieved jointly, more quickly and effectively," he added.

The restructuring of the Royal Malaysian Navy organisation earlier this year saw the navy fleet divided into the Western Fleet Administration headquarters located in Lumut, Perak and the Eastern Fleet Administration headquarters based in Kota Kinabalu.

In line with this development, the responsibility area for the Region 2 Operations Base has been devoted to safeguarding the safety of the east coast of Sabah.

Hence, the transfer of Region 2 Operations Base from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan since Aug 30, this year is a strategic move to ensure the headquarters is able to carry out its tasks and responsibilities more effectively and efficiently.

Prior to this, the naval base in Sandakan was known as the Sandakan Frontline Operations Base.

The Region 2 Operations Base in Sandakan shows commitment and the government's seriousness in ensuring the safety level in the eastern Sabah waters, especially in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) is at its highest level.

The transfer of Region 2 Operations Base to Sandakan is very important and critical in ensuring any safety precautions (preventive) or corrective action can be taken more effectively and efficient.

Additionally, the new location is believed to be appropriate and consistent with the geo-strategic positioning and increased importance of the Sulu Sea and the Sulawesi Sea as one of the major international maritime routes.

The Region 2 Operations Base in Sandakan is also seen an important need in line with the implementation of the Ministry of Defence's core direction emphasising the readiness of the military assets to remain at the highest level.

This while ensuring the security of the maritime waters of the country is free from Daesh, Abu Sayyaf and kidnapping threats.

The base has eight patrol boats with five combat boats and six silverbreeze boats capable of carrying out swift short-term task.

The Royal Malaysian Navy plans to complete the base with more advanced and up-to-date assets to ensure that no external elements can invade or disrupt security in the nation's waters.

Region 2 Operations Base began its operations history when the confrontation era ended in the 1960s.

The opening of the first navy base began on May 16, 1966.

The base operating in Labuan at that time was inaugurated by the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussien by the name of KD Sri Labuan.

On June 2, 2006, Region 2 Operations Base was moved to Kota Kinabalu at Sepanggar Bay.

Having undergone various changes and developments in terms of development and preparedness of assets such as the new generation patrol boats and the strategic assets of submarine countries, the base was officially upgraded as the Royal Malaysian Navy Eastern Fleet Administration headquarters on April 27, 2017.

In line with the expansion and distribution of the Royal Malaysian Navy Fleet Administration to the west and east, Region 2 Operations Base was moved to Sandakan where it has begun operations. - Mardinah Jikur

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