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ARKIB : 11/06/2004

Appropriate steps taken to protect territorial waters - Najib

SULTAN (4th L) and the Sultanah (3rd L) of Pahang enquiring Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor (L) about the new generation patrol vessel named ``KD Pahang'', while Najib Tun Razak (2nd R) looks on at the Lumut RMN base, June 10. - Utusanpix.

LUMUT June 10 - The government has taken appropriate measures to prove its seriousness and determination to protect the safety of the country's territorial waters from threats that can harm the economy and sovereignty, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday.

The procurement of six new generation patrol crafts for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) costing RM5.35 billion was among the measures, he said.

"Malaysia is a maritime and trading nation. Hence, its territorial waters must be shielded from all forms of threats that can bring about a disastrous impact to the national economy and the country's sovereignty," he told reporters after attending the naming and launching ceremony of "KD Pahang", a new generation patrol vessel, by the Sultanah of Pahang, Sultanah Kalsom, at the RMN base, here.

The Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tunku Abdullah, and RMN Chief Laksamana Datuk Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor were present.

Najib, who is also Defence Minister, said it was crucial to ensure Malaysia's waters were free from threats as the South China Sea and Straits of Melaka were being used to export the country's products and import essential goods from other countries.

He said all the new generation ships were expected to be ready by 2007.

Two of the six ships were being built in Germany but the equipment and facilities would be provided by the Penang Shipbuilding Construction (PSC) and Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd while the remaining four by the PSC, he said.

They would replace the RMN's obsolete patrol ships, he said.

"Thursday, we are seeing the second generation patrol vessel under the programme implemented by the government," he said.

Najib said the government proposed to acquire 27 new generation patrol vessels but only six have been ordered while the rest were under consideration.

He said Malaysians would have an opportunity to learn the skills in maritime defence technology through technology transfer from abroad following the move to supply the equipments and build some of the vessels locally.

"The programme is also aimed at enabling Malaysians to learn the skills in designing, manufacture and integrate electronic weaponry system in a modern warship," he added.

The 91.10 m-long new generation ship has a speed capacity of more than 22 knots an hour and weighs 1,600 dwt (dead-weight tonne).

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