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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Government no money for extra naval base in Sabah

SEMPORNA - The Defence Ministry has no plans to increase naval bases in Sabah as it cannot meet the high operation and maintenance costs.

According to its Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, the decision was made after taking into consideration all aspects including other costly military assets.

Sabah currently has two fully operational naval bases in Sandakan and Lahad Datu.

"At this point there's no plan to increase naval assets because we need to manage other defence needs which are also costly," he said, after officiating Semporna Umno delegates meeting, Saturday.

However, he said, as stated in the 2017 Budget, the two naval bases would still see some improvements, including the introduction of a drone and an unmanned aviation system.

"Despite the weak global economy, we will never compromise with issues relating to national security," he said.

He said his Ministry would ensure that air and ground defence at the EssZone would be strengthened.

"We've already had meetings with our counterparts in Indonesia and the Philippines in trying to combat terrorism by strengthening security cooperation and sea patrol," he added.

He disclosed that among mutual agreements between Malaysia and the two neighbouring countries are a standard operating procedure on information sharing, intelligence and inter agency communication.

He also revealed that they have agreed to send assistance from the nearest military assets located in the Sulu Sea.

Similary he said the countries have agreed on a joint cooperation on air space security at transit corridors.

He added that the ministers in charge of defence from all the three countries would meet again to further discussion in Sandakan, Bangao and Tarakan in November.

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