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Navy on alert for potential troublemakers during polls
Published on: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Navy's Eastern Fleet is prepared for any eventualities during the imminent 14th general election (GE14), said its Commander Vice Admiral Datuk Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman.

He said although there was no increase in assets, navy personnel have been ordered to be on the alert and improve security in the aspect of preparedness.

"Although we will continue to maintain security in the State's waters as we have always done before, navy personnel has been told to be more prepared in the event of any untoward incidents by carrying out more thorough patrols and increasing surveillance.

"We are concerned there certain parties might take advantage of the election and threaten the country's security," he said during the "Admiral on Deck" programme in conjunction with the annual parade at Sepanggar naval base, Tuesday.

Syed said the parade involving 41 officers and 271 personnel from 10 platoons of the Eastern Fleet, was organised yearly to assess their fitness and intelligence. Besides the parade, he also presented United Nations Mission Malbatt 850-4 medals to seven personnel who were involved in observation missions in the related countries.

In addition, he also presented a certificate of appreciation for the KD BAUNG ship for achieving Category 1 level preparedness for 321 days throughout last year.

As for the "Admiral on Deck" programme, he said it aimed to relay the Malaysian navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin's message – which was delivered on Jan 12 – to the navy personnel.

Kamarulzaman's message comprised challenges faced by the Malaysian navy and efforts in realising the "15 to 5" transformation programme, which is a modernisation plan that includes the phasing out of older vessels and optimising resources.

Syed said the "Admiral on Deck" programme also served as a platform to understand the problems faced by the navy personnel and how to overcome them.

He also reminded the Malaysian navy personnel to understand how important their votes are in GE14 as the outcome of the election is important for the nation's stability.

"I hope the navy personnel can understand how vital their votes are and make a wise decision as this is a very important year for the country, considering the coming election.

"I also hope that they can think wisely and be aware of their surroundings as well as assess matters properly as there are various allegations and false information being spread through platforms such as WhatsApp," he said.

Syed also expressed gratitude for what the government has done for the navy, especially the estimated RM20 million allocation for the naval base and the various initiatives that are expected to be carried out, including fixing broken houses and upgrading the base's infrastructure facilities.

"This goes to show their concern about the welfare and wellbeing of the people, including Malaysian navy members," he said.

Meanwhile, he also announced that naval base will be receiving two new ships – the KD Selangor and Kelantan – on Saturday and in March, respectively. - Jegathisan Sivanesan

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