'Deploy attack copters' advice
Published on: Sunday, November 24, 2013
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SINGAPORE: The recurrent security problems posed by the notorious Abu Sayyaf resulting in several kidnappings for ransom and early this year by the so-called Royal Sulu Army in their attempt to reclaim Sabah can be best overcome through superior aerial firepower, according to a naval attache.Stressing that it was only his view as a defence strategist, Cdr Skivel Thomasen, a naval attachŽ from a European country based in Singapore, said what Sabah may be lacking is fast attack helicopters on duty round the clock on the east coast facing the Philippines and Indonesia.

"Sabah's security (under Esscom) can be better secured by fast combat helicopters like Singapore's Apache squadron who are on duty 24/7 in order to react to any small but fast sea borne threats that can come in minutes and disappear across the sea boundary just as fast," said Thomassen.

"I may be wrong but I believe no Royal Malaysian Air Force jets are based in Sabah, nor does the country possess any attack helicopter squadron or long range turbo-prop aircraft in daily sea surveillance like what Singapore is doing day in and day out."

He said Royal Malaysian Navy frigates of the Kedah Class patrol Sabah waters but carry Seahawk helicopters in their hangers that are meant for search and rescue.

He also said Malaysia should have considered buying the more economical South African attack helicopter - the Rooivalk - when it was displayed at a past Lima event in Langkawi, if the US or EU models were out of cost consideration or faced with too many conditions.

The Rooivalk has been designed to operate for prolonged periods without sophisticated support.

"Only constant show of force will earn the kind of respect for preparedness and readiness for the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

For instance, terrorists will think twice before attempting to strike Singapore across its sea borders given its capability and reputation for effective targeted results," Cdr Thomasen said.

When Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was Defence Minister during the PBS Chief Ministership of Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, he staged the Malaysian Rapid Reaction Strike Force paratroopers landing in Kota Kinabalu Airport that was witnessed by Pairin, with the message that Sabah is part of Malaysia and would be vigorously defended against separatism.

Since then, no paratroopers were dropped in Sabah for its security against intruders.


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