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Kuala Lumpur: Aside from maintaining two Scorpene submarines, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) plans to buy more submarines to boost the national's naval defence capability, said Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.
He said, however, the plan could not be implemented in the near term due to budget constraints while time was needed to train naval officers on the fundamental skills in submarine operations and gained the experience.
"The skills and experience are needed to ensure that the submarines can be operated safely and effectively," he told Bernama. The navy took delivery of two Scorpene submarines costing RM3.4 billion from France in 2009 and 2010.
Abdul Aziz said he was satisfied with the performance of both submarines after three years in operation to protect national waters from invasion and encroachment.
"I am proud to have received letters of commendation from distinguished guests, who have taken a dive on the submarines, including the Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng," said Abdul Aziz.
On the 78th Royal Malaysian Navy Day celebration tomorrow, he said the theme 'Innovative Personnel engender Transformation' manifested the navy vision to be a world-class entity through a culture of innovation.
Describing the challenges faced by the navy as "software and hardware", he said: "The first challenge is to retain skilled personnel in the service due to competition, and attractive and lucrative offers awaiting them in the corporate world.
"The second challenge is to maintain the level of preparedness of naval assets, especially involving aging assets as they are getting obsolete, and technological development."
On piracy threats especially in the Straits of Melaka, he said naval boats were intensifying patrols in identified hot spots besides conducting integrated operations jointly with maritime agencies from neighbouring countries. -- Bernama