|Cabinet okays loan of Swedish assault boats in Sabah, says Najib
LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Bernama) -- The Cabinet has agreed to the loan of four assault boats from
the Swedish navy to help beef up security in waters off Sabah's east coast vulnerable to
Arrangements with Sweden were underway to have the vessels delivered by year-end, Defence
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told a media conference at Parliament House lobby
"From what we've been told (by the Swedish government), we can expect delivery of the
boats by end of the year... before next year we can have four additional boats,"
Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) commandos, stationed in Layang-Layang island within the
Spratlys, are already using two Swedish-made assault boats and the abductions in Sipadan
and Pandanan islands off Sabah's east coast in April and July saw them being mobilised
there as well.
"Without sufficient patrolling by a sizeable fleet of assault boats, intruders will
have a field day..as the sea boundary is only 20 to 30 minutes by boat from southern
Philippines," Najib said.
The government was reportedly considering acquiring more assault boats to patrol
territorial waters and also reportedly, the Swedish-made high-speed water-jet-powered
crafts were found to be suitable for the role as they are also versatile in shallow
Only such vessels could match the high speed boats used by the Sipadan and Pandanan
abductors who were later confirmed as those from the rebel Muslim separatist groups based
in southern Philippines.
To another question, Najib said the military would continue stationing troops in Sabah's
east coast as long as the situation in southern Philippines remained volatile.
Moreover, Najib said islanders there also appealed for troops to be present to protect
them but the military would have to consider their request because of the financial
implications, among other things.
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