Staff, Malaysia Digest
26 February 2018
KOTA KINABALU – Enhancing the capability of the submarine force will be the main focus of the Royal Malaysian Navy in its move to strengthen its assets.
Rear Admiral Zulhelmy Ithnain, who took on a new role as the navy's submarine commander, said various plans were being put in place to ensure the force remains capable and competent.
"After leaving the (Sepanggar) navy base two years ago, I return with a different view and new ideas that can be developed with the cooperation of all (navy) personnel. Being in the frontline operation at the South China Sea is challenging and we have to be ever ready.
"Therefore, we are focusing on maintaining excellence and the ability to be prepared when dealing with any possibility," he told reporters at the handing over of Navy's Submarine Commanding duty at the Sepanggar navy base here today.
Zulhelmy, who was among the first submarine crew members, has undergone seven-year training in France. He also navigated the navy first's submarine - KD Tunku Abdul Rahman - from Toulon, France, to Malaysia.
He took over the commanding duty from Captain Abdullah Sani Islamil, witnessed by navy chief Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin.
Abdullah said operating the country's strategic asset was challenging as it required careful and detailed planning due to the high operating cost.
In the event, nine personnel and officers received their submarine expert badge after completing their training.
Leading Rate Alexander F Duat, 33, who graduated with a badge, said he had always been interested in joining the country's elite submarine force since the (submarine) base was established here.
The Kota Belud officer recalled the challenges mariners had to go through, including sailing for 21 days with the nation's second submarine - KD Tun Razak - during their training.
"I'm glad to have achieved this performance and to be able to serve in the submarine force. The two years of training was really worth it and gave me new experience," he said.
Meanwhile, Warrant Officer 1 Khoo Teng Guan, 41, encouraged Chinese youth with science and technology background to serve in the navy, particularly in the submarine force.
"Those who have good basic knowledge in mathematics and science have an advantage to become submarine personnel because the submarine is a sophisticated asset and there are many things we can learn from it," he said.
Khoo, from Ipoh, has served the navy for 19 years. He was a submarine crew member for eight years and is currently a trainer at the Submarine Training Centre