Our air space is sacred

What is of concern is the ability of the air force to safeguard our air space. How much can we expect from them if they cannot even safeguard their own assets?

By Lading Batagar

Bravo Zulu to our Prime Minister for promising not to cover up. Hopefully, there will be follow up because we Malaysians tend to forget things very easily. The only time we can recall all the broken promises will be during the elections.

How pleasing will it be if the promise of transparency includes the 500 plus million ringgit paid to certain parties for the purchase of our two submarines.

Rest assured, this incident will not be the first or the last involving our military. Every time it happened, there will be assurances from politicians and the military top brass similar to the recent loss of the biggest ship in the Royal Malaysian Navy.

When I wrote the article, ‘KD Seri Inderapura – the untold story’ and a few more related articles pertaining to our navy, a certain blog pasted the above mentioned together with statement of the Navy chief carried by NST. After pasting both articles in his forum, without attempting to digest or dissect, he concluded that “this one is a pure bullshit. I know it’s not your intention. But this blogger wrote bullshit and have no basis at all.”

I can only sympathize for the short sightedness. In his haste, he overlooked the real bullshit.

The NST wrote, “The board’s preliminary finding was that the fire was caused by a short circuit from a 40-year-old cable on the upper portion of the tank deck. The ship was built in 1979…”

Can you see what I mean?

The first bullshit was the ‘board’s finding’. When the ship became a burning inferno turning cables and rubber into ashes, what evidence can they collect to suggest that the fire started from a set of cables or just two strips of cable fondling each other? Don’t they remember, or have chosen not to remember, the incident and the excuses given before the real cause was discovered in the fire of 2002?

The second is even more glaring. The same media that cooked up the story of a miserable missile smashing into a target (Hang Jebat & the white elephant) again bungled up. Its reporter must have the uncanny ability of scanning the remnants of cable submerged in shallow water off Lumut that enable him or her to trace its date of manufacture.

Read carefully, “The ship was built in 1979…” and the cable was forty years old. Even an illiterate can point out the absurdity. RMN should lodge a complaint to the US Navy for selling us a landing craft fitted with cables that were ten years older than the ship.

Now back to the recent embarrassment – the loss of an aircraft engine. Or was it two?

It is not the amount of money that is of prime concern. After all what is RM 50 million compared to the 500 plus million that were paid as commission for the purchase of two submarines, or the cost of replacing KD Seri Inderapura.

What is of concern is the ability of the air force to safeguard our air space. How much can we expect from them if they cannot even safeguard their own assets?

Most of us believe that a large army is sufficient to defend this country. Lest we forget that since the Second World War, victory or defeat was decided by the country that rule the air. The Israeli’s army blitzkrieg of 1967 was mainly due to its ability to destroy the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanian’s air force. There after the armies and equipment of the three countries became target practice for the Israeli’s pilots. And in the new millennium, Saddam’s much touted ‘Republican Guards’ went helter scatter in the face of aerial onslaught.

If we choose not to learn from history, at least do not forget the possibility of another Captain Munir Redfa emerging in our midst. The Iraqi fighter pilot sold his loyalty for USD 1 Million. His defections to Israel together with the MIG21 helped the Israelis identify the strength and weaknesses of the Soviet made aircraft and subsequently enabled their air force to rule supreme in the dessert.

The greed of humans knows no limit. If an aircraft can fall into enemy’s hand in peace time, as was the case of Captain Redfa, or aircraft engines that huge can be smuggled out, what is there to stop mere mortals from smuggling a thumb drive loaded with defense information?

Liew Chin Tong, the MP for Pakatan Rakyat should be lauded for suggesting an external enquiry to determine the details of the shocking discovery as well as to uncover the conditions in our armed forces that lead this humiliating incident.

Somehow, I believe he has a short memory or a short-circuited memory similar to the cables of KD Seri Inderapura. Remember the reply from the Deputy Defense Minister when the subject of open tender for the Scorpene submarines was mooted in Parliament? “It will expose our defense secret to the enemy”.

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