More patrol boats needed to fight global threats, says PM

LUMUT: The government will build the second batch of new generation patrol boats for the navy once the first batch of six boats has been delivered by 2010, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Ba-dawi.

Abdullah, who is defence minister, said the navy and other maritime agencies were facing more challenges following increased threats to ships across the world.

He said the hijacking of Malaysia International Shipping Corporation vessels by pirates off Somalia showed how important it was for the navy to strengthen itself to face these threats. Abdullah said this at the naming of patrol boat KD Kelantan at the navy base here yesterday.

His speech was read by Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop.

The boat was named by Raja Pe-rempuan Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid of Kelantan.
Present were Sultan Tuanku Ismail Petra Sultan Yahya Petra of Kelantan, Tengku Mahkota Kelantan Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra, Raja Di Hilir Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa and Raja Puan Muda of Perak Raja Nor Mahani Raja Shahar Shah.

Abdullah said the government noted the initiative of Boustead Naval Shipyard in introducing the vendor development programme, which saw a high level of participation by local companies.

He said the government hoped these companies would grow and be active in the support, repair and manufacturing services.

"The government also hopes local firms will handle all these services in the future so the country can save cost, maximise profit for local entrepreneurs and curb the outflow of capital."

He said the government hoped these firms would expand abroad through partnerships with foreign companies.

"As such, the government will continue to provide support, and occasional funds, to the industrial sector, especially in the fields of specialisation and high-technology, such as this patrol boat-building programme."

Boustead Naval Shipyard managing director vice-admiral (Rtd) Datuk Seri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor said more than 1,000 local companies were participating in the patrol boat-building programme, and more than 60 per cent of them were Bumiputera firms. -- Bernama

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