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2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’19)

National Maritime Conference
– Malaysia A Maritime Nation: Charting the Passage

27 March 2019

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) in conjunction with the LIMA 2019, organised the National Maritime Conference (NMC) themed Malaysia a Maritime Nation – Charting the Passage.  The NMC was divided into two sessions namely The Future of Maritime Governance in Malaysia and Maritime Domain Awareness Application: Empowering Collaboration.

The Welcoming Remarks for the NMC was delivered by Admiral Datuk Mohd Reza bin Mohd Sany, Chief of Navy. Admiral Reza reiterated the need to forge a comprehensive effort to make Malaysia a maritime nation. He emphasized the need to be more comprehensive on the approach as a maritime nation, hence the deliverable, Charting the Passage.

1011Fig 1: Admiral Datuk Mohd Reza Sany delivering the Welcoming Remarks

 

The Keynote Address  was delivered by YAB Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohd, the Prime Minister of Malaysia ( https://www.pmo.gov.my/2019/03/keynote-address-at-the-national-maritime-conference-lima-19/). In his address, he deliberated that Malaysia’s dependency on the ocean can never be understated as it is surrounded by seas where maritime space is virtually 2 times bigger than land area. The Prime Minister lamented on the fragmented nature of governing the maritime space and called for better governance. The NMC, he expressed, offers the opportunity to assess the progress, and deliberate on the way forward with strategies to realise the aspirations to be a true maritime nation. The Prime Minister then went to strike the ship’s bell, a naval tradition, to officially launch the NMC.

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Fig 2: The Prime Minister striking the ship’s bell.
On his right is the Minister of Transport, YB Anthony Loke

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Fig 3:  Front row L to R – The Defence Minister, YB Mat Sabu, the Prime Minister and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah

The first session was Moderated by Dr Adina Kamaruddin, Director General, Department of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia.  The speakers for this session were Mr Mohd Helmi Ahmad, National Security Council, Capt. Sean Andrew, Director, Sea Power Centre Australia, FAdm Najhan Md Said RMN, Deputy Director, National Hydrography Centre and Captain Mohd Halim Ahmad, Under Secretary, Maritime Division, Ministry of Transport.

1014
Fig 4: L to R – Mr Mohd Helmi, Capt Sean, Dr Adina, FAdm Najhan and Capt Halim

This session deliberated on the need to better govern the maritime estate.  There were many best and bad practices abound in the region to learn from. In the end, it was up to the political will to address the issue of maritime governance. A comprehensive ocean policy may be needed to set the effort in motion. 

The second session was Moderated by Dr Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli, Associate Proffesor, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Islamic Science University of Malaysia. The speakers for this session were Capt Dorne Tipnant, Director Internal Security Division, Royal Thai Navy, RAdm Khalid Jaafar, Deputy Commander Eastern Fleet, Royal Malaysian Navy, RAdm (Maritime) Hj Ibrahim, Director of Enforcement and Coordination, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Capt. Martin A. SEBASTIAN RMN (R), Senior Fellow/Centre Head, Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy.

This session deliberated on the effort by the RMN and the MMEA to affect inter agency cooperation. Thailand deliberated on the success of their structures in addressing maritime sovereignty and maritime law enforcement issues.

Capt. Martin delivered the policy recommendation by MIMA on the National Maritime Single Points of Contact (NMSPOC). He expressed that since almost all ASEAN Members already have an NMSPOC, it is time Malaysia develop one, based on her needs. This could be later joined with other NMSPOC in the region to create an ASEAN MSPOC (AMSPOC). He elaborated that it is the best way to manage scarce resources and avoid duplication of effort. He also mentioned that this could be effective to disrupt and deter the logistics chain of organised crime syndicates through a Joint Inter Agency effort to target the funds of crime syndicates.

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Fig 5: L to R – Capt Dorne, RAdm. Khalid, Dr Hazmi, RAdm. Hj. Ibrahim and
Capt. Martin

There was much to learn from Australia which deliberated on the Australia Border Command and Thailand on the Thai Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (Thai-MECC). Both being Joint - Inter agency structures designed to better manage the maritime space. With ASEAN Members embarking on a holistic approach to address maritime governance, it is prudent for Malaysia to chart the passage and join the league in enhanced maritime governance.

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Fig 6: Presentation of Memento and a sumptuous lunch after the NMC

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