After the military conflict
between China and Vietnam in January 1974 in the Paracels Cluster, China
explicitly demanded the entire South China Sea as waters under its conquest.
Vietnam insists on maintaining the Paracels Cluster with the reason that the
clan has passed down under its sovereignty. This conflict has opened the eyes
of other countries bordering the South China Sea to make the same claim by building
settlements. Malaysia also made similar claims on the basis of history and the
area included in the Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE).
Following the declaration of ZEE
Malaysia waters on September 20, 1979, the Cabinet has directed that an
immediate review was to establish a monument and placement in some coral reefs
within the ZEE Malaysia framework to strengthen Malaysia’s demands in the
Spratly Islands and Islands. Detailed studies conducted by the Royal Engineer
Soldiers (RAJD) find that only part of the reef is within the ZEE area that is
suitable for erecting the monument as a marker and placement. Malaysia has
occupied Kite Reefs (Five Stations), Ubi Reef (Uniform Station), Reef Stables
(Mike Station), Snail Reef (Sierra Station) and Retreat Reef (Papa Station).
Malaysia’s decision to occupy the reefs also has the importance of strategic
and economic defenses, whose findings show that the waters are rich in produce
and contain much hydrocarbon resources as well as potential tourist
The station was called the Offshore Station and was placed under the responsibility of the Sea Region Headquarters 2 and was recently handed over to the Eastern Fleet Administration Headquarters Construction of the monument marking the sovereign rights of Malaysia to be implemented at the Layang-layang Reef on June 21, 1980. Looking back on the placement of members RMN in the reefs occupied, the first station built was at the Layang-Layang Reef with a total of 18 members of the Special Forces Team (PASKAL) in May 1983. The situation at that time was very difficult where Paskal members stayed in the floating modules. This module is called ‘The Sky Legs’ as it stands in the middle of a vast ocean of infinite. Furthermore, this reef has been phased out and the Five Stations were officiated by the Prime Minister at that time, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. In 1989 the government decided that the reefs should also be developed as a tourism center in line with the development work of the RMN placement. In 1995, two new buildings were built for RMN and the reefs were fully embedded with sand and concrete. The Kite Reefs have grown and the construction of airplanes and other infrastructure by the government and the private sector has transformed the face of the reefs into an attractive tourist destination. Now the reef is known as the Island of Layang-layang. Some measures have been taken to make other offshore stations be developed especially in the field of tourism. The subsequent placement of the RMN member was at the Uniform Station built by the Malaysian Shipping Engineering Corporation (MSE) Company in early 1986. At the beginning of its construction, the Uniform Station was just a module built on a barge measuring 60 meters long and 30 meters wide and placed on the Reef Basin (Ardasier Reef), the largest reef in the Gugusan Semarang Penginjau. On April 16, 1986, the Uniform Station was officiated by then Defense Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. At the beginning of 2000, the station had increased the area by laying 10 meters wide ground area and 60 m x 40 m wide basin as well as a 100 meter long canal for the convenience and safety of the combat boats (CB 90H) to enter and bridge the jetty of the station. TLDM members are also stationed at Mike Station. The Mike Station Module was built by MSE and completed in September 1986. The 60-meter, 24-meter-wide and 4.5-meter-high module was then fabricated at the Mantanani Reef and named Mike Station. The station was inaugurated on 3 November 1986 by the Commander of the Navy at that time Admiral Admiral Datuk Abdul Wahab Nawi. Mike Station is located 35 nautical miles north of Lima Station and is close to the neighboring country of Vietnam on Amboyna’s Small Island. The enlargement of the canal enlargement measuring 124.5 meters long, 15 meters wide was completed on July 15, 2003. The history of the Sierra Station began with construction work on barge-shaped modules in Pulau Jerjak Pulau Pinang by Penang Shipping Corporation – Naval Dockyard (PSC – ND ) Pte Ltd. This specially designed module in origin is a floating object to facilitate the work of the sea delay before it is based on the Snail Reef. The postponement work was done in April 1999 and was named as Ops Sri Petaling. The module is delayed by applying element of disguise to avoid being detected by neighboring countries. The delay activity took almost a month. Sailing and delaying activities are accompanied by several RMN ships until the module arrives at the site. The location and modular positioning works are carried out during full tide to facilitate it during low tide. After all parties are satisfied with the chosen position, the module has been grounded and filled with rock and cement to strengthen the position of the module.The laying of the module at the Siput Reefs was completed in early May 1999, later named as the Sierra Station on May 10, 1999. The Papa Station was built by Penang Shipping Corporation – Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd (PSC-ND) on a large barge. It was then postponed from Peninsular Malaysia to the site in early April 1999. This module has been placed in the center of the Reef Scaffold and about 70 nautical miles from the Five TLDM Station. The laying of the module at the Reef Sculpture was completed in early May 1999 and was later named the Papa Station officially on May 10, 1999. At the commencement of the operation, the government has declared that the construction of this module is for the purpose of scientific and marine research works for reducing stress and misunderstanding by affected countries. Indeed RMN contribution in upholding national sovereignty and safeguarding strategic and economic interests is huge.PURPOSE After a long time the stations were stationed, with the increasingly challenging maritime conflict situation, it was observed that it was time to devise a new strategy to improve the GSP and surrounding areas. The enhancement of security is aimed at ensuring that the authorities always have the ability to fulfill the obligations that have been entrusted.DISCUSSION After the capture of the RMN station was carried out by the RMN for a long time, it was time to devise a strategy to enhance the security level in the face of future threats.CONCLUSION Conclusions from the discussion, Malaysia as a leading country should take proactive steps in enhancing fugtions, roles, combat capabilities and survival capabilities of Gugusan Semarang Penginjau in the face of current security threats. As you can see, every improvement in defense capability will trigger the discomfort of neighboring countries which in turn leads to suspicion of the arms race activity but this can not be compromised and should be implemented. Improved defense capabilities will further attract more intelligence and extension activities by outsiders who will produce a variety of manipulated information. This is something that has been expected and believed the responsible party in Malaysia is very creative in addressing such issues. However, government policies that are well-versed with China are seen to have a slight impact on the increasing number of assets that are easy to detect and therefore a natural and effective activity needs to be implemented to achieve the goal of raising the safety of the Gugusan Semarang Penginjau without causing tension.PROPOSAL Some of the following steps are believed to help achieve the goal of enhancing defense activities in the Gugusan Semarang Penginjau effectively without compromising the spirit of ASEAN’s ambitious friendship: a. Provide special training to RMN personnel on duty at GSP to enhance combat capabilities. RMN members placed on the GSP are selected on a variety of criteria and backgrounds and honestly the Human Resources Department has no specific criteria for the purpose of placing the members there. Most are chosen because of rotation, absence of choice, wasted from old workplaces and more sadly that have to bear the burden of deprivation being denied by other members due to personal problems being the reason. This causes the concept of right man for the right job not implemented. This human resource problem is a problem of tradition that is difficult to overcome however it is an opportunity for continuous improvement to achieve the wish of the leadership. Among the proposed solutions is to increase combat capabilities of RMN members in the GSP. Most assigned RMN personnel only have the basic weapon handling skills learned at the training center which are part of an inadequate combat skills for the purpose of defending the island. This situation makes it difficult for the operation. It is true that the task of defending the island in the GSP has been placed on PASKAL which is the foundation of the Special Forces set up however with the human resource constraints experienced by PASKAL, a new way to reduce reliance on PASKAL needs to be done. This requirement is growing when the PASKAL withdrawal team started in April 2017 which resulted in the volatility of the task. In order to balance this matter, members of the RMAF assigned to the GSP need to be given special training and tested their abilities before they are on duty. This tactical-rated training will then need to be certified through the provision of certificates as a means of acknowledging their ability. Exercises implemented need to be hard, comprehensive, systematic with assets owned on GSP. b. Implemented the enlargement of LIMA Station entrance/exit to facilitate provision of supplies. Operations that are implemented at any given time are always in demand for effective supplies. The LIMA station, which is the main station at GSP, needs to have a safe and convenient route for that purpose. Existing routes can now be used for outgoing drives, but they still have the risk of not being used when needed such as strong currents or other obstacles as well as foiling stocks. The navy needs to slowly think of new and alternative route routes if the main route is interrupted. Despite the concept, every situation of the security threat is phased in but the RMN does not have to wait for a sign that has been raised for the purpose of this improvement. The long-term improvement work needs to be done when the situation is still secure. c. Providing members of the RMN station at LIMA Station with sufficient individual combat equipment. Each member of the RMN on the GSP has their respective roles and roles and they perform their duties through established pre-existing equipment. Complex security situations such as invasion, combat and defense that occurred during the conflict actually required them to be equipped with more weapons and individual combat equipment. It is sad to see that the individual combat equipment of the RMN member did not have a significant change since the inception of the establishment. For example, the previously owned Carl Gustav grenade launcher gun has been repatriated due to bullet stock problems while 40mm High Explosive bullets are supplied without launchers. Both of these equipment are combat equipment that are important for operational use and members should be proficient to use this equipment. Members also do not have bullet proof jackets which are individual mandatory equipment today. Every purchase of equipment is seen as an extraordinary activity and performed at an incredible price as well as a real desire to enhance combat capabilities will not come true at any time. Hence, a review of the level of equipment, threats, functions, roles, objectives and missions should be undertaken and further improvements to individual combat equipment should be implemented. d. Formulating a systematic and effective defense and retreat plan in improving the safety of GSP. To date, random questionnaires on RMN members on duty at GSP found that they did not understand what the purpose, direction and the deployment concept of the GSP was safe and during the war. They are more to wait and see. It is understood there is a plan designed exclusively for the purpose of defense in GSP however whether it has been revised in accordance with the assets, levels of threats and current situations. This defense plan also needs to be emphasized for the understanding of all parties involved. It is sad, sometimes this process takes too long that some have been partially nevertheless not exhausted. The table top and wargame concepts need to be redefined from all levels aimed at testing this developed plan and serious attention should be given. The question is, the last time the GSP defense plan was revised and why no one has taken the initiative for that purpose? e. Providing TLDM Station with boat capable of carrying out effective backlog, search and rescue operations. The RMN station on the GSP is an isolated station and away from major bases. Relations for the purpose of re-provisioning in this area is an aspect that needs to be constantly addressed. At present, recreational activities are dependent on rented logistics vessels, RMAF aircraft and RMN ships operating. Sometimes, stock rehearsals can not run smoothly due to the barriers of uncertain weather factors at the station. Accordingly, it is recommended that the Station be equipped with a boat capable of carrying out re-operative operations, locating and saving on extreme weather which at the same time assures the ability to operate at any one time. This aspect is important as it is observed, full dependence on current assets can not guarantee the needs of operations are met as desired. Many members of the RMN are forced to face difficulties in obtaining logistics supplies as no asset can deliver back-up supplies due to the factors mentioned above. f. Fixed alarm system and station detector. Alarm systems and tracking systems are a critical aspect of assets that operate independently. TLDM station has a CCTV system, alarms, radio interception equipment and a detector radar however is it at a good level. When discussing defensive aspects, often attacking enemies will try to cripple and make diversion on defense capabilities. Is existing traversing at TLDM Station is ready to face threats to this level. The ESSCOM unit operating in East Sabah has a good model and security system to serve as an example. This unit has a radar that operates at a time along the coast and has good coordination with the units in the field to perform shortcuts to objects found at different times. Their ability to detect and circumvent them can not be disputed. Hence, for the purpose of TLDM Station defense in GSP that is more effective, the implementation of ESSCOM can be model and example. g. Increase in stages a comprehensive defense fortress. The position of the existing fortress in the RMN is sufficient however, the station needs a fort or a tank for the storage of sensitive equipment available at the station. The Buildings Station is constructed according to specifications such as a residential building rather than a defensive building, a step by step defender in defense is inevitable.
Identify precisely the units responsible for supporting GSP defenses
and adding necessary aid equipment. The Special Forces Team and the Air
Defense Force are among the units responsible for safeguarding the station.
However, is there any thought about whether the unit responsible is able to
perform the task given. Speaking of abilities, the subject matter is not
touched on the tactical and technical aspects of what is touched on the
equipment. Is this unit entrusted with adequate equipment sufficient for the
purpose of supporting RMN station defense at GSP? Another question, when was
this unit charged with special equipment for the purpose of maintaining RMN
station in GSP? It is true that RMN has been equipped with VSHORAD assets for
air defense purposes however is enough. Hence, the responsible forces also need
to be improved in terms of their assets, which can enhance GSP capabilities.