David Thien of Free Malaysia Today (FMT) dated February 2, 2011 wrote, “Kota Kinabalu open to enemy attack”. Wow………..what headline. It sure scares Sabahans off their wits. But I can forgive David Thein for coming out with such an astounding headlines because he obviously knows next to nothing concerning defence issues. If he were from the military, I would have been meaner by calling him a fool.
Look David, the planning to build a naval submarine base in Sabah, and in the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu goes back to the early 90’s. I know this because I was serving in Sabah then, and I had the opportunity to do an air reconnaissance over Sepangar Bay where the base was later decided, and including the entire coastal areas of Kudat. I think the proposal to build a new naval base in Sabah was regularly discussed at the State Security Committee of which I was a member. The Chief Minister then was Datuk Pairin Kitingan and I am quite sure he too knew of the proposal. However, I am not quite certain then if it was to be designated a submarine base or a base for the normal surface ships.
On claims that the inhabitants in Kota Kinabalu had ‘no notice of such a decision and no public feedback was sought’ concerning the construction of a submarine base is laughable to say the least. Doesn’t he know that no country in this world would need to seek an approval or a consensus from its citizen first before constructing a military establishment? Now, did the military seek the approval of the people of Putatan first before Lok Kawi Camp was constructed? And likewise, did the military seek the approval of the people of Kota Belud first before the Kota Belud camp and the open firing ranges were built?
Now, let me offer David a bit of military tactics. You know that the Sepangar naval base is no ordinary base. The navy would be fools to ignore the importance of security of the base especially when the base is the home of the submarines which is considered a strategic asset. You try and penetrate the base from the sea or from any sector around the base, and you know what you will get. I am not privy to what extend or level of security that the base is equipped with, but I am quite sure it has multi dimensional security coverage.
And in basic military tactics, only a fool would launch an attack where the defence of an area is strong. An adversary will always try to seek out the weakest point in an area to launch the attack. In the case of Sepangar naval base, going for a Kamikaze type of attack may be possible but it would be stupid to do it in the present day context. And who the hell would want to attack Sepangar naval base in the first instant? Definitely not the lanuns of southern Philippines.
David, I am no military tactician and definitely far from being a military strategist, but what you had written needs to be corrected in order that the people of Kota Kinabalu are not influence into believing that they are under threat of an attack.
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