KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) hope the Malaysia-Australia Exercise (Mastex) which was launched on Wednesday, would enhance their bilateral relationship, interoperability and capacity as well as have a better understanding on shore and at sea.
The Mastex opening ceremony was officiated by RMN Eastern Fleet Command’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Captain Azhar Baharum at the Sepanggar naval base.He said Mastex, which started Tuesday, was carried out biennially to strengthen military relations between Malaysia and Australia.The nine-day exercise are divided into two phases starting with the Harbour Phase on Oct 29 to Nov 1 followed by the Sea Phase from Nov 2 to 4.
“The first phase involving exercise planning and Subject Matter Expert (SME) before executing all the plans made during the Sea Phase,” he said in a media conference.Mastex involves a total of 500 sailors from both sides, two RMN ships namely KD Kelantan and KD Lekiu, and two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels, HMAS Stuart commanded by Commander Luke Ryan and HMAS Sirius commanded by Commander Melanie Verho.Also present was the Assistant Defence Advisor to the High Commissioner of Australia to Malaysia, Captain Doug Griffiths.According to Doug, Malaysian armed forces are working very hard to maintain the security and they are doing a very good job with that.“RMN and RAN should continue the long standing history of interoperability with a history diving back over 60 years of cooperation,” he said
He added that Mastex is another manifestation of the continued effort between the two navy to work together regionally for regional cooperation and security.“Australia works with a lot of regional partners to enhance interoperability between our forces to enhance regional security and Malaysia is a very strong partner of Australia and it has been for many years and will do so into the future,” he said.Meanwhile, HMAS Sirius commanding officer said their ships were excited to arrive in beautiful Sabah.“It is one of many countries in the region we are visiting, we are one of the 11 ships of the RAN and over thousands of sailors are currently active in Southeast and Northeast Asia.“For us though, this is a real highlight of our three months of deployment to the region,” he said adding that they are going to visit the natural beauty of Sabah and to interact socially and professionally with the RMN officers.
The objective of the exercise is to provide an opportunity for the RMN to exchange ideas, enhance the military’s military efficiency, strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia-Australia and collectively contribute to enhancing regional maritime defence security collectively. In addition to the implementation of the exercise, the RAN stop-over can also increase the state’s revenue and generate income for the local industry.
Source: Daily Express