SUBANG: Malaysia will lead the joint air patrol using Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft next month (November) after the Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) was launched here today.
The continuous monthly rotation for the joint TAP was also agreed by the Philippines which will convene its operation in December 2017, while Indonesia in January 2018 before Malaysia takes the lead again in February 2018.
Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said, the joint air patrol would be conducted with the presence of aircrew from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines on board the aircraft to form the Combined Maritime Patrol Team (CMPT).
“TAP also includes a coordinated air patrol by our respective Air Forces within our respective borders,” Hishammuddin told the media after launching TAP which was witnessed by the Minister of Defence for Indonesia, General (Rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu, Secretary of National Defence for the Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana along with the Chiefs of Defence Force from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines at RMAF Subang Air Base on Thursday.
Also present were representatives from Brunei Datuk Seri Aziz and Dr. Maliki from Singapore.
He added, TAP will provide additional measures in the form of aerial surveillance especially to the surface vessels transiting the Area of Maritime Interest (AMI) using the maritime patrol aircraft from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
As part of ongoing efforts to increase interoperability within AMI, he said Armed Forces will be conducting a trilateral port visit and a Joint Military Training hosted by the Philippines in November 2017.
The TAP represents an aspect of the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. TAP provides the air surveillance component which would complement the sea patrol activities. The first aspect, the Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) was launched in June 2017 in Tarakan, Indonesia.
Meanwhile Defence Minister of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will be attending the 11th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the 4th ADMM-Plus in the Philippines shortly.
Hishammuddin added, the three defence ministers will brief ADMM on the updates and successes of the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA).
Referring to the impact of the TAP launch to the Marawi City siege by DAESH on 23 May 2017, Delfin from the Philippines said, the TAP helps a lot as it prevents others from coming in.
“There are many “DAESH militants” coming from Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries in the Middle East. We have killed many of them but there is a small group still existing in Marawi,” he said.
Regarding Marawi’s siege, Hishamuddin reacted; the DAESH problem would not end just because the problem has been resolved.
The TAP he said is not just focusing on Marawi siege in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia but the region as a whole. DAESH has pledged to establish a caliphate, destabilize and have a foothold in the ASEAN region.
“That is why the TAP initiative must be institutionalized so that they (DAESH) cannot move from Marawi to other places. We will send a signal today that if ever they touch any one of our countries, the rest will come on board and face them head on,” he said. – Malaysia World News