Sunday, March 9, 2014

Search for MH370 a signal moment in Malaysia-Singapore defence ties

The amount of resources - military and non-military - Singapore mobilised at no-notice after 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace yesterday speaks volumes of the close ties and shared destiny between the Malaysian Federation and our city-state.

Not a single Singaporean soul was aboard that MAS airliner. It does not matter. Singapore's response makes it abundantly clear that Malaysia's national crisis is a seismic event which we will not turn our back to.

As Malaysians count on the Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM, Malaysian Armed Forces) and the Federation's finest to spearhead the search for the missing, it is clear the full weight of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is backed by strong political will to assist our closest neighbour in its time of need.

Key leaders from both sides of the Causeway from Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) downwards have spoken with one another. Service chiefs of our respective air and naval forces have touched base.

These are more than diplomatic niceties during crisis time. It is a signal moment in Malaysia-Singapore defence relations that emphasizes that when it matters, the ATM and SAF can work together in a real and substantive way, with our combined orders of battle offering immense resources for the task at hand.

Yesterday, a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 Hercules joined mercy flights flown by Malaysian aircraft and helicopters.

And there's more to come. Things are stirring in the SAF.

Now that defence ministers from both countries have a better grasp of what needs to be done and what Singapore can offer, more SAF assets are being marshalled and deployed to work with the ATM.

Hundreds of men and women in the SAF have had their weekend truncated. Scores of civil servants who imagined a breather after budgets for key ministries were passed in Parliament last week have received a sharp reminder what public service is all about. Many will be at work today, the unseen hands that will push assets northward to join the massive search for the MAS plane.

As the world waits for signs of MH370 and steels itself for news which could swing either way, the combined, coordinated resources of ATM+SAF and multinational forces will help in the search for answers.

In doing so, our respective military forces are reaping the dividends from decades of joint war games, personnel exchanges, visits and courtesy calls between the ATM and SAF.

Make no mistake. We have had moments in our collective history which could have given outside observers the impression that the two bickering neighbours are fated to be forever at loggerheads with one another, always competing and unwilling to give ground - much like soccer night between our national teams.

And yet, at moments like this, Malaysia and Singapore stand shoulder-to-shoulder, eyes riveted on a common mission, hearts driven by a professional desire to get the job done; the Tiger and the Lion demonstrating unity in spirit - semangat bersatu - in this joint endeavour much like how Singapore's state crest captures the essence of togetherness with the national symbols of our two countries.

Malaysia is not alone in this crisis.

Indeed, there are many in the Lion City who absorbed news of the MAS airliner and feel, grief struck, that we lost one of our own.


Chew said...

Thank you Singapore and SAF. "A friend in need is a friend indeed".

Unknown said...

Dear Singaporeans,

Terima kasih

amsyari said...

Help to those in need...may the mission will be a success

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Together kita boleh!

lookingatyou said...

Greatest if mankind is save life. God testing humanity regardless of faith. May life be save.