Malaysia may be first country to get its ‘Sealegs’

Putrajaya: Malaysia will be the first nation in the world to own the “Amphibious Sealegs,” a high-tech boat which is functional both on water and on land, if the purchase receives the green light from the Government.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said its manufacturer wanted Malaysia to be the first country to own the boat and to be the centre for its worldwide sales.

“The chief executive of Sealegs, New Zealander David McKee Wright, has Malaysia close at heart because his mother hails from Taiping, Perak.

“From my observation, the boat is suitable to be used not only by the navy’s elite squad but also by other wings of the Armed Forces.

“I will ask for a special allocation to purchase the boat if the use of the ‘Amphibious Sealegs’ meet our needs, especially in helping to safeguard the sovereignty of our nation,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after witnessing a mock “sea rescue operations” at the Putrajaya Maritime centre Friday, Ahmad Zahid said the “Amphibious Sealegs” would also be useful to other agencies, especially to carry out rescue and relief operations during floods.

The “Amphibious Sealegs” will be carrying out a four-day tour, covering 1,600km from Kelantan to Langkawi in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition 2009.

Meanwhile, Wright said it took his company five years to create the RM360,000 boat, which is 7.1m in length and could sit eight people.

He said Malaysia was the first country which was introduced to the vessel.

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Didja catch this news report in the Star, folks? (Note: Above pix is not from the Star but retrieved from the Net).

Well, it piqued my curiosity coz I’m a fan of technological gizmos, whether applicable in real life or just plain hare-brained what-were-you-thinking stuff.

Anywayz, back to this MSM inspired article:

a) “Sealegs” is a premier NZ manufacturer for amphibious boats based in Auckland. You can read more on their operations at their website (here) plus view their image gallery (here) where you’ll find some locals (read – Malaysians) undergoing product evaluations.

b) “Sealegs” have established several dealerships worldwide including one in Shah Alam, namely:

LMT Maritime SDN BHD

Mr. Ibrahim Wahab
No 77A, Jalan Lawan Pedang 13/27
Tadisma Business Park
Seksyen 13, 4000 Shah Alam
Selangor Darul Ehsan,
Malaysia

Phone: +603 5510 6340
Fax: +603 5510 6270
Mobile: +6012 3666 425

c) At RM360,000 per boat, it looks pretty accurate if you read this other news report (here) which also stated that 10 boats “destined for Malaysia have taken their final pre-delivery sea-trials on Auckland Harbour” in its first paragraph. Apparently, 8 were ‘Red’ and 2 were ‘Grey’ boats which according to the manufacturer’s color code designation refers to fire and rescue, and military (read – covert) applications respectively whilst ‘White’ is for recreational purposes.

Therefore, for SAR operations, I reckoned these amphibious boats are quite suitable.

On the other hand, AZH wants these new toys for the MAF.

If stealth, mobility and lethal strike/response are pre-requisites from a military standpoint, can AZH please explain the obvious vulnerability of an elite commando unit chugging merrily away at 10kph on land for a maximum period of 10 minutes? (Technical FAQs here).

Ahhh .. but there is the ‘XRT’ which basically is an upgraded option with an extended 30 minute ‘road-time’. Both options however require a 20 or 30 minute ‘cooling off’ period on its land propulsion system before you can re-start the built-in engine. (I guess the commandos can opt for a 5 minute cigarette break whilst waiting for their getaway boat to take a breather, eh folks.)

Ok, let’s .. errr .. rub.. ber (pun intended) this in further.

Rubber inflatable boats (RIBs) are definitely cheaper and lighter to carry on shore by (strong) commandos who will invariably land pretty close to their target destination. They would also probably be cast off on their mission from our newly acquired submarine (unless some UMNO MPs have taken it for a joy-ride elsewhere) and paddle on. In the event of a debacle (sometimes referred to as plan B .. coz everyone forgot the way back to da boat), the ‘cheap’ RIB becomes dispensable.

There are of course RIBs fitted with an outboard engine for quicker transporting if ‘silent runs’ are not an issue but upon landing, it is incumbent for an elite commando squad to overcome terrain issues on foot in the fastest possible time-frame. They are trained for this … and not call in a radio taxi, fer crying out loud.

d) Product brickbats: Yamaha (Japan) or Evinrude (USA) outboard motor options plus a Honda (Japan) inboard for land use which are factory installed. Not-negotiable due to the manufacturer’s warranty tied into the standard ‘sea trial before shipping’ policy. Which also makes this “Sealegs” boat genuinely un-Kiwi-ish, don’t you think. But, it’s better than having a ‘Proton’ on board, eh folks.

e) Is Malaysia the first nation in the world to acquire this technological wonder?

NOPE!!!

According to the earlier report, “Sealegs has now sold 400 boats to 22 different countries .. we are no longer at the ‘experimental’ or ‘start-up’ stage and we believe we are now moving towards achieving the critical mass which we have always sought”.

Furthermore, in Asia, Mumbai police (India) beat us to it recently. Read all about it here.

Thus, what gave the Star this crazy idea that Malaysia will be the FIRST? Or rather, was it AZH who is feeding us all this crappy stuff?

Honestly, this 1Malaysia thingy is creating a lot of hallucinations on being the only ONE or FIRST in whatever!

Hmmm .. Sometimes I wonder if someone would be wacky enough to put wheels on this other contraption with a single propulsion system for both aquatic and terra firma ‘shoot the breeze’ pursuits.

And we can call it ‘1Frog’.


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