Mat Sabu’s wife just following tradition, says navy after launching of ship

The RMN’s Littoral Mission Ship ‘Keris’ launched by Normah Alwi (centre), the defence minister’s wife, in Wuhan, China. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) today defended its decision to allow the wife of the defence minister to launch a vessel, saying it is a tradition that has been in place since its inception.

RMN also listed the previous “Lady Sponsors” – traditionally a woman who names a vessel, presumably to bestow good luck and divine protection over the seagoing vessel and all who sail aboard – who included Rosmah Mansor, wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, wives of ministers and members of the royal family.

It said one of the vessels named after a state, KD Kedah, was named by Tengku Puteri Intan Safinaz, daughter of the late Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah.

In 1985, KD Jebat was named by Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, the wife of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was then the deputy prime minister.

The RMN’s first Littoral Mission Ship, Keris, launched in Wuhan, China yesterday.

“Hence, the launch and naming of the navy’s first Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) by Normah Alwi, the wife of the defence minister (Mohamad Sabu), in Wuhan, China is part of a tradition and normal practice,” it said in a statement.

RMN was responding to brickbats that questioned Normah’s presence at the launch of the vessel in Wuhan yesterday.

The vessel, named Keris, is the first of four Littoral Mission Ships under a RM1.17 billion contract signed between Putrajaya and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in 2017.