Controversial LCS project to proceed, says Defence Minister

THE controversial RM9 bil littoral combat ships (LCS) are expected to hit the waters as soon as July 2024, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan announced.

He said the procurement project is an important asset to the country and navy’s defences and must be continued to ensure at least four ships will be completed.

“Our mission is to complete the ship. We will base our consideration purely on commercial considerations. We want to make sure the ships will be completed,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail when delivering his new year’s message at Wisma Pertahanan earlier today.

“Even if we can’t complete six ships, four ships are good enough. I promise the ships will sail while I am (still) in the ministry.”

Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said the Defence Ministry will take this matter to the Finance and Economic Ministries for further consideration and will discuss the full picture of the project.

The project came under much scrutiny last year after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that not a single ship had been completed although Putrajaya had spent RM6.08 bil on it.

According to PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh, five ships were expected to be completed and delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) in August 2022.

It had been awarded to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) through direct negotiations.

When he was still opposition leader in August 2022, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had urged Putrajaya to halt the next phase of the LCS project, pointing out that the funds should be redirected to assist the people instead.

Prior to the release of the PAC report in August, the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob-led administration had unanimously agreed to proceed with the project.

Then defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the decision was made after taking into consideration two key factors, namely the LCS assets were much needed by TLDM as well as there being 400 vendors involved in the project, with a financial implication of over RM4 bil. – Jan 5, 2023


Main pic credit: CNA

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