Lest We Forget

By Masterwordsmith

While Malaysians express outrage about the RM8-RM9 billion MAS scandal and the ‘reverse takeover’ of the national airline company through Air Asia — which is another multi-billion ‘backdoor asset stripping’ exercise — lets us not forget the RM6-RM7 billion patrol boat fiasco. As Dr Mahathir said: Melayu mudah lupa. Well, let us not lupa this.

In February ’11, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced via a Bernama statement that the government has agreed to allocate RM6bil to build six second generation patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The rationale given for the expenditure was to “boost the economy while benefiting 632 vendor companies”. The Defence Minister clarified that they would ensure that “at least RM2bil of the allocation will benefit these vendor companies which are strategic partners of Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd”.  Then, many Malaysians were up in arms after that disclosure.

In October last year, The Star reported that the construction of six patrol vessels by Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC), a maritime engineering and defence-related services provider, may only begin as early as the fourth quarter of this year. Analysts estimated it would take another year before BHIC’s letter of intent (LOI) is firmed up and construction of the patrol vessels begin.

“This is as seen with the company’s Scorpene service job, which took a year for the LOI to be firmed up via the letter of award,” ECM Libra said in a research report. (CLICK HERE for more.)

Today, The Australian announced that AUSTAL has won a $330 million contract to produce eight new patrol boats for the Australian customs service. The eight boats will be built in Henderson, south of Perth. The contract is for the design, construction and through-life support of eight Cape Class patrol boats for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

What is most interesting about the report is that the total value of the project is $330 million, including a $280 million design and construction contract and an In-Service Support contract worth $50 million.

So the Australians can build EIGHT NEW PATROL BOATS at AUS$330 million (RM1.016 billion) @ RM127 million per boat while in Malaysia, six new patrol boats cost us SIX BILLION RINGGIT at RM1 BILLION per boat.

Can you see the RIDICULOUS DIFFERENCE in figures?

Apart from that, The Austal site reports: