RM6 billion paid and still no ships in sight

(Malaysiakini) – The Royal Malaysian Navy admitted that delays in the littoral combat ship (LCS) project had impacted its combat capability.

“This had a negative impact not only on the combat capability of the navy fleet but also on the morale of the navy force which needed these LCS to carry out their responsibilities effectively,” said the navy in a statement today.

Therefore, the navy said the government made the right decision to proceed with the procurement of LCS.

“We would like to stress that this is a critical acquisition in order to safeguard the sovereignty and security of the country. The navy’s combat capabilities must be in line with the development of the regional geostrategic and geopolitical security landscape,” said the navy.

“We would like to call on all parties to cooperate and support the smooth implementation of this project in order to safeguard the sovereignty and security of Malaysian waters,” said the navy.

“We welcome the recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and want the best direction for the LCS project.

“The navy would like to express its support for any leaks in this project to be investigated, and that the parties proven to be involved in this matter to be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

The procurement of six LCS was approved by Putrajaya in 2011 following a request made by the navy. The contract was awarded to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) without an open tender being called. The contract took effect on Oct 3, 2013, and would expire on Oct 2, 2023.

On Aug 4, PAC chairperson Wong Kah Woh issued a statement on the committee’s findings, which examined the handling of the LCS project.

The report revealed that although not a single ship had been completed, Putrajaya had already paid up RM6 billion.

The first LCS was supposed to be delivered in 2019 but is only 44 percent completed according to the PAC report.

The report said the navy’s view was ignored by the Defence Ministry and BNS.

PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli earlier claimed that an internal investigation also showed that at least RM890 million had been misappropriated from the project due to fraud, duplication of contracts, and various other irregularities.