Defence minister says LCS project will continue, ships to be delivered in best condition

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 10 — Newly appointed Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan today said that the controversial Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project will continue.

He urged those involved in the project to understand the problem but insisted that the project will continue as it is an important strategic asset for the country.

The Umno deputy president also promised that he and other Defence leaders will ensure that the ships are delivered in “the best condition”, even though there was no timeline set yet.

“No point talking about history. What do we want to achieve? This (LCS) is a strategic asset for Malaysia.

“What needs to be done... we must deliver (LCS) ... so we have to bite the bullet,” he told reporters during a press conference today.

Mohamad was attending the National Centre for Defence Studies (Puspahanas) graduation ceremony here today.

Yesterday, Royal Malaysian Navy Eastern Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Datuk Sabri Zali said the project and the acquisition of the second batch of Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) should be given priority by the new government to strengthen the Eastern Fleet to keep the country’s waters safe.

A report tabled to Parliament on Aug 4 by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) highlighted the controversial procurement deal after none of the six LCS ordered was delivered despite a contract of RM9.13 billion being signed a decade ago.

According to the PAC, the government has paid RM6.08 billion — or two-thirds of the total cost — to local contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), although none of the ships has been delivered.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim demanded that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his then defence minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi take responsibility as the project began under their watch.

Both Najib and Zahid have rejected these claims; instead, they blamed PH for the project’s delays.