KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told the Dewan Negara today that the first of six littoral combat ships (LCS) purchased from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) should be ready no later than two years from now.
He also pledged that the Defence Ministry will be transparent with the public on status of the project and provide regular updates to ensure it will be delivered on schedule.
“I said at least within a year or two, I hope we will be able to complete the first ship,” he said.
The minister was responding to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Razali Idris on when the government expected to receive its first combat ship under the project.
The LCS project traces back to 2011 when Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid was the defence minister.
Despite billions of ringgit already paid out, none of the six vessels ordered has yet to be delivered.
Last Thursday, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Wong Kah Woh revealed that cost overruns of the LCS project totaled RM1.4 billion, with RM400 million used to pay old debts from an old patrol vessel project.
Earlier today, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) likened the brewing LCS scandal to 1MDB and said the Malaysian government has now developed a reputation for misappropriated taxpayer monies.
The LCS project is the largest procurement in the history of Mindef with a total cost of RM9 billion.
The said contract began in 2013 with a ten-year time frame and six LCS ships were expected to be built and delivered to the country by the end of 2023.