KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 20): The cost of the littoral combat ship (LCS) project will remain at some RM9 billion, even though the procurement of the LCS has been reduced from six to five vessels.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Feb 20) that the cost is maintained due to many variation orders and cost escalation.
Six ships in the multibillion-ringgit project, which was signed in 2014, were expected to be delivered in stages starting in 2019, but none has been completed.
On Jan 30, the government announced that it would reduce the LCS ships to five from the original six. The project has been under extensive scrutiny since last year, after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that Putrajaya had already paid out RM6.08 billion.
Mohamad, who is also known as Tok Mat, also said the ministry is in the final phase of finalising the proposal to continue the LCS project through the preparation of a Cabinet memorandum that will soon be presented.
The ministry is providing special research to ensure that the LCS project can continue to further strengthen Malaysia’s defence system and waters.
Mohamad noted that the Cabinet had previously agreed four times to continue with the LCS project, namely on Nov 20, 2020, May 5, 2021, March 4, 2022, and April 20, 2022.
Mohamad said that the ministry had completed four out of seven recommendations in the PAC report.
“There are seven recommendations in the PAC report, of which six recommendations are actions that need to be taken by the Defence Ministry, while the other recommendation is under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission,” he said.
“Of these six recommendations, four recommendations have been completed, and the remaining two recommendations are being implemented.”
The remaining two recommendations involve the ministry presenting a periodic report on the LCS, which Mohamad said will be done once the new PAC and the special parliamentary committee are set up.
On the procurement status of the LCS main weapon system, especially for anti-ship and anti-air missiles, Mohamad said the ministry obtained the surface-to-surface missiles directly from the original equipment manufacturer.
“Currently, the procurement status is running according to the schedule that has been set. While for the acquisition of surface-to-air missiles, it has not yet been implemented and depends on the direction of LCS procurement,” he said.
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