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Cabinet to decide if scandal-ridden LCS project to continue

Publish date: Mon, 27 Mar 2023, 03:22 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry (Mindef) is at the final stages of finalising the proposal for the continuation of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project.

Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari said the proposal would be presented to the Cabinet for a decision soon.

"We are in the final stages of the proposal and it will be presented to the Cabinet in the nearest time.

"Details related (to the continuation of the project) will be shared once it has been finalised by the Cabinet," he said during the ministry's winding up session for the 2023 Supply Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, today.

Previously, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the cabinet will decide whether to reduce the number of LCS from six to five.

Mohamad said the previous administration had agreed to reduce the number of LCS units at the same cost as the original six vessels.

He said the cost of the RM9.13 billion LCS project remained the same despite only five ships being built instead of six.

Meanwhile, Adly said the detailed design of the LCS project has surpassed 94 per cent completion compared to the 82 per cent approved by France's Naval Group previously.

He added that delays in payment had caused delays in the approval of the detailed design for the ships.

"However, the ministry alongside Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB) has received NG's cooperation as the design authority and carried out an audit on the design work at the end of last year.

"The remaining detailed design of the ships has yet to be completed and only involves non-critical zones, hence there is no issue if the LCS project is continued based on the approved percentage of the detailed design.

"However, it is up to the Cabinet to decide whether they want to continue the project or not."

The LCS project is the largest acquisition in Mindef's history, with an overall value of RM9 billion.

The contract began in 2013 and was projected to end in 10 years.

The project came under scrutiny last year when Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the government had paid RM6.083 billion to BNSSB, in a deal that was signed via direct negotiation, but not a single vessel has been delivered.

Based on the original schedule, five of the six LCS vessels should have been completed and handed over by August last year.

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