LCS construction to begin next week

KUALA LUMPUR – The littoral combat ship (LCS) construction will begin next week after a halt for about four years.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said he was highly focused on ensuring that the project was completed according to the schedule based on the sixth additional contract signed on May 26.

“After being halted since the end of 2019, the LCS construction plan has restarted since May 26, 2023.

“For the first phase, the focus is on the transfer of share ownership of Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB) to a company owned by the Finance Minister Incorporated.

“It also involves negotiating the extension of BNSSB’s contract period with the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and vendors,” he said at the closing session of the 12th Malaysia Plan Half-Term Review (RMK12) debate for the ministry in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Commenting on the completion of the detailed design, Mohamad said so far, it was 94 per cent done while the remaining design was being completed by BNSSB involving the non-critical zone which was the zone for ships on the water surface.

“Negotiations with the Design Authority which is the French Naval Group for the detailed design contract and the Malaysian Naval Group for the assistance and technical support contract were also concluded,” he said.

Touching on the alternative for LCS 2 and LCS 3 to be completed by the French Naval Group, Mohamad said the matter had been presented to the Cabinet before, but could not be considered.

“The proposal involved a higher cost to the government due to the time it would take to renegotiate with the new main contractor (Naval Group) as well as the need to bear the cost of equipment purchased and received by the current contractor.

“The ministry is committed and will ensure that this project resumes according to the signed contract,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also rejected the possibility that there will be a cost increase for the ship due to an extensive halt.

Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (PN-Tanah Merah) had previously expressed concern over the current condition of the ship which has been long abandoned.

“Being in the sea, we know that the iron must have rusted. What more if it had been in the sea for a long time. Maybe the rats had bitten the wires? This would cause the cost to multiply,” he said.

Mohamad had instead asked Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Alice Lau Kiong and all MPs to pray that the wires inside the ship were not bitten by rodents.

“Let’s pray together that the rats would not bite the wires,” he said.

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