The construction of the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is 70% complete and is expected to be completed next year, according to Defense Minister Mohamad Hasan.
During his visit to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) port in Lumut, he found that the overall construction of the six ships was on schedule, Bernama reported. “For the first boat, it is now 70% (complete). There is only one block left to complete, it will not take long. The engine, propeller and gearbox have been installed. Only the electrical equipment and weapons installation has not been completed. “I am confident that the first ship will be ready in 2024 before it conducts water tests and is commissioned,” he told reporters after visiting the port.
Asked about the status of the other five ships, Mohamad said they were at various stages of completion, between 22% and 48%. “I have been advised that the other ships will take two or three years to complete, they need to be checked for water, weapons and electronics. Our hope is that all problems will be solved, including the problem with the middleman, as we work with the sellers,” he said.
“Although some have questioned the need to continue the LCS, due to the uncertainty of the country’s economy, we cannot compromise when it comes to sovereignty and national security. The department will continue to focus on this.
Last week, Mohamad said the unity government would go ahead with the troubled RM9 project to support national security and the navy.
The project was scrutinized last year when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that no boat was completed, despite Putrajaya spending RM6.08 billion on it. It was awarded to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) through direct negotiation.
While he was still the leader of the opposition in August 2022, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim urged Putrajaya to stop the next LCS project, saying that money will be transferred to help the people. In March, the administration led by Ismail Sabri Yaakob decided to continue the project, before the PAC report was published in August.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Bureau, which investigated the operation, recommended that several people be charged.