Hisham: Combat ship project to continue

KUCHING: The littoral combat ship (LCS) project will be continued to meet the Royal Malaysian Navy’s needs, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

In doing so, he said the ministry would study the recommendations of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the troubled project.

“I have informed the Cabinet and PAC about the timeline to complete the ships.

“What is important now is our journey in the next six months after getting the green light from the Cabinet to continue the project,” he told a press conference after opening the Armed Forces’ polyclinic at Kem Penrissen here yesterday.

On Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for phase six of the LCS project to be cancelled, Hishammuddin said it was made for political mileage.

He said cancelling the project would go against the PAC’s recommendations as well as the Pakatan Harapan administration’s decision to continue it when the coalition was in power.

“If you look at the PAC report and its recommendations, none of them say the project should be cancelled.

“In addition, over 400 vendors are depending on it to continue, 90% of whom are involved with Armed Forces veterans.

“If (Anwar) wants to help the veterans, cancelling the project is not the way to do it,” Hishammuddin added.

On Thursday, Anwar called for phase six of the project to be cancelled as it had not started.

He said the RM571mil allocation for phase six should be used instead to address the rising cost of living and the welfare and pension of veterans.

It was reported that the over RM9bil LCS project was awarded to Boustead Naval Shipyard in 2014 for the construction of six combat ships but none have been built despite the government having paid RM6bil to the company.

In November 2020, a report was lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which then arrested several individuals in connection with the case.

In a PAC report on the multibillion-ringgit project that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Aug 4, it was revealed that nearly RM1.4bil in government allocations had been diverted for other purposes.

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