Plug the leak and help us defend our seas, says the Navy

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Malaysian Navy welcomes the recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in connection with the acquisition of littoral combat ships (LCS).

Hoping for the best outlook for the LCS project, the Navy stressed that the project was a critical acquisition to preserve the country's sovereignty and security.

"The Navy's combat capabilities must be in line with the geostrategic and geopolitical security landscape development in the region.

"The Navy is grateful for the government's decision to resume the project. We view it as the right decision and showed the government's attentiveness and concern," it said in a statement on Saturday (Aug 6).

The Navy said it also fully supported investigations into any leakage in the project.

"We also call for prompt action to be taken against those responsible (for any leakage)," the Navy said.

As the end user, the Navy said the delay in the project has negatively impacted the fleet's combat capabilities as well as the morale of all officers and personnel who need the LCS to perform their duties effectively.

"We urge all parties to support the success of the project to preserve the nation's sovereignty and security," the Navy said.

On Thursday (Aug 4), the PAC had reported that RM1.4bil of government allocations meant for the multibillion-ringgit LCS project were diverted for other uses.

On top of that, not even one of the ships has been completed although five should have been delivered by this month, said the PAC.

It added that another RM255mil worth of LCS equipment, or 15% of the RM1.7bil worth kept in store for the project, was now obsolete.

These were among the findings contained in the bipartisan committee’s 250-page report that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

“Payments made by the government to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) were not fully used for the LCS project,” PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh told reporters in Parliament.

He said a witness, Kapt (Rtd) Azhar Jumaat, had testified that RM400mil was used to repay previous debts incurred under the New Generation Patrol Vessel (NGPV) project.

“Another RM305mil was used for an integration facility in Cyberjaya while RM700mil was cost overrun, which was above the ceiling agreed under the LCS contract,” he added.

The two-year investigation also revealed that the RM9bil project was done through direct negotiations with BNS and inked in 2014.

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