‘Boustead has a dockyard’

Fast and agile vessel: The littoral combat ship is similar to the vessel ‘USS Freedom’ (LCS 1), which is seen taking part in a divisional tactics drill in this filepic.

PETALING JAYA: The littoral combat ship (LCS) project was given to contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) based on several factors, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The former prime minister said Boustead was owned by the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) so all profits of the project would shift to the armed forces.

“Boustead owns a dockyard in Lumut to build ships. Who else in Malaysia owns a dockyard to build warships?

“Boustead belongs to LTAT so that all the profits of the project will go to the fund of the military personnel in the end.

“It can build up local expertise to build ships and the costs for added ships and maintenance will be subsequently cheaper.

“If it is given to a foreign contractor to build it completely, then local expertise to build our combat strength cannot be built up, locals do not get jobs and local supplier companies do not benefit from it,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Najib was responding to a video posted by Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman on TikTok and on Facebook.

In the brief clip, he pointed out that the LCS was not given through open tender, but awarded through direct negotiation to the contractor Boustead.

Syed Saddiq also highlighted the project was awarded during Najib’s term as prime minister and alleged that the then Barisan Nasional government prioritised the alleged “crony contractor” despite the navy chief’s reprimands.

He also said the contractor had been given RM6bil when the LCS project had only reached 25% completion, with RM400mil used to pay an old debt, and also alluded to RM1.7bil of equipment being left in storage.

Najib rebutted Syed Saddiq’s claims that the Barisan government had previously given a RM9.1286bil contract for six LCS to a “crony contractor”.

“If you don’t give the project directly to Boustead or LTAT, who do you want to give the project to in Malaysia or do you want to give it to a foreign company to build our warships?

“When you make accusations, do you have a brain?” he asked sarcastically.

Addressing Syed Saddiq’s criticism over Boustead using RM400mil of the RM6bil odd funds to pay off its old debts, Najib said the RM400mil sum was used to settle old debts for the New Generation Patrol Vehicle (NGPV) project.

On Thursday, PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said former defence minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be called by the committee early next month to testify.

Former commander of the Royal Malaysian Navy, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, and the main contractor of the LCS ship project BNS are also among those called up.

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