Ship we launched was the real thing, says ex-Navy chief

PETALING JAYA: Holding a launch and naming ceremony for combat ships which are yet to be fully completed is part of a long-standing naval tradition, says former Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin.

He defended the launch of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in Lumut in 2017, saying it was not a dummy but the actual vessel under construction.

Ahmad Kamarulzaman was responding to allegations on social media that the launch of KD Maharajalela (referred to as LCS 1) was just for show and that the actual ship was not at the event.

Ahmad Kamarulzaman said the tradition was also practised in other parts of the world, adding that the same was done for the LCS built by France’s Naval Group for the United Arab Emirates.

“Claims that the LCS launch in Lumut in 2017 was to dupe and confuse the people are false,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“That was the actual LCS 1 under construction, not a dummy. This includes the mast that was also said to be fake,” he said.

He also included the explanation by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Capt (B) Ir Azhar Jumaat on its launch and naming ceremony to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in December.

Azhar was also the director-general for the LCS Project for the Navy from 2012 to 2016.

Ahmad Kamarulzaman said he felt compelled to set the record straight to protect the dignity and good name of the Navy.

He also told people to refrain from “creating issues” for their own interests which could confuse the public.

It has been reported that as of now, not one of the six ships commissioned has been completed.

The six ships had been scheduled to be handed over by this month, according to the PAC.

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