All Is Well

The latest picture of PCU Maharaja Lela - LCS1 - taken on January 1. The biggest leakage ever. DSU Mohamad Hasan.

SHAH ALAM: All is well. Despite the confidence of the Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan that the first LCS – Maharaja Lela – will be ready by late 2024, there are indications that it will not. The indications came from Mohamad himself, when he spoke to the media on January 9 at the Lumut naval base. As Malaysian Defence was not invited to the PC, we must rely on the recording of the media conference.

Most of what he said had been widely reported but the indication that his confidence was not justified, did not came through in the news reports. For example, Mohamad stated that the government had paid out some RM6 billion out of the RM9 billion ceiling price, leaving some RM3 billion still left over (likely in government coffers). This is not new of course, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings had confirmed this, and this has been subsequently confirmed by the two previous ministers. In fact, Mohamad’s predecessor DS Hishammuddin Hussein had stated that the LCS vendors were owed some RM4 billion.

Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan being briefed on the LCS by BNS official in what look like to be the ship’s hangar. DSU Mohamad Hasan

But the fact that the government is still holding on to some RM3 billion, means that Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) and its vendors have not been paid as according to the minister, negotiations have not been completed, yet. When asked whether they had terminated contracts with the project’s “middlemen”, Mohamad said the negotiations with the vendor (likely Contraves) was still ongoing. He said they were confident that it will be resolved.
Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan being introduced to BNS CEO Azhar Jumaat. In the centre is First Admiral Franklin Jeyasekhar Joseff, RMN LCS team director. RMN

Mohamad also said once all the negotiations were over, he will submit a paper to the Cabinet for final approval. He did not reveal when this will occur, but it is likely it will only happen by the middle of the year, some 15-months before PCU Maharaja Lela is to be completed. Which is again very tight especially when Mohamad himself stated that the BNS had only finished 85 per cent of ship’s drawing but only 65 per cent had been approved by Naval Group.
PCU Maharaja Lela (nearest) and her sister ships at BNS as seen during the fleet Open Day late last year. EL

Do note that figures stated by Mohamad was the same one revealed during the PAC hearings so this means that there is no progress had been achieved in this regard for the last three years. Which is understandable as BNS has no money to pay Naval Group. Malaysian Defence has previously posted that the main issue of the LCS project is money or rather the lack of it. The technical issues are surmountable but if only money is available.
A group picture with the still uncomplete PCU Maharaja Lela.

In conclusion, all the indication is that the LCS will not be ready by 2024 or even 2025 despite what was stated by the Defence Minister. Again, I am not revelling in the fact that the LCS project remains a big stinker. I wish it will be ready tomorrow but alas all indications that it will not. I will be very happy if I am corrected of course.

— Malaysian Defenmce

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Shah Alam

14 Comments

  1. Hopefully 2 or 4 LCS@Frigates can be right on track n finished up setup n sea trial as well another 2 probably under considering or scrap, RMN n Mindef might continued with new 8 LMS@Corvettes, 2-3 MRSS n additional 2 more subs..

  2. “leaving some RM3 billion still left over”
    Indeed unlike some forumer that insisted all RM 9Bil was paid and nothing left.

    “the main issue of the LCS project is money or rather the lack of it. The technical issues are surmountable”
    Ditto again, something that I kept repeating. The main failure is that we didn’t sufficiently budget the project (either intently or inadvertently). As I said again, we aren’t not capable to build high tech warships, we have technical abilities just that without prior starting in NAVAL yard, the learning curve is huge and we are still learning.

  3. ” As I said again, we aren’t not capable to build high tech warships, we have technical abilities just that without prior starting in NAVAL yard, the learning curve is huge and we are still learning.”

    Agreed 100%. The most annoying comments were those “why does country XXX can build this and that and why we couldn’t” –> I guess those people often overlooked the fact those countries have a proper defence policy in place and therefore invested in the necessary infrastructure needed to implement said policy. Countries like SK and the Netherlands have been in the business of building warships for a long time and thus have all the facilities and know-how whilst this LCS project is our first attempt at building warships after about a decade (after NGPV)? The whole Boustead yard itself probably have to be refitted and retooled first before starting work on the first ship.

  4. @ASM
    “I guess those people often overlooked the fact”
    That neo-colonialism self-defeatist mindset are still well ingrained in many of the rakyat and it doesn’t help that such failures will often reinforce that mindset of theirs; that nothing we do is right and nothing we do we should be proud. As with the automotive industry, as with Proton, as with ship building, as with favourite sports aka football & badminton. Nothing local is good enough for them even if its actually superior to foreign makes. Failures are not accepted as something to learn from but has to be condemned which is why we never learn from failures hence the many repeats. Neither do the rakyat really want to go deeper and take a hard look at what caused the failures; only those interested will discover that it came from bungling of vendor selection, or missmanagement, or underbudgeting, or little to no oversight that resulted in malpractices. Very rare was the main issues are technical related and even so it is solvable really (often with sufficient money).

    But do the rakyat really care about the root cause and actions to prevent recurrence? No they just want the guilty party & Govt to be pilloried for their sins and then move on.

    We cannot be proud to do mundane jobs so we hack it off to foreign workers and then complain why so many foreign workers in Malaysia. Haiz.

    The crux of the matter is if we cannot afford it, and set realistic expectations, for local manufacturing then lets just give it up and import everything, but then don’t go turning around and proclaim that we can’t do anything successfully. That is what certain foreign nations wants us to believe and that is what they had programmed into people’s mindset.

  5. Nothing good by building ships within this nation. Just buy on the shelf after this. Let the local shipyards rot. That should teach them a lesson.

  6. “Just buy on the shelf after this. Let the local shipyards rot. That should teach them a lesson.”

    This is rather a stupid way of doing things. Just because of one rotten apple you throw out the entire barrel. Not all shipyards are doing what Boustead did and some were successful in building ships for foreign navies without government contracts. Why punish them for misdeeds of others?
    If you are working in the technical field particularly in semiconductor industry you would know there’s quite a number of local companies building tester and tooling jigs with high quality and precision to support the semicond factories needs, some even capable of doing high-speed PCB design work. However technical competence cannot replace prudent management which is what a lot of government project lacks.

  7. @Akmal
    Nothing good by having locals do work within this nation. Just give it to foreign workers after this. Let the locals rot. That should teach us a lesson.

  8. The problem is that BNS was not placed through a learning curve; there was no oversight and check and balances; the needs of the end user was secondary to that of the local industry and we embarked on the whole exercise with the usual politically driven national interests mindset.

    In short it wasn’t BNS [as some are erroneously fixated] per see which is largely or solely at fault but the whole system. When a system is flawed and rotten to the core shite occrs and there is no indication that the government [under the current PM or not] intends on changing things.

  9. “What is the problem?Drawing?”
    It doesn’t sound like its from the design part tho. Read: [BNS had only finished 85 per cent of ship’s drawing but only 65 per cent had been approved by Naval Group.]

  10. Naval Group has not been paid. As-is Naval Group is being owed ~RM200 million for work already done. Its in the PAC report page 15-16. As per PAC report page 59, RMN said BNS had issues finishing the detailed design and production design because the shipyard said they are still learning as this is the first time such a project is done in country. In page 69 of the PAC, RMN said the detailed design and production design was supposed to be completed by November 2016.

  11. Joe-It doesn’t sound like its from the design part tho. Read: [BNS had only finished 85 per cent of ship’s drawing but only 65 per cent had been approved by Naval Group.]

    Off course NG didn’t approve if the work done has not met their requirements. NG holds the license and should the ship encounter any serious problem in the future their azz is on the line. Their reputation & corporate image. Which is why I suggested earlier that NG should do the 1st detailed 3d design. From what I understand BNS is shipbuilder & NG is rhe design authority. I must say as that capacity Naval Group has been awfully quiet about this fiasco. Can’t they just simply assist BNS on the design? It is puzzling. I mean did we buy the design or just licenses to build it? All of this is super weird 😂😂

  12. We bought the design, but since the 3200 Gowind is a completely new design, they had not finished the drawings (unlike the 2500 Gowind, which was completed five years ago with the first Egyptian ship). It’s simple, really. Naval Group wants it money like all of the other subcontractors (BNS too, actually). It is not a charity. Every step of the work done is supposed to be paid for, and it is part of the contract between the company and BNS.

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