All Is Well…Part…

The bridge of an Egyptian Navy Gowind corvette. Naval Group

SHAH ALAM: All is well. Senior Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein announced yesterday all is well with the LCS re-mobilisation programme.

From Bernama:

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — The six-month mobilisation phase of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project which began in June has gone smoothly and shown positive progress, says Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said many things had been implemented and resolved within the first three months of the phase, especially from commercial and government-to-government aspects.

Following negotiations with 145 local vendors and 42 overseas Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), he said Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB) as the manufacturing company had received commitments involving equipment and systems to support BNSSB in continuing the LCS project.

“The process of terminating Contraves Advanced Devices (CAD) and Contraves Electrodynamics Sdn Bhd (CED) as middlemen is also actively being pursued to enable BNSSB to negotiate directly with OEMs and vendors.

“This step will be able to reduce the cost of the ships’ equipment,” he said in a statement today.

Hishammuddin said that for debt restructuring, BNSSB was also actively negotiating with nine banking institutions and the matter was expected to be finalised during the mobilisation period.

In addition, he said BNSSB was also discussing the ships’ detailed design with Naval Group from France, which is expected to send a technical team to conduct an audit this month.
At the same time, Hishammuddin said a representative of the French government had also met with him and submitted a written commitment to resume and complete the LCS project.

“This is an important and very helpful development, considering that the Naval Group is owned by the French government,” he said.

Hishammuddin said the construction of the LCS would only resume once all negotiations were completed and agreements finalised in the mobilisation phase which ends in December, stressing that at least one LCS should be completed within two years.

“This period is realistic given that when this mobilisation phase is completed, all parties involved have 14 months to ensure the ship is ready to be built and is on the surface of the water before undergoing training such as Harbour Acceptance Test and Sea Acceptance Trial,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin informed that while waiting for the LCS project to be fully completed, RMN had applied to acquire a second batch of Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) equipped with more comprehensive weaponry and the matter had been brought to the Economic Planning Unit by his ministry.

“All parties involved are no longer looking back and working hard to ensure that RMN can have these necessary assets.

“At the same time, my ministry will also continue to give full cooperation to whatever investigations currently being carried out by the authorities,” he said. — Bernama

Since Hishammuddin had said everything was well with the programme since the keel laying in 2016, one has to take his latest statement with a big pinch of salt. Especially when he seemed to take a big credit on the two Contraves companies termination. With the GE15 looming, one has to wonder if the senior minister is one of those wanting it to be held as soon as possible. The minister statement was released the same day as the newspapers reported an interview with the RMN Chief who stated that the service needs bigger funding to face an uncertain security situation.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

Share
About Marhalim Abas 1720 Articles
Shah Alam

5 Comments

  1. I sincerely hope that the LMS funds will not be used to cover the losses in LCS programs like how BNS used LCS funds to cover the NGPV programs losses.

  2. The audit which was done for the Pakatan government in 2018 recommended that if the government proceeded with the programme that checks be placed to ensure BNS only used the cash for the LCSs. If we had proper oversight from the very start questions would have been raised about BNS’s financial position but such is the way things are done in this country. I put the blame on the politicians and the system they created because the system allowed things to pan out as they did.

    If indeed BNS gets the LMS Batch 2 contracts [hard to see how politically valuable this is for the politicians] then a mechanism has to be put in place to ensure that none of the cash is diverted. Proper oversight must be in place.

  3. It will if the BNS got the job….
    I agree with Marhalim. Other than saying any other Malaysian shipyard would be armtwisted to the same ‘requirements’, I’d say a different company would probably resist the pressures better than BNS. Just get a different company to do the LMS 2 ships. BNS is a horror story indeed.

  4. Taib – “, I’d say a different company would probably resist the pressures””

    It’s not about “resisting the pressures” but whether that company is in a better financial position to begin with and whether there are vested interests at play.

    Also; as mentioned it’s about oversight and checks and balances; the system we have in place. If a truly effective apolitical mechanism was in place even before BNS was awarded the contract questions would have been asked about its financial health.

    Like the recommendation in the audit report said in 2018; if government decided to proceed with the programme strict checks would be needed to ensure cash wasn’t diverted for other purposes. Did anyone in MINDEF, MOF or the EPU raise a concern? Also, as a unnamed industry figure in an article said : is the RMN really as blameless as it portrays?

    The whole programme; from the selection of the design; to the hubris and complacency; to the selection of vendors; to the lack of checks and balances; to the vested interests involved; is a reflection of how we do things. No surprise things went ratshit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*