Condemned To Repeat It

SHAH ALAM: Condemned to repeat it. A check on Malaysian Defence’s archives revealed that there are 116 posts regarding the RMN Littoral Combat Ship. It is more than that actually as around 50-odd posts on the LCS had gone missing after the server failure, some three years ago.

Long time Malaysian Defence readers, however, will be aware of my opinion that the government – the previous one of course – had erred in allowing the first of class LCS to be build in Malaysia instead of France. The similarities with the NGPV – and the ensuing fiasco – was too much for me to ignore. Yes, perhaps I am pessimist but the latest events surrounding the LCS has confirmed my worst fears. I am not gloating but simply sad that this had happened. The quote “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” or similar ones, summed up my feeling on the matter down to the T.

BNS workers posed for pictures with Maharaja Lela at her launch in August, 2017 The workers are under strict order not to share the pictures of the ship during the construction.

In the NGPV case, deceitness and the lack of accountability were the main reason for the failure of the programme, which resulted in a bailout. And the fact that no one was held responsible for the failure, set up the stage for the sad state of affairs surrounding the LCS. It was the reason I was very pessimistic with the programme all this while.

LCS PCU. Maharaja Lela. Her name could be seen on the stern.

Anyhow, below is the statement made by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu in Parliament last week. The Hansard (the parliment transcript) was uploaded so late I did not have time to post it here before leaving for Germany last Saturday. Anyhow it is better late than never, an excuse I am always giving on this blog and one had been used many times for the RMN.

The progress of the 1st LCS as posted on Twitter by the RMN LCS team in 2016.

Kapal pertama Littoral Combat Ship TLDM telah mengalami kelewatan selama 34 bulan dan lama sangat ini. Perolehan ini dianugerahkan secara rundingan terus kepada syarikat BNSSB iaitu Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn. Bhd. untuk tempoh 10 tahun. Berkuat kuasa 3 Oktober 2013 sehingga Oktober 2023 dengan had belanjanya RM9.1286 bilion. Sehingga 30 September 2019, kemajuan sebenar keseluruhan perolehan hanya 55.7 peratus berbanding perancangan sepatutnya 78 peratus iaitu lewat lebih 25 peratus. BNSSB memaklumkan kelewatan akan berlaku pada tarikh penyerahan fizikal keenam-enam LCS dengan kos tambahan diperlukan sebanyak RM1.4 bilion. Ini masalah projek kalau kita hentikan, kita sudah bayar RM6 bilion. Kalau hendak diteruskan, perlu tambahan belanja. Maka di sini Kementerian Pertahanan, kita bila kita ambil sebuah kementerian, kalau kita kahwin dengan janda, kita kena pelihara dengan anakanaknya sekali. Bila kita ambil kementerian, Menteri baru naik dia kena ambil segala permasalahan. Kita tidak boleh berhenti di tengah jalan pembinaan kapal ini sedangkan wang kerajaan telah dibayar RM6 bilion. Kelemahan-kelemahannya banyak yang perlu didedahkan kalau didedahkan secara terperinci, ia melibatkan berlaku pula ketidakpercayaan kepada syarikat-syarikat di Malaysia dan sebagainya. Oleh itu, kami sedang mempertimbangkan sama ada hendak meluluskan satu program RM4 juta dengan kita berbincang dengan Kementerian Kewangan dan Kabinet untuk meneruskan pembinaan kapal ini kerana besi-besinya telah dipotong dan enam buah kapal ini dijangka siap yang pertama pada tahun 2023.

The keel of the fourth LCS in the BNS hangar for the ceremony one year ago.

I can point out various ship programmes that had started or launched just slightly ahead or later than the LCS and completed- ships of comparable size of course – but there is no need for me to that. Just Google it.

Note on the 2023 delivery date. The minister on his Twitter post had stated it was going to be 2021 and I had replied that 2021 was too optimistic!

— Malaysian Defence

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