He Said, She Said

The latest picture of LCS Maharaja Lela taken on August 13, 2022. It appears no work had been done on her recently. Mindef

SHAH ALAM: He said, she said. The Defence Ministry brought the media to visit the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in Lumut on August 13, in an apparent damage control attempt following the publication of the Public Accounts Committe (PAC) report on the LCS project.

The media was given a guided tour of the shipyard and even the warehouses where equipment meant for the LCS are kept- by BNS CEO Azhar Jumaat. Azhar, the previous BNS LCS director, were among the many people who gave testimony to the PAC.

BNS CEO Azhar Jumaat giving reporters a briefing on the yard. The nearest ship is likely KD Kasturi which is undergoing a refit since 2021 while the other ship is likely KD Lekiu. Mindef

Mindef release on the visit:

Lumut, 13 Ogos 2022- Menteri Kanan Pertahanan berulang kali menegaskan bahawa tiada perkara yang akan beliau dan Kementerian Pertahanan sembunyikan berkaitan LCS.
Ketegasan ini sekali lagi diterjemahkan hari ini apabila MINDEF membuka peluang kepada sebanyak lebih kurang 20 agensi media untuk mengadakan lawatan ke Boustead Naval Shipyard di Lumut Perak.
Lawatan ini bukan sekadar bertujuan memberi taklimat tentang reka bentuk LCS, malah paling utama semua wakil media diberi ruang untuk melihat sendiri secara dekat kapal-kapal LCS yang sudah di peringkat pembinaan. Mereka juga dibenarkan mengambil video dan gambar untuk tatapan umum.
Mereka turut dibawa ke gudang penyimpanan peralatan LCS yang akan dipasang kelak.
Lawatan hari ini telah mendapat maklum balas yang amat baik dari setiap wakil media dan semua boleh mengesahkan bahawa kapal LCS sudah di peringkat pembinaan. Terima kasih rakan-rakan media yang turut serta hari ini.

The rear of the LCS Maharaja Lela as seen during the visit. LTAT

Clearly the ministry wanted Azhar to rebut some of the reports on mainstream and social media on the LCS following the publication of the report. Did the damage control work? Not really based on the comments on the ministry’s post. Anyhow, Azhar’s statements during the visit will surely be rebutted by the various people who had commented on the PAC report. The conversation has clearly degenerated into a he said/she said scenario with no clear end in sight.
This is likely the stern of LCS 2. Mindef

The pictures provided by the ministry also showed that the statement made by LTAT CEO Nazim Rahman on his personal Facebook not really that truthful especially on “work on the ships are continuing”.
BNS CEO Azhar Jumaat briefing reporters with some of the equipment for the LCS which are stored at BNS. LTAT

From the pictures, PCU Maharaja Lela did not look as having any recent work on her apart from being shifted around the yard to accommodate the refit work being conducted by BNS on RMN ships including KD Kasturi and one of the Lekiu class.
Another stack of equipment meant for the LCS in the BNS warehouse. Mindef

One good thing though about this attempt of transparency – belated as it is – that it should be followed with other big tickets items under the ministry that had not been contracted yet. The openness might well prevent the MALE UAS, MPA and FLIT-LCA from becoming like the MD-530G and LCS projects. Or will Rahsia supersede everything even shenanigans, corruption, and collusion.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2225 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Defense Minister said the gov is willing to fund the first 2 ships. After the 2 ship is completed and operational then only the gov will decide if the rest of the LCS should be built too. But yesterday BNS CEO said they are continuing work on all 5 units. This is clearly contradicted with the defence minister statement. Care to elaborate?

  2. “BNS has got no money, they can only finish the first two ships”
    This is worrying considering the equipments for all 6 ships had been bought and paid for. Gov willing to pay for only 2 ships at the moment. What will happen to the rest of the equipments? Or it can be used as parts for the 2 units provided all in pristine condition. BNS method to build all 6 ships simultaneously. Is this a contract requirement or a common practice? Its rather odd & puzzling 🤨

  3. I disagree with the intense politicking that followed the PAC report release. Suddenly all and sundry are now demanding concrete answers to what’s transpired on the debacle. The hikmah or silver lining as said by the blog is just that, that all upcoming buys be transparent for all to scrutinize sans politicking. We need these ships quick. Build them, and get them in the water pronto! Leave the politics to the idiot practitioners, and the idealistic student bodies and NGOs. Where are the ugly politicians when the LCA project need the so-called upright politicians backing and defense?

  4. The plan at the moment is to finish all six ships, so all the equipment already bought will be fitted on the ships. On the concurrent building of the LCS, it was the BNS decision to do this way as to ensure they meet with the RMN delivery dateline of having the ships delivered every year. LCS 1 was supposed to be delivered in 2019, 2 2020 and so on and so forth. The decision clearly showed either BNS was so full of itself that it can actually achieved this or their naivety, take your pick. No, no one does this especially with a new type of ship. Even China which builds tonnes of ships every year, do not do this for the first of class. They will start concurrent built, split between several ship yards, after the first three ship is completed.

  5. So was it true that the PSIM installed during the launch was the fake one; purposely “built” with the cost around 300-400k RM only for the ceremony, including the “window made of plywood”?

  6. Qamarul -“What will happen to the rest of the equipments”

    In theory some can be used on other platforms such as the LMS Batch 2s but those haven’t been ordered yet and there’s no way the government is going to announce at this juncture that only a pair of LCSs will be constructed; too early days and that would be politically damaging. As for the simultaneous build; who was in charge of ensuring that BNS was capable? Who?
    What check and balance or due diligence was performed?

    Taib – “I disagree with the intense politicking that followed the PAC report release”

    You may disagree but it’s given that politicians will use whatever ammo they have to score points against their political rivals; politicians being politicians. They see it as a big stick to be used to bring down BN in the next GE; like 1MD. Whether or not the RMN gets the needed capability is the least of their concerns.

    The question is will we learn from this cockup? Doubt it..

  7. Rampant corruption. Malaysia can’t even build and finish any ship without controversy or saga. First was the Kedah class, then the training ships. The Kota Bahru class is not even ready and now the LCS. This country is floundering and like I have said before, a failing state. It will be the Argentina of Asia.

  8. “Rampant corruption. Malaysia can’t even build and finish any ship without controversy or saga. First was the Kedah class, then the training ships. The Kota Bahru class is not even ready and now the LCS. This country is floundering and like I have said before, a failing state. It will be the Argentina of Asia.” comment suited for MalaysiaKini forum not Malaysiadefence …you are in a wrong forum

  9. Indeed every politician and their dog is having a piece at it. The Opposition forget that it was in their laps during their rule and not a pipsqueak word except for the froze in funding(hence construction). The problem with our politicians (from both divide) is that they are quick to shoot from their mouths & keyboards not realising it is just as quick to get shot back. However blame comes to the rakyat as we are the ones that puts them up there (on both sides).

    “Argentina of Asia”
    Laughable, for the longest time my whole life I had been hearing of us becoming the “africa of asia”, “somalia of asia”, “zimbabwe of asia”, “greece of asia”, “sri lanka of asia”(which is an oxymoron really), and now “argentina of asia”. In jest I would take that as a sign of our polyglot multicultural diversity nature of our nation and our people, that we are all rojak… but in all seriousness it is a broken record that I’ve heard and keep hearing for the longest of time and yet we are far from such doom & gloom realities. The global inflation is real alrite, but moreso it is punishing in First World countries where cost of living is far higher and not all have comprehensive social nets, that’s when the basement goes underground and unreported but everything seemed dandy in the world. I’ve been to Australia and spoken with segments of their society and there are a great many inequalities in many parts of the world.

  10. Failed state no. But failure depends on individual. Stagnant can be considered failure. Is Malaysia stagnat? To answer the question, list down Malaysia’s socio-economic peers in 1997/98. Then list down Malaysia’s socio-economic peers in 2022.

  11. Japan had stagflation for the last 20-30 years. Were they a failure? Hardly. Socio-economics is very vast and have to balance the movements of each segments, the poor-wealth gap increase/decrease, uplifting of the poorest of societies, Government expenditure percentage to ensure basic needs, security & healthcare for all, etc. Focused on chasing some in particular and others will get neglected. Having a balanced approach and nothing stands out in the wider society viewpoint. Each country will have contend with that conundrum and not all can be compared apples to apples amongst each nation.

  12. Joe, just list down the countries in 1997/98 and do the same in 2022. I didn’t say do a deep dive on socio-economics. It’s a simple act, create a list, no need to complicate it. Many things are that simple.

  13. @kel
    You are oversimplifying things just as you did with Gowind/Sigma comparison. There are certain areas/categories where each has its pros and cons, and it depends on which metrics that carries more weight over the other which does gives it more merits but it really boils down to how much better as a whole. How bad or how good is depend on whom you ask and their preconceived bias. That is human nature but there are 2 sides to a coin. I prefer to trust the facts & figures data and interpreted by those more qualified than me. YMMV

  14. The thing is, it is actually that simple. Joe, you’re the one that suggested there might be a conspiracy behind the bias against the Gowind. But factually, it really doesn’t matter whether Gowind or Sigma is the better ship. In 2011, the end-user, the Navy wanted SIGMA. The end-user had their reasons why they wanted the SIGMA. Doesn’t matter what the Navy’s biases were. I don’t think the issue was ever on whether SIMGA or Gowind was the better ship. It was always about BNS pushing MINDEF at the last minute, to switch from the agreed SIGMA to Gowind, against the Navy’s wishes. Really, its just a case of end-user wanted SIGMA, BNS wanted Gowind. End-user wanted 6 ships, BNS hasn’t built a single ship. There’s no biases in those data points. Its what has happened, factual. Its actually that simple.

  15. Years ago; way before the PAC report was released or the LCSs went ratshit; I was told that Sigma was preferred for the following – Damen could offer it cheaper and was also cheaper to work with compared to DCNS and there were certain aspects with Sigma; including Tacticos [which the RNN wanted for the Kasturis]; which the RMN preferred over Gowind.

    Yes BNS pushed for DCNS and this was because DCNS was offering more in terms of ToTs and offsets. As it turned out BNS didn’t have to push hard or far because DCNS had political backing from the government and the government’s priority was always national interests. BNS also “didn’t push MINDEF at the last minute”; it wanted DCNS from the start and prior to that was inclined towards the German Naval Group which was a political no.

    Ultimately whether it was Sigma or a Chinese design or Gowind things would still have gone ratshit because the conditions were there and ripe.

  16. @kel
    I have never mentioned any conspiracy, you can Ctrl+F to search “conspiracy” and the only ones popping up is yours. What I said is any insistent for a particular item without significant merits would raise doubts about impropriety and needless accusations. Already there is an exAdmiral charged with this case so a hard push for certain something COULD be suspected. It might be something, it might be nothing, the point is it can be politicised, and why do we want/need that. BNS pushing their own choice is not right that’s for sure, but so as the other party. That is why I stressed the need for a blind procurement process where no parties can favour a selection unless its merits are undisputed. Let me remind you, again, even if we went for Sigma its highly likely we’d be here talking about this failures & delays too. As I said the ship platform isn’t the problem, you can read my reply here
    Its that simple.

  17. Joe, read your own response. Despite the PAC report and now the declassified report stating the RMN as end-user wants the SIGMA, you still insist it doesn’t matter Gowind or SIGMA, its just a platform. Well, to the Navy it matters. Whether things would have turn out the same if SIGMA was chosen, I don’t know. What I do know based on the declassified report is, even by BNS’s own admission, the Gowind design was still in development by DCNS. The declassified report also states SETIS was still in development for the French Navy. Sure, let’s say its just a platform. So, between 2009 and 2011, when RMN was doing its evaluation, they have Gowind+SETIS platform still in development, while SIGMA+Tacticos platform is proven. One platform is not ready, the other platform is ready. Which should someone choose? Its just that simple. Blind procurement won’t work because agents would go around the tender committee and ask MINDEF or MOF to intervene. Example: SPH where MOF not only overruled the Army’s request for open tender, MOF appointed a vendor directly. LCA where for some weird reason, Hurjet which is still in development without a flying plane is considered a candidate. I’m sure we will see weird decisions in the MALE, MPA, LMS2 and MERAD decisions. All because someone managed to inject itself into the decision making process. You want to fix the system, get rid of the agent system. But it won’t happen because its part of the affirmative action policy.

  18. Kel – “Hurjet which is still in development without a flying plane is considered a candidate”

    No as of August 2022 it is not a “candidate”. It hasn’t been officially rejected but neither is it a “candidate” and you shouldn’t assume so.

    Kel -“I’m sure we will see weird decisions in the MALE, MPA, LMS2 and MERAD decisions”

    Irrespective of you “being sure” the reality is that the preferred contender for the MPA and UAS requirement is respectively the ATR and Anka.

    Kel – “You want to fix the system, get rid of the agent system”

    That’s a simplistic and inaccurate statement. I know you’ve got it pretty well figured out [or think you do] but the system is too deeply ingrained and far reaching for there to be any easy or fast fixes. The “agent system” [as you put it] is merely a single element of the whole system; not the only or main impediment in us moving forward. The very mindset we have on defence; where we place our priorities; the whole procurement process starting from the top and other things are also major flaws and are part of the system.

    Kel – “What I do know based on the declassified report is, even by BNS’s own admission, the Gowind design was still in development by DCNS”

    One doesn’t need any report to know that Sigma was around far earlier than Gowind and a more matured design/platform.

  19. @kel
    I hate to repeat myself and since you had not answered my “proven” question I will not carry on this discussion if you have nothing new to add or rebut me with.

    Meanwhile, blind procurement is standard practice in the private sector to mitigate any hanky panky. The enduser has no say on who the selected as long it meets their requirements, the selection committee cannot be influenced to choose a wrong product as it would not meet the tender criteria. Agents and lobbyists will certainly be around but they will have to work hard to make their proposals genuinely attractive. Whichever the case, it is a win for the enduser and the buyer. Since we can’t change the system, then make it work for us.

  20. @joe

    I thought blind procurement is what leads to this disasters? No?

    Cost & specification wise there’s not much difference to sigma vs gowind, tacticos vs setis, essm vs mica er nor exocet vs NSM.

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