SHAH ALAM: Out in the open. The parliament started its second session after the May 9 general elections on Monday (Oct. 15) with the 2019 budget expected to be table this November 2. The government is also expected to table the mid-term review of the RMK11 during the same session. So far no one has said in detail what the budget will be though both the PM and Finance Minister had said it will be a painful one.
Defence Ministry I have been told will be gutted so much that even the grown men there will crying buckets of tears. What that’s really means is beyond me at the moment, so I guess we will have to wait until the budget is announced.
Anyhow, the previous government had said that the next procurement project for the RMN will be the long sought after Multi Role Support Ship (MRSS) one of the five type of ships identified under the service’s 15 to 5 transformation plan. With work on LMS and LCS underway, the MRSS project will be the third one to be funded though that has been put in choppy waters following the May 9 general elections.
The industry remains hopeful that the project will be continued with the shipyard and design are now expected to be chosen through an open competition. Just a few months ago, everyone thought BNS will get the job but the blowing winds is boosting the sails of its competitors.
I was told that five other shipyards, two in Sabah and Sarawak with the other three in the peninsula – are prepping in case the MRSS gets funded and an open tender will be called. This remains a guessing game however as the industry has yet to be told how much will be allocated for next year, whether it will include the MRSS and the rest of RMK11. In the past the industry will get hints of what to expect but its no longer the case this time around due to the change in government.
Personally, I am guessing that the MRSS will not be funded during the next three years and it will only be done in the next RMK.
As for the design of the MRSS itself, I have been told that all options remained in contention. Yes this means the China, Turkish, French and Indonesian ones are still in the running.
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