KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The controversial littoral combat ships (LCS) are expected to hit the waters as soon as July 2024, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said.
He said the RM9 billion procurement project is an important asset to the country and navy’s defences and must be continued to ensure at least four ships will be completed.
“Our mission is to complete the ship. We will base our consideration purely on commercial considerations. We want to make sure the ships will be completed.
“Even if we can’t complete six ships, four ships are good enough. I promise the ships will sail while I am (still) in the ministry,” he said when delivering his new year’s message at Wisma Pertahanan this morning.
Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said he will continue the efforts made by the ministry to see the project through.
“We will take this to the Finance and Economic Ministries for further consideration and discuss the full picture (of the project),” he said.
He added that the ministry will continue its procurement of the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Medium-Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (MALG UAS), while the procurement of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) is likely to be completed by the end of the year.
The Defence Ministry is expected to receive an allocation of RM17.4 billion in Budget 2023.
Of that sum, Mohamad said RM11.4 billion will be channelled into maintaining expenses and RM5.9 billion will go to housing assistance for veterans.
The LCS project came under scrutiny last year after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that not a single ship had been delivered despite RM6.08 billion already paid.
According to PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh, five ships were expected to be completed and delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) in August 2022