No additional funds for first LCS – Minister

Malaysia's littoral combat ship under construction.

KUALA LUMPUR – There will be no additional funds allocated if the first littoral combat ship (LCS) of Royal Malaysian Navy is not completed on schedule, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He said his focus now is to ensure that the first LCS can be completed soon.

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“If the party concerned cannot hand over this ship within the specified time with the existing provisions, how can we be confident that they can meet our needs for the other ships.

“So I want to see what has been planned, what has been presented to the cabinet as well as what I have answered in Dewan Negara can be completed and the test is the first ship. This first ship will not receive the latest injection of funds,” he said.

He told a news conference after attending a Jalur Gemilang Flag Launching Ceremony in conjunction with the National Month Celebration at the Defence Ministry and the 50th Golden Jubilee of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), at Wisma Pertahanan, here today.

However, Hishammuddin did not rule out additional funds for the construction of the next LCS.

“Prove to me that we can complete the first ship (LCS) first. If the first ship cannot even be completed as per agenda under our plan now, there is no point in thinking about additional funds,” he said.

He said claims that there were no progress in the construction of this LCS is untrue, as this asset is in various stages of construction.

“The important thing is, we all hope there is honest planning and presentation. The first ship, the second and so on. There are other plans such as the construction of a second littoral mission ship (LMS), but we hope it can be fulfilled and delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy,” he said.

On the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), Hishammuddin said all matters are being discussed in the Cabinet meeting and will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for his views.

Yesterday, Hishammuddin while winding up the debate on the motion on the LCS project in Dewan Negara said he would bring the proposal by several Senators regarding the establishment of an RCI to investigate the LCS scandal to the cabinet today.