The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project scandal has again reached a new climax with a media tour at Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) dockyard on Saturday (13 August).
While the tour was aimed at clearing the claims that the ships are non-existent, it appears that the plan had backfired.
On Saturday (13 August), the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) took reporters and photographers to see 5 littoral combat ships (LCS), which are currently under construction by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), with the first ship 60% completed.
Hari ini @MINDEFMalaysia bawa lebih 20 agensi media ke Lumut utk lihat kapal-kapal LCS yg sudah di peringkat pembinaan, dibawa ke gudang peralatan LCS & diberi taklimat rekabentuk. Lawatan baru bermula. Ini selari dgn ketegasan saya – saya & MINDEF tiada apa hendak disembunyikan. pic.twitter.com/aIsJfgKEkg— Hishammuddin Hussein 🇲🇾 (@HishammuddinH2O) August 13, 2022
During the visit, BNS Chief Executive Officer Ir Azhar Jumaat gave updates on the other LCSs stationed at the Royal Malaysian Navy Base (TLDM) in Lumut, Perak. He revealed that the remaining 4 battleships were at the 48%, 43%, 36% and 22% completion stage.
“Many have claimed that the LCS are non-existent, that they’re made of wood and even that the Sultan of Perak had been misled. All these claims are untrue,” he was quoted as saying by FMT.
“Most importantly, these are not wooden ships, nor replicas. Seeing is believing.”
The LCS project costs a total of about RM9 billion and the government had since paid RM6 billion to the contractor. However, from the pictures taken during the visit, it seems that the battleships looks more like scraps than a vessel.
2017 – Launch 1st LCS depan Sultan Perak— Mo Syafiq AP (@mhmd_syfq) August 13, 2022
2022 – Bawak kawan² dia & media² p tgk kapal yg depa kata ada.
2022 nampak macam scrap ship. 5 tahun pin tak siap lagi. Claimed dah rm6b.
Bangsat betoi. pic.twitter.com/GzKXzhTAe8
Critics on social media pointed out that the ship seemed pretty much the same, if not worse, compared to what it was five years ago when it was presented to VIPs.
At the same time, netizens continued highlighting how the cost ballooned over the years as the project dragged on.
Many also pointed out the RM1.4bil of LCS allocation had been used for other purposes, including cost overruns.
Graf yg tak akan keluar FB Najib & BN.— Syo 🇲🇾🏴 (@forsyo) August 13, 2022
1. Graf kemajuan kerja.Jelas projek LCS tergendala bukan sbb PH.Kontraktor mula stop kerja sbb tak dibayar.
2. Graf pembayaran.52% @ RM4.7b telah dibayar as at Dis 2017.Siapa PM,Menteri Kewangan & Pertahanan?
Mana pergi semua duit ni? pic.twitter.com/M837I8e370
Meanwhile, netizens demanded that UMNO, the dominant member of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, take responsibility for the mistake instead of pushing the blame on the Opposition.
On the other hand, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein gave assurance that government would ensure delivery of the LCS battleships at the end of the day.
He regretted the project’s shortcomings and assured wrongdoers would be brought to justice.
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