LCS report: Mindef sided with BNS, not RMN

KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry sided with Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) instead of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), the end-user for the six littoral combat ships (LCS) ordered by the government.

The report published by the Special Investigation Committee on Public Governance, Procurement and Finance (JKSTUPKK) revealed that Mindef had failed to prioritise the RMN in choosing the design of the ships.

According to the report that was declassified today, the Navy chief at the time, Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar had initially written a letter to the Mindef secretary-general asking the latter to explain the benefits and weaknesses of the Sigma design and Combat Management System (CMS) Tacticos which were chosen by RMN.

On the other hand, the report said, BNS had given its reasons in supporting another design, Gowind, in a letter dated Aug 3, 2011.

"However, Mindef's Equipment Procurement Monitor and Service Committee had met on Aug 12, 2011, and accepted BNS's recommendation to choose the Gowind design for LCS procurement.

"The decision by Mindef was made without first referring to or discussing with RMN as the end user.

"According to the Navy admiral, a situation where the contractor gets to choose the design instead of the end-user, has never happened before.

"Mindef did not prioritise the interests and views of RMN as the end user but was more inclined toward BNS's suggestion," the report read.

At the time, the defence minister was Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The report further revealed that the Navy chief had also said that the quotation process went against the standard practice of the international tendering process.

The Navy chief said that there were elements of data evaluation manipulation by the BNS deputy assessor in providing "misrepresentation" of information to the BNS board of directors.

"This happened during the Analysis on BNS Evaluation for CMS to RMN on July 11, 2011."

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