Bilateral meeting with Euronaval on LCS fruitful, says Mindef

KUALA LUMPUR: Several important achievements have come from the Defence Ministry's visit to Euronaval in France to discuss the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project.

A statement from the ministry said that a meeting with the Naval Group promised to give a commitment in an effort to ensure that the LCS project is fully ready within the time frame set by the Malaysian government.

"The naval group also agreed to continue negotiations with Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB) regarding the price.

"This is a very significant and positive development in the LCS project.

"This is happening in tandem with efforts by all parties, especially in this country, to ensure that the LCS project can continue as best as possible in line with the recommendations of stakeholders, who include the cabinet, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the The Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigation Committee (JKSTUPKK)."

The visit followed a directive from Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for the ministry, Royal Malaysian Navy and Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) to hold face-to-face discussions to faciliate the negotiation processes taking place with stakeholders, especially in Europe.

Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Muez Abd Aziz, RMN deputy commander Vice Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob and LTAT chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Nazim Abdul Rahman were involved in discussions in France.

The bilateral meeting was held with Gaël Diaz De Tuesta, who is the director of the International Directorate (DGA) and also involved the French Defence Ministry.

The ministry said the outcome showed that the mobilisation phase of the project was running smoothly and all related parties are performing their respective roles as best as possible.

"With this development, it is expected that all negotiations will be finalised by the end of December. The Defence Ministry will continue to inform the public of the progress of this LCS project from time to time."

The LCS project is reportedly the largest defence procurement in Malaysian history, costing RM9 billion.

The project to build six armed vessels started in 2013 and was supposed to be completed and delivered to the navy by the end of next year.

On Aug 8, the PAC said the government had already paid RM6.083 billion to BNSSB, with not a single vessel delivered despite cost overruns of RM1.4 billion.

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