KUALA LUMPUR: The procurement involving the first batch of littoral combat ships (LCS) has been reduced from the previous six to five vessels after the re-application process for the project was carried out.
Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayub said the decision was taken when the government decided to continue with the LCS project.
"It was originally six, but when we submitted the application again and discussed this matter again, we agreed for the LCS to be reduced to five.
"The LCS project is continuing as usual. The implementation (process) is good and a sixth additional agreement will be signed soon.
"This allows for the next process to run and the construction to be carried out as planned," he said at a press conference here today.
Earlier, Rahman delivered his maiden speech after being appointed as the 18th RMN Chief at Wisma Pertahanan, here, today.
Also present were the RMN Deputy Chief, Vice Admiral Datuk Sabri Zali and the Commander of the Western Fleet, Vice Admiral Datuk Abu Bakar Md Ajis.
Rahman is also hopeful that the LCS can be received on schedule because the RMN lacks high-capacity assets.
"With the presence of these LCS, we can carry out tasks in a more accomplished manner," he said.
On Jan 5, Defence minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the government will go ahead with the LCS project as part of strengthening the country and navy's defences.
The LCS project is the largest acquisition in the history of the Defence Ministry, with an overall value of RM9 billion. The contract began in 2013 and was projected to be completed in 10 years.
The Public Accounts Committee, in its report on Aug 4, last year said the government had paid RM6.083 billion to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS), in a deal that was signed via direct negotiation, but not a single vessel has been delivered.
Based on the original schedule, five of the six LCS vessels should have been completed and handed over by Aug last year.