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Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin (2nd left) speaks to officers of the first littoral mission ship (LMS) in Jalan Padang Tembak. Pix by KHAIRULL AZRY BIDIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Twelve Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) officers and personnel will be spending 37 months in Wuhan, China, where they will be involved with the building of RMN's first littoral mission ship (LMS).

They will be joined by nine Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd's engineers who will be learning the ropes of ship-building.

Of the deal with China to procure four LMS, two will be built at the Wuhan Shipyard while the other two are to be built in Lumut, Perak, through a joint-venture between Boustead and China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Co. Ltd.

RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said besides strengthening defence diplomacy with China, enabling Boustead to venture into ship-building is also one of the programme's biggest return of investment.

"Now Boustead does maintenance, repair and overhaul. With this programme, they can be more competent and expand to building ships and exports," he said.

The building of the first LMS will commence in 2019. Depending on the country's financial situation, Ahmad Kamarulzaman said RMN hoped to have a total of 18 LMS within 30 years.

He spoke to reporters today after meeting with the LMS project team members and their families who will be following the officers to Wuhan.

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