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No extra funds for first combat ship, says defence minister

Hishammuddin Hussein says the first littoral combat ship will be a test of whether what has been planned can be fulfilled.

Bernama
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A worker stands inside the first littoral combat ship which is still under construction in Lumut, Perak.
A worker stands inside the first littoral combat ship which is still under construction in Lumut, Perak.

No additional funds will be allocated if the first littoral combat ship (LCS) for the navy is not completed on schedule, says Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said his focus now was to ensure that the first LCS could be completed soon.

"If the parties concerned cannot hand over this ship within the specified time with the existing provisions, how can we be confident that they can meet our needs for the other ships?

"So I want to see that what has been planned, what has been presented to the Cabinet, as well as what I have answered in Dewan Negara can be completed. The test is the first ship. This first ship will not receive the latest injection of funds," he said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

However, he did not rule out the possibility of additional funds for the construction of the next LCS.

"Prove to me that we can complete the first ship first. If the first ship cannot even be completed as per agenda under our plan now, there is no point thinking about additional funds," he said.

He also refuted claims of a lack of progress in the construction of the LCS.

"The important thing is, we all hope there is honest planning and presentation. The first ship, the second and so on. There are other plans such as the construction of a second littoral mission ship, but we hope it can be fulfilled and delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy," he said.

On the possibility of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI), Hishammuddin said all matters were discussed in the Cabinet meeting and would be presented to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah for his views.

On Tuesday, Hishammuddin said while winding up the debate on the motion on the LCS project in the Dewan Negara that he would bring the proposal by several senators regarding the establishment of an RCI to investigate the LCS scandal to the Cabinet the following day.

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