PETALING JAYA: A group of veterans and retired police officers today urged Putrajaya to let Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) complete the delivery of six littoral combat ships (LCS) instead of getting a French company to take over.
The National Patriots Association (Patriot) added however that this must be done under the supervision of BNS’ parent company, Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC), and the Armed Forces Fund Board.
Patriot president Arshad Raji said the responsibility of building naval vessels should remain with local companies.
“It is not that we do not have capable engineers and shipbuilders. We have.
“Bring in the right people, including some who were with BHIC since the commencement of the LCS project,” he said in a statement.
Last week, the defence ministry said it was considering three options to resolve the delay in delivery as BNS had completed none of the six orders.
These were the appointment of Naval Group France as a rescue contractor to complete at least two LCS units, the completion of at least two units by BNS with the remaining contract ceiling, and the termination of the contract with BNS.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this at the Dewan Rakyat, noting that the overall progress of the project was 56.67% compared to the original plan of 85.73%, a delay of 29.06% or 31.1 months.
Arshad said it should be “easy and plain sailing” for BNS to complete building all six ships.
He added that BNS should be allowed to continue with the project as the ships’ design was a prototype.
“Our design engineers, together with the French, are building it for the first time.
“Keeping the contractor in Malaysian hands will help in competency moulding,” he said.
However, he said the current project team should be replaced, while the BHIC board members involved should resign given their failure to deliver the vessels.
“The business of building ships for our navy is for the real professionals.”