Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The recent announcement by Defence Minister Dato Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi regarding the intended construction of six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) at an estimated cost of RM6 billion has generated enough debate by the opposition, bloggers, defence analyst, ordinary man on the streets, and the latest being the Navy Chief himself. I view this as a healthy debate as it only shows that Malaysians are alert concern with the developments surrounding them, and more so if it involves public spending; especially that of defence spending.

As a retired military person, I would not hesitate to support the local defence industry and particularly if it involves high technology transfers. In the case of the construction of the LCS, or for that matter any other navy vessels, one must understand that Malaysia seriously needs to a strong navy as the country is a maritime nation.

Malaysia has several ship building companies, but the construction of a navy vessel is not as simple as building a leisure yacht or even a cruise ship. This is something that is not well understood by most people, as a navy vessel is grossly different for other ship. I think the Navy Chief in his press conference held today has enumerated in great detail as to why the cost of building the LCS locally is exorbitant.

One ought to be aware that although BNS has recently delivered Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), this does not mean that they are now competent and are experts in building more sophisticated navy vessels. Indeed, if one were to understand what an LCS entails and the technology that goes into building such a vessel, one will at once realize the substantial differences in the makeup and configuration of the OPV and the LCS. More significantly, the OPV and LCS have vastly different roles and tasks.

I am informed that BNS would be collaborating with a number of established internationally renowned shipbuilding companies. This in itself is already a costly affair as it also involves technology transfers and various aspects of sophisticated equipment integration that would make the LCS a awesome fighting navy vessel.

I believe the idea of building the LCS locally is not something that had just appeared from the sky. It must have gone through long drawn discussions, fore thought and taking cognizance of the long drawn development plan of the RMN. Let's hope too that once the LCS has been successfully built, Malaysian can proudly say that the country now has the full capacity to built larger and more sophisticated navy vessels and ships, thus contributing to the defence self relience that the country aspires.

Our RMN truly deserve the best as its role in the defence of our sea frontier is critical to the defence of the mainland. You breach the sea frontier; you breach the mainland as well.



maurice said...

It is quite understandable why BNS should get the LCS project.

My argument is that if we want the best for our Navy it is better to buy a proven LCS from the global market in open tender procurement.That way we will get the best and eliminate a lot of uncertainties normally associated with such mega project.

I suspect BNS will very much dependent on foreign manufacturers and suppliers for the various systems needed to build the LCS.Even local vendors will have to rely on their foreign suppliers for the parts and components which they want to offer to BNS for the project.Very few of the local vendors could provide parts which are 100% made in Malaysia.

anwa said...

salam uncle...
nice blog & input...
my regards to aunt.
do drop by at my site at

Sammy said...

Dear Sir, I believe its cheaper to buy the ships form proven countries like the US, UK, Sweden, Italy, Norway, France or maybe China and South Korea at a much cheaper price. Why burden the rakyat with more spending on new hardware? Yes, we need ships to patrol our coastline and not forgetting we need to buy helis to accompany these ships as well...RM1 billion or USD 328 is simply too much!!

Please think from the perpective or the guy on the street who has to feed his family from his low income after the taxman takes away a large chunk.

wira said...

I agree with Maurice in regard to obtaining the best 'value for money' combat ships from the global market, but disagree with his view that BSN should be denied the opportunity to partake in the local defence industry.
True, BSN will be dependent on foreign suppliers for such like things as materials and engineering components, but who isn't?
Even the China Shipbuilding Corporation, currently the world's biggest shipbuilders by tonnage adopt a similar philiusophy.
Actually, on this isseu the pertinent questions to ask should be: Why change the name from OPV to LCS? Are they any different in terms of size, shape ,capacity and combat capability?
To an uninformed land-lubber like me, they are just ships, slightly nder-armed, similar or slightly smaller than Frigates but bigger than the retired Kedah class RMN Patrol Boats.
Why call them anything other than Patrol Vessels or boats? For all intents and purposes, we can call them Large Patrol Vessels!!!
Why confuse everyone?
The next question to be asked is what happened to NDSB, the privatised Naval Shipyard helmed by none other than Amin Shah? (a Mahathir and Daim crony)
Why were they unable to deliver all the 6 OPVs that they were contracted to build and why was LTAT tasked to bail out the loss-making Shipyard using Soldiers' money?
Clearly, the award to build 6 more LCS to BSN is nothing more than an extension of the NDSB recovery programme, this time using public money to replace soldiers money used to cover-up the hole made by Amin Shah.
At the end of the day, who loses??
Finally, the question that continue to beg for answers is?
Why was Amin Shah not prosecuted?
Your guess is as good as mine...
Malaysia apapun boleh...

atsixty said...

Assalammualaikum Dato, saya agak gundah gulana melihat artikel Dato sebulan dua ini agak berlainan tempo dan iramanya...nadanya agak lebih condong kepada pemerintahan UBN.. kenapa Dato? Ada masalah ke? Atau telah diberi AMARAN?...Saya dan kawan kawan di Facebook juga diblog amat kesal dengan kenyataan yang ada dalam blog Dato itu.

Kamal Sanusi said...

Just wonder, why there is no open tender for global market in which we will for sure get a best quality at better price.

Just wonder why giving to a local company which has proven their inability to deliver as what being determined in the contract.

Just wonder why the blog owner suddenly change. O.I.C, people change maaa as time goes by. This couple with possibility his company was appointed as a vendor.

And so many more JUST WONDER....


Ygrazlan said...

I agree that we need to support to have the LCS but don't you think its a bit too excessive in its price tag and do you think some element of commission involved here?

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Atsixty,

Rest assured, I will remain apolitical till I die. Politics dan bagi memihak pada mana mana parti politik bukan ada pada diri saya.
Komen atau tulisan saya ikhlas dari hati saya. Kalau ia tidak benar atau kelihatan condong pada mana mana pehak, itu berlaku secara kebetulan, dan bukan atas desakan dari sesiapa.

maurice said...

A Korean friend told me one of the main reasons why Korea is successful with its shipbuilding and automobile industry is because Korea has one of the best steel industry in the world.He said without a good steel industry it is very difficult for Malaysia to build good-quality cars or for that matter warships at competitive price.He acknowledges Germany has the best steel industry in the world, that is the main reason their Mercedes and BMWs could last more than 20 years.

Since we have to import almost everything for the construction of the LCS to meet the Navy's specs, naturally the price becomes very expensive.

Magenta Comm said...

Welcome back Sir!

Major Ramli Abdul Rahim (Rtd) RMAF
Ex-RMAF Press Liaison Officer

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Maurice,

We should learn from the Singapore experience in building up its defence industry. They have vitually nothing in terms of material resources; but are extremely strong in their human capital and the will to emerge a strong and developed nation.
Why can't we learn from them? This is what puzzles me.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Ramli,

I am envious of you because you are able to write so well and have several books to your credit. Wonder how could I get a copy of your books.

talldark said...


Setengah orang ni nak baca yang negatif je, macam tak ada yang baik kerajaan buat. Janganlah kerana wujud fahaman politik atau sebagainya, kita nak menolak yang benar.

jadilah manusia yang berpijak ke alam nyata. Jangan asyik macam lagu ...oh bangau...oh bangau...

komando said...

money money money....who gets the money?