Putrajaya's revised plan to build all four littoral mission ships (LMS) in China has saved the government RM122 million, says Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.
He said the decision was made by the Finance Ministry on Oct 29, 2018, following in-depth discussions with the Defence Ministry.
Both ministries had found that such an arrangement would save the government a huge amount of public funds, he said in a parliamentary reply last Thursday.
The original RM1.17 billion LMS contract would have seen two ships locally constructed by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Boustead Holdings Bhd, and two to be built in China by China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Company (CSOC).
The Pakatan Harapan government had revised the LMS contract after taking over Putrajaya following GE14 and decided all four ships would be built in China which resulted in a revised contract valued at RM1.048 billion.
"The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) planned to purchase a total of 18 LMS in the long run. But that doesn't mean (the contract for) the rest 14 ships will be given to Chinese shipbuilders.
"The navy always supports the government's policy of being open-minded in the procurement of defence assets," he told Oscar Ling (Harapan-Sibu) in his response.
Mohamad said that while Boustead would be involved in the shipbuilding, CSOC is the final authority in the design of the LMS.
"As such, other shipbuilders can still participate in the construction of the LMS shi via a joint-venture with any firms that are willing to share their expertise," he said.
The defence minister added that the experience gained by RMN's project team and Boustead's project management team during the design and the construction of the LMS would greatly benefit both the navy and Boustead.
Ling had asked why all four LMS were being built in China and if the ships would be deployed to protect the sovereignty of Layang-Layang Island, off Sabah.
The DAP lawmaker also asked if there would be any technology transfer from CSOC to Boustead and if the technology would be passed on to other naval shipbuilders in Malaysia.
It was reported that upon completion and acceptance, the first two LMS would be deployed to safeguard the security and sovereignty of Sabah.
Mohamad had said these ships would be operating in Sabah and Sarawak waters, including Layang-Layang Island.