LUMUT, April 26 -- The Defence Ministry plans to add 13 more Fast Interceptor Crafts (FIC) costing over RM120 million to further strengthen the security of Malaysia’s waters.
Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has received six such boats worth RM80 million on March 19.
“This is the first phase of the FIC delivery and we plan to add another 13 soon. The FICs will help the entire team, not only under Op Benteng but also other (security) tasks,” he told a media conference after watching an FIC demonstration at Jeti Peluru, Lumut naval base today.
The FICs, built by Gading Marine Industry (M) Sdn Bhd (GMI), have been placed under the Fast Combat Boat (FCB) squadron and tasked with providing maritime support to naval ships under Op Benteng to increase monitoring and intercepting abilities in shallow waters.
The FICs are equipped with two main engines utilising a water jet propulsion system and are capable of reaching a maximum speed of over 50 knots. Managed by a five-man crew, the FIC is capable of carrying up to eight Quick Reaction Force (QRF) personnel at any one time.
Elaborating, Ismail Sabri said the navy would use six boats throughout the country’s waters, including Sabah.
“We will use them immediately and we view their capabilities as an achievement as the company could complete the boats within five months,” he said.
Meanwhile, when asked on the status of the littoral combat ship (LCS) project that has been suspended for the past two years, Ismail Sabri said the matter would be brought to the Cabinet’s attention soon.
"The LCS will be brought up at the Cabinet meeting to get approval on what should be done. There are two options. (the first of which is) to allow Boustead to continue the project, with several new directions being forwarded.
"If the Cabinet does not agree, we might cancel and appoint another company. So far, we are still sticking to the first choice, for Boustead to continue the project.
"I cannot reveal additional information about the direction as we need to bring it up to the Cabinet first this week or next week. The choice (made) is expected to resolve the crisis, including the welfare of workers involved in the project,” he explained.
It was reported yesterday that Pangkor assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said 200 vendors and contractors have closed down due to the suspension of the project.
In December last year, the Defence Ministry was reported to have launched an in-depth investigation into the failure of Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) to deliver six LCS worth RM9 billion to the RMN.
According to initial plans, two of the six LCS were supposed to have been delivered but, as of July 30, 2020 not a single ship had been completed.
Ismail Sabri had earlier officiated a mini petrol kiosk that was completed last year and spent time visiting two naval personnel with disabilities.
One of them, Petty Officer Zaharin Rosland, 39, suffered a stroke while on duty at the Kapal Diraja (KD) Malaya environment office in 2018, which resulted in partial paralysis on the right side of the body.
Another personnel, Petty Officer Asrul Nizam Ahmad, 36, suffered partial paralysis to his hand and left leg after suffering a blood clot in the head after hitting his head in the engine room while carrying out maintenance work in 2017.
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