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Malaysia's frigate project to proceed under 10th plan

The Lekiu-Class Frigate Batch 2

LANGKAWI (BNS): The Malaysia government plans to buy Batch 2 Lekiu Frigates after the earlier work done by BAE Systems for the project was suspended.

Funding for the project would come from the 10th Malaysia Plan budget; Bernama news agency said quoting reliable sources. However, it is uncertain whether BAE Systems will still be the main choice for the project.

UK-based BAE Systems had received a letter of intent from the Malaysian Government to procure two new frigates to be based on the Lekiu design but the project could not take off as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, announced deferment of the project citing global economic crisis.

Meanwhile, BAE Systems had conveyed its interest to participate in the project to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Royal Malaysian Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.

“We still want to build the frigates but with the combination of the economic crisis and substantial escalation in supplier prices, we mutually agreed with the Defence Ministry over a year ago to suspend the project.

We have to re-confirm with the Malaysian Navy on their current needs as it has been over a year since we stopped working on the old proposal. The old agreement has lapsed we have to talk again with the Malaysian Government on what they want for the future.”

"Then, we can submit the new proposal," Group Business Development Director Alan Garwood Garwood said in an interview on the sidelines of the 10th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2009.

According to Dr Ahmad Zahid, Batch 2 Lekiu Frigate project was not cancelled but he declined to say when the project would re-start or how long it would take to complete the project.

The Batch 2 frigates are reportedly slightly bigger than "KD Jebat" and "KD Lekiu", the Malaysian Navy's largest surface combatants and are to be armed with new anti-air missile system.

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