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ARKIB : 06/06/2002

Malaysia buys two new submarines

NAJIB Tun Razak (C) witnessing the exchanging of documents between Hashim Meon and Phillipe Japiot (2nd R) at the signing of contract documents between the Goverment of Malaysia and DCN International, France; IZAR of Spain and Perimekar Sdn Bhd for the supply of two units of Scorpene Submarine, integrated logistics support and training for the Royal Malaysian Navy in Kuala Lumpur, June 5. Insert: Undated illustration shows an image of Scorpene SSK submarines. - Bernamapix.


KUALA LUMPUR June 5 - The Malaysian government today finalised a contract for the purchase of two new Scorpene-class submarines for the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM).

The new generation medium-sized submarines are developed by DCN International (DCNI) of France and Spanish shipmaker Izar and will be delivered to the TLDM in five to six years.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the purchase of both submarines had cost about 1.04 billion euro (RM3.1 billion to RM3.4 billion) while the value will depend on currency exchange as payment will be fulfilled within a six or seven-year time frame.

"This serves as a contract that is beneficial to the country and for the development of the TLDM," he told the media after witnessing the signing for the purchase between relevant parties here.

The Defence Ministry was represented by Secretary-General Datuk Hashim Meon, DCNI by its President and CEO Philippe Japiot, while Izar was represented by its Chairman and CEO Jose Antonio Casanova.

Also present was local company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd which was represented by its director Datuk Lodin Wok Kamaruddin. Perimekar is involved in providing project services for TLDM.

The first submarine will be developed in Cherbourg, France, while the second will be developed in Cartagena, Spain, and will be serviceable in 2008.

Najib said 50 percent of the contract value would be in the form of counter-trade and an "off-set" programme.

This involves transfer of technology and training amounting to 69 million euros, palm oil deals (230 million euros) and counter-trade of products and other services (92 million euros).

Najib said DCNI will also present the TLDM with an overhauled submarine, the Agosta 70, that requires upgrading.

Najib said the overhauled Agosta will be used as a training platform pending the delivery of the first submarine.

On the Scorpene submarine, Najib said it possessed the latest technology that was found in nuclear-armed submarines and the strategic nuclear ballistic guided missile submarines owned by the French navy.

He said it was designed for various missions such as anti-submarine operations, anti-surface, special operations and intelligence gathering.

The submarine is equipped with an integrated combat system and is capable of launching anti-mines guided missiles.

Najib said an important aspect was the training scope that was comprehensive and highly professional.

He said some 180 TLDM personnel will undergo training in France and locally for two to four years.

Najib said the government, which had received offers from several countries, decided on the purchase after it was deemed suitable for the needs of the TLDM and the country.

The purchase would also generate the domestic economy with the transfer of technology that will benefit local industries.

The minister said the six to seven year repayment period would not burden the country while the repayment system would reduce the outflow of funds from the country.

He said the TLDM base currently under construction in Teluk Sepanggar in Sabah would be the main base for the submarines.

Najib said the purchase was crucial for Malaysia's defence as the country had a wide expanse of territorial waters.

He said it was also part of the modernisation process of the Malaysian armed forces and was not aimed at competing with any parties.

"We are not competing with anyone. I don't know why people make such an issue each time we buy something," he said.

Each submarine will have a 35-member crew.

"The purchase of the submarines is in line with the upgrading of the functions of the TLDM. The navy will have improved capabilities and will be a force to reckon with," he added.

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