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Work Begins on Sabah Submarine Base (12 Oct 2002)

KOTA KINABALU - Construction work has started on the RM600-million (S$284-million) navy base in Sabah's Sepanggar Bay, which will be the main base for the submarines to be acquired by Malaysia according to Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak.

About 17 per cent of the initial construction work had been completed while site preparatory work was being carried out.

The actual construction work on the base would begin in December and is expected to be completed in five years before Malaysia took delivery of the submarines.

Malaysia signed a contract in June last year to buy two new conventional Scorpene-series submarines valued at RM3.1 billion to RM3.4 billion from DCN International of France and Izar of Spain.

The first submarine will join the Royal Malaysian Navy in 2007 and the second in the following year.

The purchase is meant to boost the navy's capacity to police the country's long and porous border.

The Scorpene SSK was selected from several other bids because of its high-technology features which include an integrated combat system with torpedo launcher, according to Malaysian officials.

It is also designed for missions ranging from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare to special operations and intelligence gathering.