Declassify 3 documents on LCS, says Mat Sabu, Liew

by AZREENHANI/ PIC BY TMR

THREE documents pertaining to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) should be declassified by the Cabinet to find solutions to the RM9 billion scandal.

Former Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu or commonly known as Mat Sabu (picture) and his deputy, Liew Chin Tong said without the declassification of these documents, many questions about the scandal will remain unanswered.

“First, we endorse the suggestion of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Tan Sri Ambrin Buang Committee report “Laporan JKSTUPKK berhubung Perolehan Enam Buah Second Generation Patrol Vessel, Berkeupayaan LCS Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, Kementerian Pertahanan Malaysia (Mindef)” be fully declassified. (PAC Report, Point 12.1, page 168). The report contains detailed financial information that is not fully disclosed in the PAC report,” they said in a statement today.

Second, they asked the government, especially Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to declassify the Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd’s (BNS) forensic report on LCS commissioned in 2019. The audit was conducted by audit firm Alliance IFA (M) Sdn Bhd.

“This forensic report is crucial as it contains details of exactly who was culpable at the operational level,” they said.

“Third, declassify the 10 letters by former Navy Chief Laksamana Tan Sri Dr Abdul Aziz Jaafar, who was at the helm from April 1, 2008 until Nov 17, 2015.”

According to both Mat Sabu and Liew, Abdul Aziz had told the PAC to look into the procurement conduct of the project.

Abdul Aziz had told the PAC that “something is gravely wrong” and that he has registered his “greatest disappointment to everyone that was supposed to be listening to me.”

Last week the PAC announced it has found that the government has paid a total of RM6.08 billion for the LCS project, but not a single ship has been delivered.

According to the original schedule, as of August 2022, five ships should be completed and handed over to the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM).

Instead, the cost of the LCS has increased 50%, bringing the total cost of the project to RM9 billion.

Originally, the design of the Sigma-type ship chosen by the TLDM was approved by Mindef. The decision was changed to the GOWIND type ship design on July 11, 2011, at the suggestion of BNS, which was brought to Mindef on July 8, 2011.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin told Dewan Negara during the supplementary question today that he expects the first LCS to be ready within two years.

“I said at least within a year or two, I hope we will be able to complete the first ship,” he said in response to a query from Senator Datuk Razali Idris.

Mat Sabu and Liew stressed that it is distressing to read the admiral’s words.

“The then Prime Minister and Finance Minister was Datuk Seri Najib Razak whereas the then Defence Minister was Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, both decided to turn a blind eye to his warning,” they added.

“For the sake of finding a solution for the multi-billion LCS scandal, the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday must agree to classify these letters and documents.” — TMR/pic by TMR