Mat Sabu, Chin Tong call for declassification of three documents linked to LCS scandal

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Without declassifying the documents many questions will remain unanswered.

  • Zahid allegedly approved project as defence minister in 2011
  • Najib purportedly influenced the change of ship designs

Former defence minister Mohamad Sabu and his former deputy Liew Chin Tong today demanded the declassification of three documents as part of the solution for the multibillion-ringgit littoral combat ships (LCS) scandal.

The documents that the pair called to be declassified in a joint statement are: the Tan Sri Ambrin Buang committee report titled “Special Investigation Committee on Public Governance, Procurement and Finance (JKSTUPKK) Report in Connection with the Procurement of Six Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV), LCS Capacity, Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), Malaysian Ministry of Defence (Mindef)”; Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd’s forensic report on the LCS commissioned in 2019; and the 10 letters written by the former Commander of the RMN Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.

“To find solutions and the way forward, we urge Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the government of Malaysia to decide at the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday to declassify the following documents for the nation to understand the problem.

“Without the following documents being declassified, many questions will remain unanswered,” said the Amanah president and the Johor DAP chairman.

Yusof Mat Isa

The first report contains detailed financial information that is not fully disclosed in the report by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), they said.

The BNS forensic report, which was conducted by audit firm Alliance IFA, was deemed crucial as it contains details of “exactly who was culpable at the operational alliance”.

Earlier today, the Hishammuddin told the Dewan Negara that the first of six littoral combat ships (LCS) purchased from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) should be ready no later than two years from now.

Last week, he revealed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was investigating the matter.

The LCS project is the largest procurement in the history of Mindef with a total cost of RM9 billion.

Earlier, Liew called out Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for denying he was involved in the LCS project fiasco.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Liew claimed that it was Zahid who approved the project in his capacity as defence minister in 2011.

“Ahmad Zahid must take responsibility for the misappropriation of funds and the failure of the LCS project,” said Liew, who was the deputy defence minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration.

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said Zahid will be called by the committee early next month to testify.

Meanwhile, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said it is impossible for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to disassociate himself from the LCS project scandal.

He pointed out that there could be interference of a higher-up when the then Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid decided to change the initial Sigma model ships to the Gowind design supplied by DCNS (French naval defence company).

He said such a move implied an intervention from a party higher than the Defence Minister himself.

This is why the former Pandan member of Parliament had earlier said that Najib cannot run away and absolve himself from the scandal.

“The only political leader who has the power to influence the change of ship designs, and at the same time, has a relationship history with DCNS is Najib Razak, through the purchase of Scorpene submarines.

“Firstly, he was more powerful than the Defence Minister at that time to influence the decision to change the ship design so that the French sub-contractor, which is DCNS, would be chosen.

“Secondly, he has a personal record in choosing DCNS (and DCNS ally, Thales) for major national projects.

“Apart from the Scorpene submarine project and the LCS ship, Thales fell into a controversy in 2021 when it was involved in the LRT project award to George Kent scandal (a pipe manufacturing company which did not have experience in building the LRT).

“I will see how Najib would answer these questions,” said Rafizi on Facebook today.

He vowed to continue to expose misappropriations which saw no ships completed so far.