Former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s assertion that the littoral combat ship (LCS) project was delayed due to Pakatan Harapan is a ploy to confuse the public, said Mohamad Sabu and Liew Chin Tong.
In a joint statement, the former defence minister and his former deputy explained that the LCS project had suffered delays since 2016, and until today, a detailed design for the ship had not been finalised.
“The LCS project has been delayed since 2016. The detailed design, which should have been completed in November 2016, has not been finalised until today,” they said.
“The PH government made a decision on the direction of this project in February 2020 based on the Special Investigation Committee on Public Governance, Procurement and Finance (JKSTUPKK) recommendations, but the PH government fell apart in that month as well.
“Najib is trying to mislead the people and blame the PH government when he and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are responsible for the failure of the LCS project — for approving this project without careful consultation with previous experts.”
On Thursday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that not a single ship had been delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy after the government paid the maker, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd, RM6 billion.
According to the original schedule, six ships should have been delivered by this month.
Najib, in a Facebook post blamed PH for causing delays to the LCS project.
“PH delayed the LCS project in 2018, and froze it in 2019 and now they are asking why no ships have been handed over in 2022.
“So how can the ships be ready in time?” he asked.
The LCS should have been 49.12% completed in January 2016, but was only 39.67% completed. By 2020, it should have been 82.41% completed but in actuality, only 56.39% of the work had been done.
With regard to the design of the ship, Liew and Mohamad Sabu said that the concept design started on June 4, 2012 and should have been finalised on January 28, 2013, but was only finalised on September 24, 2014.
Similarly, the finalisation of the basic design was also delayed. According to the contract between BNS and French sub-contractor DCNS (Naval Group), the final design should have been finalised on August 6, 2014, but until today, this had not been finalised.
After taking over in 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government had commissioned former auditor-general Ambrin Buang to carry out a series of investigations into government procurement and finances.
Ambrin told the PAC in December 2020 that normally one would sign the contract after the final design had been approved, which is why it has led to so many problems now.
Liew and Mohamad Sabu said that in an attempt to save the LCS project, PH at the time had met with armed forces chief Affendi Buang, Navy chief Reza Sany, chief secretary to the government Zuki Ali and other senior officers to brief then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the development of the LCS on February 11, 2020.
Dr Mahathir, according to Liew and Mohamad Sabu had then decided that those implicated in the wrongdoing must be prosecuted, the BNS team should be overhauled, and funds were to be injected into the project to replace funds that had been siphoned out.
“The Ministry of Defence was instructed to present a cabinet paper. Unfortunately, what was planned did not happen following the Sheraton Move that brought down the PH government,” they said. – TMI