KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today urged the Ministry of Defence to stop phase six of the littoral combat ship (LCS) procurement and instead use the RM571 million allocation to help poor people and solve the Malaysian Army (ATM) veterans pensions issue.
He said while Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that the project will continue, all the LSC has yet to be completed and phase six of the project — amounting to RM571 million is still unpaid and there is zero per cent progress according to the LCS report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released today.
“The ongoing project will continue...the next phase, which is yet to start. We must stop this, we have to arrest the problem, stop this nonsense, and the half of billion (Ringgit) should be spent for the welfare of retirees and veterans from ATM,” he told a press conference at the Parliament today.
Anwar who highlighted the LCS issue at every single Parliament sitting since September last year congratulated the PAC for “identifying this major fiasco” involving the defence contract that has widespread ramifications on the Defence Ministry’s capabilities and national security.
According to the report, phase 1 of the LCS cost RM1.427 billion of which RM0.91 billion has been paid for and have 44 per cent of physical progress, Phase 2 (RM1.237 billion cost, RM0.747 billion paid for and 35 per cent progress), Phase 3 (RM1.122 billion cost, RM0.599 billion paid for and 32 per cent progress), Phase 4 (RM0.89 billion cost, RM0.432 billion paid and 27 per cent progress), and Phase 5 (RM0.71 billion cost, RM 0.257 billon paid and 16 per cent progress).
Earlier today, PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the Defence Ministry and the ministry’s owned Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) had ignored the navy’s views on the LCS project.
He said the initial Sigma model ships chosen by the navy were approved by the Defence Ministry only for this to be changed to the Gowind design on July 11, 2011, after BNS recommended it to the then defence minister three days earlier.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was among the top officials summoned by the PAC, was the defence minister in 2011.
The others summoned included current Defence Minister Hishammuddin, Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Muez Abd Aziz, former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, and current Navy chief Tan Sri Mohd Reza Sany as well as BNS’ chief operating officer.
Wong pointed out that not a single ship had been completed although RM6 billion had been spent by Putrajaya over the project given to BNS via direct negotiations, adding that the navy should have received five of the ships by August.