KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang today welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to declassify reports on the RM9 billion littoral combat ships (LCS) for the navy amid increasing criticism that it is turning into the country’s next financial scandal after 1MDB.
But the Iskandar Puteri MP said the government should do more than just declassify the report of the Committee on Procurement, Governance and Finance chaired by former Auditor-General Ambrin Buang and the report from a forensic audit on the LCS project.
“The Cabinet must go one step further — to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry not only to bring the wrongdoers to book but to find the best solution to the RM9 billion LCS scandal to protect the security and sovereignty of the nation,” he said in a statement.
“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the RM9 billion LCS scandal should be a best-seller, as it is an absorbing horror stories of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, mismanagement and criminality in the public service,” he added.
The DAP politician who previously noted concerns of “hidden hands” behind the delay of the construction of the military asset today blamed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for it.
“Now I understand why Najib had been so active on his Facebook in the past week to defend the RM9 billion LCS scandal and even to blame the Pakatan Harapan for the scandal,” Lim said.
He said the Pekan MP’s reply to Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching yesterday provided proof that Najib was pulling strings of the LCS project behind the scenes.
“He was not only the prime minister and the finance minister at the relevant time of the procurement of the six LCS, but he was defence minister twice, the first time from year 1991 to 1995 and the second time from year 2000 to 2008,” Lim said.
He noted that Najib’s successor as defence minister from 2009 to 2013 was Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who overturned the Navy’s recommendation to procure Signma LCS from the Dutch and in favour of the French-made Gowind LCS.
“Now, the cat is out of the bag and everything is clear — Zahid had acted on the instruction of Najib as prime minister and finance minister in utter disregard of the views and objections of the end-user, the navy,” Lim said.
He also compared Malaysia’s LCS project to Egypt’s, pointing out that the latter country had already received two of its four vessels despite procuring them later.
Egypt made its procurement in 2014 while Malaysia started in 2011, according to Lim.
He also pointed out that all six of Malaysia’s LCSs have been named but not one has been delivered.
“Thanks to Najib Razak, the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia who caused national infamy for Malaysia to be regarded worldwide as a kleptocracy, Malaysia is even losing out to Egypt which has two Gowind LCS in operation although Egypt was later than Malaysia in deciding to buy the Gowind LCS,” he said.
“Can Najib explain why the first Egyptian Gowind LCS took 29 months to be constructed, while the first Malaysian Gowind LCS needs to take some 10 years to be completed?” he asked.