KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — The government should reinstate the Public Governance, Procurement and Government Finance Investigation Committee (JKSTUPKK) that audited the littoral combat ship (LSC) project given that its report will be declassified, said a former defence minister and his deputy.
Ex-minister Mohamad Sabu and his deputy, Liew Chin Tong, also recommended former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang to lead the committee that had been formed after Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government in 2018.
They added that the committee had comprised experts in law, accounting, auditing and military, while its secretariat included senior civil servants.
"Within a period of approximately three years, the JKSTUPKK completed 39 investigations covering nine ministries, especially the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
“This impressive achievement is the result of the hard work of Tan Sri Ambrin Buang together with five members of the committee and the secretariat team," Mohamad and Liew said in a joint statement.
They added that Mindef had also issued a letter of appreciation to JKSTUPKK on May 9, 2019 for presenting 16 investigation reports on the land swap issue between May and December 2018, involving almost 3,000 acres of Mindef land worth RM4.8 billion.
Despite its achievements, they noted that the committee was dissolved and its members released after July 2021.
"In regards to the prime minister's announcement to publicly release the JKSTUPKK report on the LCS project, we would like to call for him and the government to restore the function and role of JKSTUPKK soonest, with Ambrin Buang as the chairman to ensure the continuity of the investigation work," they said.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the Cabinet has proposed declassifying the JKSTUPKK report on the LCS project pending a review by the attorney general and current auditor-general.
Mohamed and Liew previously demanded the declassification of the report along with an independent forensic audit commissioned by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd in 2019 and 10 related letters former Navy Commander Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar wrote to the government.
The LCS project is the largest procurement in the history of Mindef with a total cost of RM9 billion.
The matter was brought to public attention after Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee tabled its report saying over RM6 billion of the contract for six LCS has been paid out with none delivered with just one year remaining in the 10-year deal.
It also found cost overruns of the LCS project to have reached RM1.4 billion, with RM400 million used to pay old debts from an old patrol vessel project.
The PAC report also said equipment kept in storage for the LCS project is estimated to be worth RM1.7 billion, with an estimated 15 per cent of these already obsolete.