KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad has today challenged PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli to produce evidence that the woman linked to the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal was his spouse.
Earlier today, Dr Abdul Latiff took to Facebook to refute having any links to the LCS scandal.
He had also reiterated that none of his wives were named Zainab Mohd Salleh, and that none of his family members were involved in the supply or construction of LCS
In a statement later, the Mersing MP claimed that he was being deliberately targeted by Rafizi and that it was a political ploy by the latter to portray leaders from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia as corrupted and unworthy of being voted as parliamentarians during the general election.
Despite having multiple times explained himself, Dr Abdul Latiff said Rafizi was relentlessly pursuing his “lies” in linking him during his tenure as deputy defence minister to Zainab’s alleged misconduct based on a purported forensic report on Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Berhad.
“If Rafizi is truly confident that Zainab Mohd Salleh is my second wife, please show proof.
“As a Cabinet member, I am prepared to be investigated to uphold the truth I have stated. Stop spreading your slander,” Dr Abdul Latiff said.
Rafizi had previously claimed in a statement that a person named “Zainab Mohd Salleh” was the second wife of Dr Abdul Latiff and the owner of an offshore company which LCS funds were funnelled into.
Today, Dr Abdul Latiff sought to clarify that the alleged forensic report — prepared by Alliance IFA, the auditor appointed by BHIC — which Rafizi had relied on was an unsigned draft copy whose contents were unverifiable.
“Rafizi is not just dishonest but made accusations intentionally when he concealed the fact that there is a real signed copy of the report which clearly did not mention Zainab is my second wife.
“Rafizi is also concealing the fact that there is a disclaimer in the report which clearly states the veracity of oral and documentary representation cannot be assessed,” he added.
Dr Abdul Latiff also made several denials including his role and his family’s involvement in the procurement of the LCS contract during his tenure as deputy minister in the Defence Ministry from 2009 to 2013.
He then reminded Rafizi to be more honest in politics, noting that deceit may erode public confidence towards the government where explanations sought required the public disclosure of state defence secrets.
On Monday, news portal MalaysiaNow reported that Zainab is allegedly one of the owners of a company which is involved in the LCS project as being “dubiously addressed in Paris although payment to it was released in Singapore, a pattern rampant among other contractors awarded with the LCS work.”
It also reported that Zainab’s name was allegedly linked to another company that had received millions of dollars for the LCS project through suspicious foreign accounts.
News portal The Edge reported that the said company was also named in the Panama Papers as well as the Paradise Papers, which disclosed how offshore companies hid money from illegal activities globally.
The LCS project is the largest procurement in the history of the Ministry of Defence with a total cost of RM9 billion. The said contract began in 2013 with a ten-year time frame and six LCS ships were expected to be built and delivered to the country by the end of 2023.