KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 – Former Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and former Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong today urged Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the government to declassify several documents related to the controversial procurement of six littoral combatant ships (LCS) by Malaysia.
In a joint statement issued here today, they called on the government to decide at the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday to declassify the documents so that the people will understand the LCS problem.
The documents are namely: The Tan Sri Ambrin Buang Committee report on the procurement of the LCS, Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS)’s forensic report on LCS commissioned in 2019 and 10 letters by former Navy Chief Laksamana Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Jaafar, who was at helm from 1 April 2008 until 17 November 2015.
“Since the release of the Public Accounts Committee report on the LCS scandal last Thursday, 4 August, people now have more questions than ever about what had happened in the case of LCS project mismanagement.
“Without the following documents being declassified, many questions will remain unanswered.
“First, we endorse the suggestion of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Tan Sri Ambrin Buang Committee report “Laporan JKSTUPKK berhubung Perolehan Enam Buah Second Generation Patrol Vessel (SGPV), Berkeupayaan Littoral Combatant Ship (LCS) Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, Kementerian Pertahanan Malaysia” be fully declassified. (PAC Report, Point 12.1, page 168). The report contains detailed financial information that is not fully disclosed in the PAC report.”
The Jawatankuasa Siasatan Tadbir Urus, Perolehan dan Kewangan Kerajaan (JKSTUPKK) was formed by the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet on 30 May 2018 at the request of Minister of Defence Mohamad Sabu.
Mohamad Sabu and Liew also called for the declassification of the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS)’s forensic report on LCS commissioned in 2019. The audit was conducted by audit firm Alliance IFA.
They said the forensic report was crucial as it contained details of exactly who was culpable at the operational level.
“Third, declassify the 10 letters by former Navy Chief Laksamana Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Jaafar, who was at helm from 1 April 2008 until 17 November 2015.”
They cited Dr. Aziz saying to PAC “Right from the onset, I had objected to the manner in which the procurement was done… (Kerana daripada awal lagi saya telah menegur tatacara perolehan) saying that something is gravely wrong”. I did not make these statements outside but this is the best opportunity for me to inform that (So, saya tidak mengeluarkan kenyataan- kenyataan ini di luar tapi ini adalah peluang terbaik saya untuk memaklumkan bahawa) I have registered my greatest disappointment to everyone that was supposed to be listening to me.”
The statement today also quoted him further saying: “Despite all the letters, despite seeing personal presentation to all those sama ada KSU, Yang Berhormat Menteri, KSN, KSP dan juga Yang Amat Berhormat Perdana Menteri, we were fighting a losing battle.” (PAC Report, Point 5.1.1 C iii, pages 19-21)
Mohamad Sabu and Liew said “It is distressing to read his words. The then Prime Minister and Finance Minister was Datuk Seri Najib Razak whereas the then Defence Minister was Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, both decided to turn a blind eye to his warning.
“For the sake of finding a solution for the multi-billion LCS scandal, the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday must agree to classify these letters and documents.”