KUALA LUMPUR: Following findings of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called for the cancellation of phase six of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project which costs RM571mil.
Anwar said the allocation for phase six of the project is better spent on the impoverished and addressing issues on the welfare and pension of the Armed Forces veterans.
“We recommend Putrajaya to complete existing projects and stop the RM571mil LCS project which hasn’t started.
“This money should be returned to the people to address the rising cost of living, and also solve issues concerning the welfare and pension of the Armed Forces,” said Anwar during a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Aug 4).
Anwar said phase six of the LCS project is still unpaid and there is no progress on the project, according to the latest report by the PAC.
According to the PAC report on the LCS, Phase 1 of LCS cost RM1.427bil, of which RM0.91bil has been paid and it has 44% physical progress; Phase 2 costs RM1.237bil with RM0.747bil paid and a 35% progress.
Phase 3 of the LCS project costs RM1.122bil with RM0.599bil paid and 32% progress, while Phase 4 costs RM0.89bil, with RM0.432bil paid and has 27% progress.
The fifth phase costs RM0.71bil with RM0.257bil paid and has 16% progress.
Anwar said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should immediately probe the PAC report.
“This matter should be revived. The cost is too high and it has a big financial implication, but the progress is absent,” said Anwar.
“The government which hasn’t committed RM571mil should stop (this sixth phase), if they want to renew it, they could do it later,” added Anwar.
Anwar also said that over RM6bil has been spent for the LCS projects so far.
Earlier Thursday (Aug 4), PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said findings in the bi-partisan committee’s 250-page report, which was a two-year probe, revealed that the RM9bil LCS project was done through direct negotiations with Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS).
“The government paid out RM6.083bil for the project, but not even one ship has been completed,” said Wong.
“Based on the original schedule, five ships should have been completed and delivered by August 2022,” added Wong.
Under the project, a total of six ships was to have been built by BNS with the first delivery in 2019.
So far, none have been built despite the government having paid over RM6bil to the company.
The PAC began its probe into the procurement of the ships in late 2020 and had called several officials to testify before the committee.
The issue was first raised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series with the PAC calling former defence minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several former senior officials to testify before the committee.
In November 2020, BNS’ parent company Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC) lodged a report with the MACC on the possibility of irregularities concerning the LCS project.
Several individuals have since been arrested by the MACC in connection with the case, including a former top BHIC official.
Last week, Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz told Dewan Rakyat that the MACC has wrapped up investigations into the scandal and has submitted recommendations for the Attorney General to decide on the next course of action.