PETALING JAYA: No sensitive information on national security was revealed in the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project scandal, says committee chairman Wong Kah Woh. Should the Hansard contain any sensitive issues involving national security and witnesses request for omissions or amendments, the PAC would discuss whether or not to allow that request, he added.
This includes acquiring legal views from the Attorney General’s Chambers, whose members are present in every PAC proceeding.
“In the LCS project proceedings, not a single witness made such a request,” said Wong in a statement yesterday.
He said he was unsure what Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had found amiss with the PAC’s conduct regarding the LCS report.
Ahmad Zahid had earlier said that the PAC needed to be more sensitive in its investigation as those were matters regarding national security.
Wong said the PAC was a bipartisan committee that carried out the responsibilities entrusted to it by the Dewan Rakyat in ensuring all public spending (by the government) was prudent.
He also said every witness who testified before the PAC would have their statements recorded in a Hansard or written transcript.
Wong noted that Ahmad Zahid’s Hansard, dated Jan 4 last year, was delivered to him via post and that he was given seven days to make any relevant amendments in his written transcript.
“For the record, Ahmad Zahid did not make any amendments, corrections or omissions on any information given during the proceedings he attended,” he added.
Wong cited Parliament’s Standing Order 77(1), which provides for the PAC to investigate government spending, including other matters deemed by the committee to require investigation.
Meanwhile, Wong said the PAC had published its report on the LCS scandal based on facts, documents and statements acquired by the committee throughout proceedings.
“Public discussion on these issues shows how much the people want to know about the LCS project,” he added.
On the PAC’s handling of sensitive information, Wong cited its proceedings in December last year involving Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and several ministry officials on the defence ministry’s land swap issue.
“The witnesses informed the PAC that there was sensitive information involving national security and the committee agreed for that information to be omitted from the Hansard. I cannot reveal what they were because the report on this issue is not yet tabled and all of the information is still being embargoed,” he added.
It was reported that RM1.4bil worth of government funds intended for the multi billion-ringgit LCS project signed in 2014 was diverted for other purposes.
Of the RM1.4bil, RM400mil was used to pay previous debts incurred under the New Generation Patrol Vessel project, RM305mil was used for an integration facility in Cyberjaya and another RM700mil was a cost overrun that exceeded the LCS contract ceiling.
Another RM255mil worth of LCS equipment, or 15% of the RM1.7bil that was kept in store for the project, was now obsolete.
These were among the findings contained in the bipartisan committee’s 250-page report tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Aug 4.