Johor opposition chief calls for discussion on LCS scandal in Parliament

JOHOR BARU: The Parliament should be called immediately to discuss the littoral combat ship (LCS) project scandal and to look into a long term solution for the project, says Johor opposition chief Liew Chin Tong.

Liew said that it was important for such a discussion to take place in Parliament soon as the current Federal government only had a shelf life of less than a year left.

"The Parliament should enter into a consultation between the government and the opposition to find a long term solution for the LCS project.

"The LCS is not going to be a short term procurement and from what I see, the first ship would only be completed in 2026.

"Therefore, it is important for the Parliament, which will automatically dissolve in July next year to consult the opposition and to form a consensus of what to do next immediately. We need to find a common solution that could last in the next 10 years.

"There is no point for Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (Defence Minister) to make a decision that is not viable when the government has changed," he said.

The Perling assemblyman also urged the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to take immediate actions on the LCS scandal.

"The ball is now in the AGC as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has submitted the investigation papers to them.

"They need to act fast. They do not need two to three years to make a decision, it can be done in a matter of days. A decision must be made as soon as possible,” he said.

On Thursday (Aug 11), the MACC said that graft investigators have submitted investigation papers to the AGC, proposing for charges to be made against several individuals in connection with the LCS scandal.

In a statement, the MACC said that it had completed investigation papers involving several individuals allegedly to have committed misappropriation in handling the project.

"We have submitted investigation papers and have proposed that charges against several individuals be considered by the AGC," it said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 11), adding that the MACC would take further instructions after the AGC reviews the investigation papers.

On Wednesday (Aug 10), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob told the MACC to expedite investigations into the LCS case should there be solid proof for the Attorney General to prosecute and bring those responsible to court.

The Prime Minister also gave assurance that an investigation into the issue will be transparent and that the government would not protect anyone who was involved.

On July 19, The Star reported that anti-graft investigators were convinced that they had enough evidence to bring charges against several individuals involved in the multibillion-ringgit LCS project.

On Aug 4, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that some RM1.4bil in government allocation for the LCS project had been used for other purposes, including cost overruns.

The two-year probe by PAC also revealed that the RM9bil project was done through direct negotiations with Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd and was inked in 2014.

On a separate matter, Liew also called on the state government to follow suit with regard to the Federal law on anti-party hopping.

"Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi should call for the state assembly to convene as soon as possible for us to pass the anti-party hopping legislation in accordance with the amendments made in the Federal level.

"Even Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has called for all Barisan Nasional led states, which include Johor, to amend their respective laws or enactments following the passing of the anti-party hopping law. I do not see a reason for Johor to delay doing so any longer," he said.

On Tuesday (Aug 9), the Dewan Negara passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) on anti-party hopping by MPs with a more than two-thirds majority, after obtaining the support of 52 of 60 senators in two rounds of bloc voting.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said after being passed, the Bill would now go through the process of assent by the King in accordance with Article 66 of the Federal Constitution before it could be gazetted into law and enforced.

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