BNS chief himself said LCS equipment was obsolete, says PAC chairman

PETALING JAYA: The latest statement by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) Sdn Bhd's chief executive officer on the littoral combat ship (LCS) project contradicts his Public Accounts Committee (PAC) testimony, says PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh.

Capt (Rtd) Azhar Jumaat had told the media on Saturday (Aug 13) that 15% out of RM1.7bil worth of equipment was still operational and usable – and not obsolete, as stated in the PAC report on the project earlier this month.

"BNS' Aug 2022 stand can be countered with (what it said in) December 2021," Wong said on Facebook later on Saturday, citing excerpts from Azhar's statement in the PAC proceedings on Dec 11.

Wong also posted images of transcripts from the PAC proceedings.

He said that in answering the question of how much of the LCS equipment stocks were already obsolete, Azhar said BNS had a thorough monitoring process.

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"We have made a monthly report to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) project team and if taken in percentage terms, 15% has passed or is nearing the process of becoming obsolete," Azhar was quoted as telling the PAC.

Wong said when the question was repeated, Azhar reiterated that it was 15%.

However, Wong said BNS was now saying that the equipment is in the process of becoming obsolete and can be used for at least another 25 years.

"The question is if the equipment can be used for a minimum of 25 years, it will not be regarded as in the process of becoming obsolete, right?

"After nine months, BNS is now saying the equipment which has passed the obsolescence period is only the smart TVs and not other items?" he added.

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Wong said the PAC did not write the report from its own conclusions but from witness statements.

"In the case of LCS, it is not one or two but 10 proceedings and 21 witnesses from which we derived our conclusion that was (subsequently) tabled (in Parliament).

"The issue of equipment which was bought and has become obsolete, as well as warranties that have expired, is a serious one (in the view of) the PAC," he added.

Wong said the witnesses who came before the PAC had also voiced their concerns about the project.

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The PAC chairman also posted excerpts from several statements of witnesses.

"I am sure the witnesses will not touch on (warranty periods and equipment going obsolete) if it only involved smart TVs.

"As a taxpayer, I also hope it is only the smart TVs involved, but the witness statements indicate more serious (matters)," he added.

During a media tour of the BNS dockyard in Lumut on Saturday, Azhar said the company had been assured by manufacturers that the mission- and combat-critical equipment purchased could still be used.

He said the equipment would be installed on the six LCS that are still under construction.

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