LCS protest: Don’t just catch the 'small fish', go after the 'big sharks', says Syed Saddiq

KUALA LUMPUR: Five of the six littoral combat ships (LCS) should have been delivered by now, according to protesters.

Protesters gathered in front of the Sogo shopping centre here Sunday (Aug 14) to protest against the failure to deliver the six ships.

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Among the demands stated at the protest - organised by “Jawatankuasa Protes Mana Kapal LCS” - were the resignation of Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and for the government to address concerns raised by former commander of the Royal Malaysian Navy Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.

“The ship that was shown to the media yesterday has the same serial number as the ship that was launched in 2017. But if you see the photo from 2017, it looks more completed.

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“Don’t just catch the 'small fish', go after the 'big sharks'. By now, there should be charges done because this is not a small matter and the PAC report has been published,” said former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman when met by the media.

He added that this is a bipartisan issue and that all should be “infuriated and demand accountability now”.

When the Prime Minister stated that he wants the LCS report to be declassified I thought that it was a good move and I support that.

He also questioned the procurement process, which he claimed went from one subcontractor to another, including the French company DCNS which is the same contractor involved in the building and supply of the Scorpene submarine.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, in his speech to the crowd said that the matter had already been raised during his time as chairman of the special select committee on defence and home affairs.

"They treated the purchasing of these ships as if they were buying toy ships from the toy store," he claimed.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report presented to Parliament on Aug 4 said some RM1.4bil in government allocation for the LCS project was 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 (BNS) and was inked in 2014.

BNS chief executive officer Capt (R) Azhar Jumaat previously said five of the LCS were being built concurrently, with the first ship at about 60% completion, followed by the second at 48%, third (43%), fourth (36%) and fifth (22%).

The sixth ship, he said, has yet to start construction.

The rally concluded at around 3.15pm without any outward incidents.

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