KUALA LUMPUR: The Opposition should not be allowed to spin the littoral combat ship (LCS) issue in order to put the blame on Barisan Nasional, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
The coalition's deputy chief said the project has nothing to do with Barisan or any of its component parties.
"We cannot let them spin (the issue) until it is out of control. It has nothing to do with Barisan or Umno," he said in his speech at the opening of the Wanita Barisan Nasional Convention 2022 at the World Trade Centre KL on Sunday (Aug 14).
The Umno deputy president, who is fondly known as Tok Mat, said the Prime Minister has given an assurance that the relevant authorities would probe the project for any abuse or weaknesses.
"We will let the authorities take the necessary action," he said.
He added that it was important for Barisan to counter all the allegations, especially to let the public know the real situation.
"Now they (the Opposition) are claiming that the ship has gone 'invisible' and RM6bil has gone missing.
"It seems like there is a (coordinated) attack against Barisan being made, from one thing to another, and now they are focused on the LCS project," he said.
According to Mohamad, the delay in the LCS delivery was caused when Pakatan Harapan decided to halt the project after taking over Putrajaya in 2018.
"They even froze other projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail project and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project introduced by the Barisan government," he said.
He added that it was impossible to implement the project in time as mentioned in the agreement when Pakatan had delayed and reviewed it and the country was subsequently hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This is not like building a wooden ship. We are building a combat ship.
"All the equipment such as radar and computer systems are bought from different countries.
"I hope the rakyat will not fall for such accusations, especially those made by the deputy president of PKR (a reference to Rafizi Ramli).
"He will simply make up anything to destroy us and it is our duty to counter his allegations with facts," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohamad said it is best to wait and let authorities complete their investigation.
“Let’s not make up stories. It has nothing to do with Barisan or Umno. If there is anyone involved, let the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) act on it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the convention.
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It was reported that RM1.4bil worth of government funds intended for the multibillion-ringgit LCS project signed in 2014 was diverted for other purposes.
Of the RM1.4bil, RM400mil was used to repay previous incurred under the New Generation Patrol Vessel (NGPV) project, RM305mil was used for an integration facility in Cyberjaya, and RM700mil was a cost overrun that exceeded the LCS contract ceiling.
A further RM255mil worth of LCS equipment, or 15% of the RM1.7bil worth, which was kept in storage, was now said to be obsolete.
These were among the findings contained in the Public Accounts Committee’s 250-page report tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Aug 4.