End users must agree on future military asset buys, Dewan Rakyat told

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: All new applications to buy military assets and equipment will require a consensus among the intended end users, says the Deputy Defence Minister.

Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Oct 3) that the ministry will continue to update its standard operating procedure from time to time to avoid any form of mismanagement.

Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PAS-Pasir Mas) had asked the government during Question Time to state the procedures when awarding contracts for high-value national defence assets following the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal.

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“This (SOP applies to) the Army, Navy and Air Force," Ikmal Hisham said.

"Only (after obtaining their agreement) can the procurement process be implemented and forwarded to the relevant agencies, like the Finance Ministry and Economic Planning Unit, for approval."

He added that the ministry is planning to set up a defence investment committee as part of several recommendations in the Defence White Paper.

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“God willing, this committee will function as a body that will determine policy matters and make decisions related to asset procurements,” he said.

Separately, Ikmal Hisham revealed that Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will be addressing the Dewan Rakyat in the coming weeks on issues related to the contentious LCS project.

“I believe his explanation later will allay all our concerns. I hope when he provides his explanation, we will be clear on the matter,” he said.

Asked to explain the status of the RM6bil in public funds spent on the LCS project, Ikmal Hisham said the ministry had made payments based on the schedule stated in the contract.

"In short, the payment progress is not linked to the percentage of work progress but based on the activities and the contract for all ships, so that (the project) can be implemented," he added.

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Additionally, the contract is also based on two currencies – the Malaysian ringgit and the euro, he said.

"The ships are being built simultaneously and (there is a) period of 10 months between (completion of) the first ship and the next.

"Payments are still required as the work has begun to purchase the necessary equipment," he said, adding that all the payments can be seen in the Audit Report.

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