Follow-up report on LCS to be tabled Feb 26

PETALING JAYA: The follow-up action report on the littoral combat ship (LCS) project will be tabled by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during the Dewan Rakyat sitting that begins Feb 26, says Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.

“The committee was also informed that LCS 1 (KD Maharajalela) will be handed over to the Navy in October 2026,” the PAC chairman said in a statement yesterday.

She said the current PAC hearing was to keep tabs on the progress of the committee’s recommendations on the LCS project for the periods between October 2022 and May 2023, and June to September last year.

Among those called to testify before the PAC yesterday were Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Isham Ishak, LCS project team chief Admiral Franklin Jeyasekhar Joseph, and Boustead Naval Shipyard chief executive officer Capt (Rtd) Azhar Jumaat.

The controversial LCS project was highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report 2019, with PAC initiating investigations in 2022.

Under the multibillion-ringgit deal signed in 2014, six LCS were supposed to be delivered in stages beginning 2019, but none were completed as scheduled, even though the government had already paid out RM6.08bil.

During its probe, PAC said that some RM1.4bil in government allocations for the project had been diverted for other purposes.

PAC had also said that five of the ships were supposed to have been received by the Navy in August, 2022.

Former Navy chief Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor, 78, was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM21.08mil at the Sessions Court.

On Jan 30 last year, the government decided to reduce the number of ships to five, from the initially agreed six.

As a result of delays, the PAC, in its previous report, stated that the last of the five ships will only be ready by 2029, with the delays resulting in construction costs increasing from RM9.128bil to RM11.22bil.

“The committee wants the contractors involved in the construction of the LCS and the LCS project team to take proactive steps,” said Mas Ermieyati, adding that the extent of the delays could not be revealed at the moment owing to Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 85.

Standing Order 85 states that any evidence brought before a Select Committee “shall not be published by any member of that committee or by anyone else until the committee presents that statement to the House”.

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