Defence Ministry implementing PAC recommendations following LCS scandal, says Tok Mat

KUALA LUMPUR: Recommendations proposed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have been taken up by the Defence Ministry following the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the PAC had proposed seven recommendations in its previous report on LCS.

“Six recommendations were actions needed to be taken by the Defence Ministry, while another recommendation was under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

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“From the six, four recommendations have been implemented and the remaining two are still in the process,” said Mohamad in Parliament during Question Time on Monday (Feb 20).

Mohamad said the remaining two recommendations were a periodic report to the PAC and another to the parliamentary special committee.

“Because the PAC and the parliamentary special committee haven’t been appointed.

“God-willing, when the committees are formed, the periodic report on LCS’ project status will be tabled to the PAC and the parliamentary special committees,” said Mohamad.

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Mohamad was responding to Commander (Rt) Nordin Ahmad Ismail (PN-Lumut), who asked about steps in addressing the LCS project issue.

Meanwhile, Mohamad said the Defence Ministry had tabled reports on the LCS acquisition to the Cabinet on four occasions – Nov 20, 2020, May 5, 2021, March 4, 2022, and April 20, 2022.

“During all the four occasions, the government agreed that the LCS project should be continued in order to strengthen our defence systems,” said Mohamad.

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Mohamad said the government was also in the midst of finalising a Cabinet proposal to continue the project.

“The ministry is in the final phase of concluding the proposal to continue the project through the preparation of the Cabinet Minister’s memorandum which will be tabled soon,” added Mohamad.

He also said construction of the LCS ships was nearly completed.

“The gearboxes, shafts, propellers, and among others, are there. What’s left is the installation of weapons or electronics.

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“Secondly, the ships also need to undergo a harbour assessment test, which will take up to two years,” added Mohamad.

Six LCS ships in the multi-billion-ringgit project, signed in 2014, were supposed to be delivered in stages beginning 2019, but none of them is completed so far.

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 Session Court.

On Jan 30 this year, the government decided to reduce the LCS ships to five units, from the initially agreed six.

The LCS project came under scrutiny after the PAC revealed that Putrajaya had already paid out RM6.08bil.

In August last year, the PAC said that some RM1.4bil in government allocations for the project had been diverted for other purposes.

The PAC had said that five of the ships were supposed to be received by the Navy in August last year.