Kit Siang: “Was Najib the ‘hidden hand’ behind LCS scandal?”

VETERAN MP Lim Kit Siang has asked a very curious question today: Whether former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the “hidden hand” behind the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal. 

In the recent days the LCS project has come under public scrutiny after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released its report indicating many problems affecting it. 

The first of the six ships was scheduled for delivery this year but none have been completed, the committee said. 

“Without reading and understanding the PAC report Najib had been very active on Facebook in the past week to defend the RM9 bil LCS scandal and had even blamed the Pakatan Harapan (Pakatan) government for the scandal – which only reinforced the question,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said. 

“Najib was the prime minister and the finance minister at the time when the ships were procured. What role did he play as prime minister and finance minister?” 

Najib had previously criticised the PAC report, which he said contained inaccuracies and did not present the public with the full picture. 

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug 9) the Pekan MP also questioned why the progress levels of the LCS project only increase by 5% to 55% in 17 months from September 2019 when the project was frozen by the Pakatan government. 

“Zahid would know” 

According to Lim, UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – who was the defence minister from 2009 to 2013 – is “one of the handful of people who would know if Najib was the ‘hidden hand’ behind the LCS scandal”. 

However, he mused that nobody expects Zahid to tell the truth on the matter as the latter had denied his involvement in the scandal and said that it was unreasonable to pin the failure of the LCS procurement on him as he was not the defence minister when the project was awarded. 

“It was clear as day that Zahid cannot disclaim responsibility for the LCS scandal as evident from the fact that he had avoided answering the question as to why he had – in July 2011 – overturned the decision recommended by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) to contract six Dutch-made Sigma LCS and chose the Scorpene manufacturer’s six French-made Gowind LCS without consulting the Navy as the LCS’ end-user,” Lim remarked. 

“What is deplorable was that RMN was not informed of the change from Sigma to Gowind but had to learn about it from the contractor, Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS). 

“Who could make the defence minister change in three days a decision which had taken almost a year and six meetings with RMN to achieve?” 

Lim went on to raise the issue of the “fraudulent” launching of the first LCS in August 2017 where he said the Raja Permaisuri of Perak was misled into believing that the first LCS – Maharaja Lela – had been completed when up till today the first LCS is not even ready yet. 

“Did Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein who was the Defence Minister in August 2017 thought of the ‘prank’ on his own or was he directed to go through with the prank by some ‘hidden hands’ in the matter?” Lim wondered. 

“Is Hishamuddin going to own up and apologise to the Raja Permaisuri of Perak and all Malaysians for his prank of launching a non-existent first LCS in August 2017?”  

On Aug 4, 2017 Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim had launched the LCS, witnessed by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah in Lumut, Perak. 

The launch was attended by Hishamuddin, then RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin and then Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, among others. – Aug 10, 2022 

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