Defense Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, at a press conference after attending the graduation ceremony of the National Defense College (MKN), said there is no use talking about the past of the littoral combat ships (LCS) project, a scandal that shook the previous administration under former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Instead, he said, he wants to focus on ensuring that the country’s military assets are completed according to schedule.
“There is no use talking about the past, but what we want to achieve, is the most important because it is a strategic asset for the Malaysian armed forces.
“Many parties are involved in the negotiations (LCS), so it’s useless…we need to focus on what we need to complete after this,” he said.
The presser was held after the graduation ceremony of the National Defense College (MKN), the Defense College of the Armed Forces (MPAT), and the Armed Forces Staff College (MTAT) 2022.
The LCS project is considered the largest defence procurement in the country’s history with a total cost of RM9 bil.
The project sparked outrage after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that none of the ships had been completed, although the government had already paid RM6.08 billion to Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), which won the contract through direct negotiations.
In August, Pakatan Harapan (PH), then opposition in the Parliament, said that it wanted the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (TLDM) sixth Littoral Combatant Ship (LCS) construction project, which has not yet started, to be stopped.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim the then opposition leader had said, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) also needs to immediately investigate the individuals involved in handling the approval of the project, especially after the non-completion of the project that started since 2010.
“For the next project (LCS6), we recommend that it be stopped. Prepare what is already available (LCS1 and LCS2). The Minister of Defense at that time, the KSU (Chief Secretary of the Ministry) must be called and investigated to ask for evidence from them.
“It is not only at the lower level that it is called. I do not believe that the project with a cost of RM6 billion is only decided at the lower management level, it must be decided by the minister.
“If we say, later they will answer this as a matter of defence and security strategy. Why not monitor it properly? I hope this matter is not only taken into account by Members of Parliament, but also by the military and people’s association.
“When the government asked, there was no money. But this amount of money involves leaks and leaks and I believe this is corruption. I demand that MACC expedite this investigation and not delay it,” said Anwar in August.
BNS was supposed to hand over five LCS units between 2013 and last August, according to the original schedule.
Mohamad Hasan, who began his official duties at the ministry on Dec 5, stated that he would wait for a briefing on the status of the LCS project from the parties involved before providing any further explanation. — Dec 10, 2022