“Will Najib swear his innocence over the LCS scandal?”

FORMER prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has lapsed into silence over the RM9 bil littoral combatant ship (LCS) scandal after he realised that he made a strategic mistake by being on the forefront when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the project was tabled in Parliament on Aug 4, 2022.

He was even more outspoken than the current Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the defence minister when the disastrous LCS procurement was decided in 2011 – Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the current UMNO president.

Najib’s challenge the previous Saturday to those who blamed him for the failed LCS procurement to show proof that he interfered with the ships’ design has ended like a damp squib.

This as more information on the LCS scandal that cropped up in the last few days has shown that the history of the LCS procurement went as far back as 2007 when Najib was himself the defence minister and reinforced the perception that the most powerful decision-maker in the LCS procurement was Najib himself as he was both prime minister and finance minister in April 2009 – and not Zahid, whom Najib appointed as defence minister later on.

Is Najib prepared to take an oath that he has nothing to do with the LCS scandal?

Does he now believe that the oath system is more reliable, certain and effective in ensuring justice and fighting corruption than the judicial system? Is he going to close down all the law faculties in all the universities in the country?

Blaming Pakatan

Najib had blamed the 22-month Pakatan Harapan (Pakatan) Government which was illegally, undemocratically and unconstitutionally toppled during the Sheraton Move political conspiracy in February 2020. The Sheraton Move also produced two Governments that had collectively served longer than 22 months.

Why didn’t Najib blame these two Governments for the LCS procurement “delay”?

Can Najib give global examples where Governments fulfilled their five-year election manifesto promises in a mere 22 months?

Najib seems to have no faith in a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the LCS scandal. Couldn’t it demonstrate that he, as prime minister and finance minister, had nothing to do with the LCS procurement scandal and that it was solely the responsibility of his defence minister in the first Cabinet, Zahid?

Why then is Najib opposed to the establishment of RCI on the LCS scandal? This is a solution that UMNO Youth has joined other political parties and organisations to support and advocate.

It is also noteworthy that he had established an RCI into the forex scandal in the early 90s in an attempt to pin the blame on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Silence from UMNO?”

Why have UMNO leaders lapsed into silence on the LCS scandal?

I had asked Zahid Hamidi why he, as defence minister in 2011, overturned his earlier decision to procure the Sigma LCS design as recommended by the Royal Malaysian Navy and why he unilaterally and arbitrarily changed it to the Gowind LCS design without consulting the end-user (the navy) and despite the navy’s strong objections. Yet, there has been thunderous silence from him.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Pic credit: Bernama) 

I can understand why as Zahid would have to blame Najib, the then prime minister and finance minister!

UMNO information chief Shahril Hamdan has made a very interesting video statement on Facebook, where he listed corruption cases involving several Government agencies or government-linked commissions (GLCs) to prove that corrupt people in high places are not always politicians.

He said it is a “wrong assumption that misappropriation, mismanagement and the like must involve an instruction from ‘sharks’ who must be a minister or prime minister”.

UMNO Youth should stop prevaricating. The single pertinent question in the LCS scandal is: was Najib the “biggest shark”?

“Don’t downplay the scandal”

Hishammuddin Hussein, meanwhile, should not downplay the LCS scandal by saying that it’s a “seasonal issue” as the 15th General Election (GE15) is around the corner.

Hishammuddin had said: “At this time, all kinds of things will be brought up. I have no problem answering (on the issue), even if we are innocent sometimes. If we are guilty, we have to be accountable.”

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein

This is a shocking though unconscious admission of the prevalence of widespread corruption, breach of trust and abuse of power in defence procurements – which explains why Malaysia is ranked very low in Transparency International’s (TI) Global Defence Integrity (GDI) index.

Hishammuddin’s father, the third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn, would have never taken such a flippant attitude.

Hishammuddin should keep to his promise to set up an RCI as well as his other promises with regard to the LCS scandal.

He also told the Dewan Negara that the Government will report the schedule and progress of the LCS construction project in stages.

According to him, his ministry has been given six months from April 20, 2022, to mobilise efforts to revive the project, adding that he believed the first ship would be delivered to the navy within two years.

Hishammuddin should present a report on his mobilisation efforts to revive the LCS project as the first item of parliamentary business when the Dewan Rakyat sits again in October, followed by a full debate on the issue in Parliament. – Aug 22, 2022


Lim Kit Siang is the Iskandar Puteri MP, DAP supremo and a veteran lawmaker.  

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.  


Main pic credit: AFP

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