Former defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today gave his statement and explanation to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the failure of the defence ministry (Mindef) to supply six second-generation littoral combat ships (LCS) costing RM9 billion.
PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said Zahid, the MP for Bagan Datuk, who was the defence minister from April 10, 2009 to May 16, 2013, gave his statement for almost two hours on the issue, involving the biggest defence procurement in the ministry’s history.
He said Zahid was the sixth witness called by PAC over the issue. Others included Mindef secretary-general Muez Abdul Aziz; former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief General (Rtd) Abdul Aziz Jaafar and Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) chief operations officer Low Kok Chiang.
“PAC views this issue seriously because until October 2020, RM6.083 billion had been paid out but none of the LCS had been completed although according to the schedule, two of the ships should have been built,” he said in a statement today.
The issue was raised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series 1 (Compliance Auditing of Ministries/Federal Departments) and Governance, Procurement and Government Financial Committee Investigation Report, Prime Minister’s Department, published in 2019.
Wong said to complete the investigation, PAC also plans to visit the LCS dockyard owned by BNS in Lumut, Perak, on a date yet to be fixed.