KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25): Former defence minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Monday (Oct 25) gave a statement and explanation to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) on the ministry’s failure to supply six second-generation littoral combat ships (LCS) costing RM9 billion.
PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said Ahmad Zahid, the Member of Parliament 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 history of the ministry.
Wong said Ahmad Zahid was the sixth witness called by the PAC over the issue after the ministry's secretary-general Datuk Seri Muez Abdul Aziz, former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief General (Rtd) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar and Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) chief operating officer Low Kok Chiang.
“The PAC views this issue seriously because until October 2020, RM6.083 billion had been paid out but none of the LCS was completed although according to the schedule, two of the ships should have been built,” Wong said in a statement on Monday.
The issue was raised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series 1 (Compliance Auditing of Ministries/Federal Departments) and the Governance, Procurement and Government Financial Committee Investigation Report, Prime Minister’s Department, published in 2019.
Wong said to complete the investigation, the PAC also plans to visit the LCS dockyard owned by BNS in Lumut, Perak, with the date to be fixed.