More people to face the music over LCS scandal, says PM

(The Star) – More individuals are expected to be charged in connection with the littoral combat ship (LCS) controversy, and the Prime Minister wants explanations to be given to the public on the issue.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was made to understand that one or two more individuals would be brought to court over the case.

He said it was crucial to keep the public informed on the issue instead of them speculating and making their own assumptions.

“The previous government’s failure was that when the 1MDB issue cropped up, it did not explain the issue clearly to the people,” he said, referring to Barisan Nasional.

“In the end, the public made their own assumptions, speculation and decisions. Because of the failure to explain, the issue became big.”

Ismail Sabri was of the view that the LCS controversy would not die down anytime soon, and therefore a public explanation must be given fast.

“The Opposition will play up the issue, just like how they used the 1MDB issue in the last general election.

“I told the Cabinet that we need to act fast and explain to the people,” said the Prime Minister in an interview with the media in conjunction with his one year in office.

Ismail Sabri said he was aware that the government’s integrity was being questioned because of the case.

“That is why the Cabinet decided to declassify reports on LCS. We want to be transparent and let the public review the reports themselves,” he said.

On Aug 10, Ismail Sabri announced that two high-level investigative reports about the LCS would be made public.

One report is by the governance, procurement, and finance investigation committee, which was set up in 2018 and was led by former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang. This report has been declassified.

The other is a forensic audit, which was commissioned in 2019.

On Aug 4, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that some RM1.4bil in government allocations for the LCS project had been used for other purposes, including cost overruns.

The two-year probe by PAC also revealed that the RM9bil project was done through direct negotiations with Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd and was inked in 2014.

According to the just declassified report by the governance, procurement, and finance investigation committee, the cost of completing the six LCS may balloon to RM11.145bil.