PAC hopes to complete probe on non-delivery of combat ships by March

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PETALING JAYA: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is investigating the delay in Boustead Naval Shipyard’s (BNS) delivery of six littoral combat ships (LCS) to the navy, hopes to complete its report by March.

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PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said four meetings and proceedings with witnesses have been conducted so far.

Among the witnesses were Auditor-General Nik Azman Abdul Majid, defence ministry secretary-general Muez Abd Azi and Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee chairman Ambrin Buang.

“The failure to complete this LCS project is serious as it not only involves weaknesses in terms of governance, procurement and finance, but it also has an impact on national security and defence,” Wong said in a statement.

He said PAC planned to resume the proceedings in early January and complete its report by the next Parliament meeting in March.

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Wong said they would be calling additional witnesses, including former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar and BNS Sdn Bhd, the main contractor for the LCS project.

He also said members of the committee would be visiting the LCS shipyard in Lumut, Perak, next month.

“PAC is of the opinion that a solution must be reached by the government as soon as possible. It is important for PAC to expedite the proceedings and present the report to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

The project, worth more than RM9 billion, was awarded in 2014 and the order was for six littoral combat ships to be constructed.

The first ship should have been delivered in April last year, but none has been built so far although the government has paid the company almost RM6 billion.

Former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong told the Dewan Negara in September that that RM1 billion out of the RM5.94 billion paid could not be traced. – FMT

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