PETALING JAYA: Following days of tit for tat with opposition leaders over the littoral combat ship (LCS) project, the war of words continues on the RM9.13bil scandal with Datuk Seri Najib Razak saying he would stop laying blame if Pakatan Harapan could answer the six questions he raised.
The first was how much progress on the LCS project was made during Pakatan’s 22 months in government.
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“Is it true that we had 55% progress in three and a half years since physical construction began in January 2015 to May 2018 and almost zero progress from May 2018 until today?” Najib asked in a Facebook posting yesterday.
The second was what Pakatan did to resolve the delays on the LCS project since it took office in May 2018.
“Even if you deliver (the LCS project) in April 2019, would delivery a few months late be acceptable if you had tried to solve the problems?”
Najib was responding to DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang who said yesterday that the Pekan MP should take responsibility for the LCS scandal.
His third question was why the former Pakatan government kept mum on the issue when the April 2019 delivery deadline was missed.
“Why just before GE15, you all coordinated to make a major issue on late delivery of a project that was stopped during your time in government?” the Pekan MP asked.
His fourth question was what did Pakatan do to mitigate losses by Boustead Holdings since it took power, as the company owned by the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) had registered big losses in 2018 and 2019.
“How much funds or loan guarantees did the Pakatan government provide to Boustead to ensure this national strategic contract is resumed and progressing?” Najib questioned.
In his fifth question, he said the LCS project was not missing, as five ships were built simultaneously since the contract was signed in July 2014, compared to the RM6.34bil Penang tunnel project that was signed in November 2013.
“I can show photos of the five out of the six ships in various stages of construction, but can you show me photos of construction progress of the four main roads and the tunnel up to today?
“Does ‘uncle’ know the difference between a late project versus a completely dead or stopped project like the Penang tunnel project by your son?” Najib questioned, referring to former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.
In the last question, Najib asked which company would be suitable to undertake the LCS project if Boustead Holdings wasn’t a suitable company.
He said the aim of the LCS project was to enable navy ships to be built and maintained by local companies.
“Should Malaysia just be a customer or should we have national capabilities to design, build and maintain ourselves?
“Six simple and very fair questions. Surely ‘uncle’ and Pakatan will not ignore them?” Najib asked.
Earlier yesterday, Lim said Najib should stop blaming others on the LCS project, and stressed the former Pakatan administration could not be involved in the scandal as the conception, negotiation and signing of the contract took place during Najib’s time as premier.
Lim reiterated questions raised by former defence minister Mohamad Sabu and his then deputy Liew Chin Tong, who asked whether Najib had planned from the beginning for the LCS project to help pay off bad debts from the failed New Generation Patrol Project (NGPV).
Lim said Najib was deeply involved in the NGPV project, being the defence minister from 1990 to 1995, as well as from 2000 to 2008.
“Instead of accepting responsibility for the NGPV and LCS scandals, Najib is trying to divert attention from himself by pointing to the past and to the future – blaming the fourth prime minister who resigned in 2003 and the 22-month Pakatan government from May 2018 to February 2020,” said Lim.
Last week, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reported that a total of RM400mil was used to repay previous debts incurred under the NGPV project.
The NGPV is a project for the construction of 27 patrol vessels which received Cabinet approval in 1993.