SIMUNJAN, 14 Dis -- Ketua Menteri Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg berucap pada Majlis Pelancaran Sarawak Linking Urban, Rural and Nation (SALURAN -MYSRBN) di sini, hari ini. --fotoBERNAMA (2021) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA
Rafizi: Did Najib’s ‘French connection’ influence LCS deal?
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli has accused former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak of influencing Putrajaya’s design choice for the littoral combat ship (LCS) project.
In a statement today, Rafizi claimed to be in possession of leaked quotation documents and a “letter of intent” from French defence firm DCNS (now known as Naval Group) on the LCS project.
However, these documents, said Rafizi, were issued before Boustead Naval Shipyard Bhd (BNS) was officially made the main contractor on Dec 16, 2011.
“This means that DCNS (as the sub-contractor) had received prior full information on the project. In fact, DCNS had already submitted quotation documents and letter of intent even before BNS was appointed as the main contractor,” said Rafizi.
Rafizi did not publish the three documents but provided reference numbers and dates.
According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), BNS submitted its “letter of intent” on Oct 16, 2010, and received its “letter of award” on Dec 16, 2011.
Based on the dates given by Rafizi, all three purportedly leaked documents in his possession were dated between BNS’ “letter of intent” and “letter of award”.
According to Rafizi, he was also in possession of a report by Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) – BNS’ owner – which concluded that DCNS’ quotation was “pre-determined” and thus improper.
Rafizi, who published excerpts of the report, said the BHIC investigators noted that DCNS had a history of bribing Malaysian officials and the matter was being investigated by the French authorities.
The former Pandan MP added that it was likely Najib had a hand in the design switch because of the latter’s history with DCNS through the Scorpene submarine deal in the early 2000s. Najib was the defence minister when the deal was signed.
“He has a history of choosing DCNS for major projects. Apart from the Scorpene and LCS deal, Thales (French multinational company) was also involved in the LRT project in 2012.
“I await Najib’s response,” Rafizi said.
On Aug 4, a PAC report on the LCS pointed out that the Defence Ministry initially chose the Sigma design for the LCS project in May 2011 but two months later it decided to change to the Gowind design, from the same French manufacturer of the Scorpene submarine.
“The decision to change to the Gowind design was made on July 11, 2011, following the recommendation brought by BNS to the defence minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) on July 8, 2011,” it said.
Zahid helmed the Defence Ministry between 2009 and 2013.
Why did Najib ignore navy chief’s complaints, says PKR man
PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has come under fire for blaming Pakatan Harapan for delaying a RM9 billion warship project although complaints by a former navy chief about the project were not heeded.
PKR information chief Fahmi Fadzil asked why Najib did not take up the concerns expressed by then navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar about the littoral combat ship project.
The project entails the construction of six corvette-class ships for the Royal Malaysian Navy, with the first ship due for delivery this month.
The Public Accounts Committee, parliament’s watchdog, has said that not a single ship had been delivered despite the government spending RM6 billion on the project since 2011.
“Is that Pakatan (PH)’s fault?” said Fahmi on Facebook, hours after Najib had said that PH had frozen the project after taking power in 2018, and work being suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Najib said the project was only resumed by the current government in April.
However, Fahmi questioned why there had been no action on letters written by Aziz. “Didn’t he (Najib) ever think that if action was taken on the 10 letters by the navy commander … Maybe RM6 billion might not have been wasted. Maybe the navy would have already got the much-needed littoral combat ships.”
A report by the PAC on Thursday said the defence ministry and contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd had ignored the navy’s views on the project.
The PAC report said Aziz had testified that he wrote two letters to Najib, five letters to the defence minister, 10 to the ministry’s secretary-general, and one each to the secretary-general of the Treasury, and chief secretary to the government.
Najib said earlier the project had been investigated by a government committee in 2018, when PH was in power, and by the police after BNS lodged a police report in December 2020.
He also said that Aziz wanted ships which used older technology while BNS had proposed a more up-to-date design.
The PAC report said the navy had initially chosen the Dutch-designed Sigma-class, but BNS had proposed the French-designed Gowind class in 2011 to then defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, which was chosen instead. FMT