Ahmad Zahid: Highlighting LCS issue might affect national security secrets

PETALING JAYA: Throwing the littoral combat ship (LCS) project issues so openly into the light might affect state secrets, says former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).

The government should handle matters on the LCS wisely and in a transparent manner and not be drowned out in the court of public opinion, he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who was also defence minister in 2011, said the parties involved knew better about the issues and could enlighten the public, but this could endanger national security.

“However, there is concern that this enlightenment on the aspects of our national security will affect state secrets,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 8).

Ahmad Zahid added that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should also be more sensitive in handling its entire probe, especially on matters of national security, as it is still in the investigation stage.

On Aug 4, PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the defence ministry and the Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) had ignored the navy’s views on the LCS project.

Wong said the initial Sigma model ships chosen by the navy were approved by the defence ministry only for this to be changed to the Gowind design on July 11, 2011, after BNS recommended it to the then defence minister three days earlier.

Wong also said that Ahmad Zahid would be called by the committee early next month to testify.

Former commander of the Royal Malaysian Navy, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar and the main contractor of the LCS ship project BNS were also among those called for the proceedings.

It was previously reported that RM1.4bil worth of government funds intended for the multibillion-ringgit LCS project signed in 2014 was diverted for other purposes.

None of the ships had been completed so far, although five should have been delivered by this month, the PAC revealed in Parliament.

Another RM255mil worth of LCS equipment, or 15% of the RM1.7bil worth, which was kept in store for the project, was now obsolete.

These were among the findings contained in the bipartisan committee’s 250-page report that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Aug 4.