Minister says cops recorded his statement after report lodged against Rafizi over LCS allegations

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad today said that a police officer had visited him to have his statement recorded after his aide lodged a report two days ago against Rafizi Ramli for allegedly defaming his boss through remarks in connection with the littoral combat ships (LCS) scandal.

In a statement today, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department invoked Quranic verses to accuse the PKR deputy president of being a “liar” who had slandered him and his family for mere political traction.

“Again, I want to stress that as a Cabinet member, I will continue to give full cooperation to the authorities in aiding the investigation,” he said.

According to a copy of the police report sighted by Malay Mail, the minister’s aide claimed Rafizi had made libellous and slanderous remarks in four blog posts, seven Twitter posts, and one TikTok video.

The aide, Sayed Ahmad Muizzuddin added that Dr Abdul Latiff had made a public announcement that he did not have a wife or ex-wife named Zainab Mohd Salleh when Rafizi made his claims.

On August 30, PKR filed a police complaint demanding an investigation into Dr Abd Latiff who is a former deputy defence minister, for his purported involvement in the dubious procurement of six LCS for the navy.

Dr Abdul Latiff took to Facebook denying any links to the LCS procurement deal, saying he had no wife named Zainab Mohd Salleh and that none of his family members was involved in the supply or construction of the vessels.

In a separate statement later, the minister accused Rafizi of targeting him in a political ploy to portray leaders from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia as corrupt and unfit to stand as election candidates.

Rafizi has alleged that Zainab Mohd Salleh is Dr Abdul Latiff’s second wife and the owner of Alizes Marine Ltd, a company which LCS funds were funnelled into and that was named in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, two controversial lists that were supposedly leaked and detailed how offshore companies were hiding money gained from illicit activities around the world.

Rafizi also dared Dr Abdul Latiff to sue him and two companies — Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Berhad and Alliance IFA (M) Sdn Bhd — that named the minister in their LCS procurement investigative reports for defamation, saying that mere denials are not enough.

The LCS project is said to be the largest defence procurement in Malaysia’s history with a total cost of RM9 billion.

The project to build six armed vessels capable of near-shore fighting reportedly began in 2013 and is supposed to be completed and delivered to the navy by the end of 2023.

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report on August 8 that found the government had already paid RM6.083 billion to the contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard, with not a single vessel delivered despite cost overruns of RM1.4005 billion.