JOHOR BARU, Aug 12 ― Johor PKR federal lawmaker Hassan Abdul Karim said the authorities should use existing powers to investigate and prosecute rather than to set-up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) scandal.
The outspoken Pasir Gudang MP said establishing an RCI was redundant and has no authority as the audit report on the LCS project was presented in Parliament and even reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“An RCI doesn't have prosecution powers.
“An RCI's findings are not the same as police investigation papers or even the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation papers which have legal authority,” said Hassan in a statement here today.
The 71-year-old activist lawyer explained that results of the RCI investigation can be challenged in court under the judicial review method.
He said the RCI, whose terms of reference are determined by the prime minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob), will just act like an empty vessel as no one will actually be prosecuted in court.
“An RCI has no claws or fangs. It’s just a waste of time,” said Hassan.
Hassan, who is also a member of the Malaysian Election Commission’s Special Committee on Corruption, said the PAC had investigated the national audit report regarding this LCS issue and found various offences based on misuse of power, corruption, criminal breach of trust and various weaknesses as well as negligence in the management of money obtained from the government.
“It’s not RM6 but RM6 billion,” he stressed.
Hassan urged the MACC not to delay dealing with the LCS scandal.
“The prime minister has promised the people that those found guilty in the LCS scandal will not be protected.
“So act now. Charge those responsible in the LCS scandal in court,” he said.
The LCS issue had since created heated arguments on both sides of the political divide.
Last week, Senior Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that the PAC report and recommendations about the LCS scandal will be scrutinised by the the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).
PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh revealed that cost overruns for the LCS project totalled RM1.4 billion, with RM400 million used to pay old debts from an old patrol vessel project.
The said contract began in 2013 with a ten-year time frame and six LCS ships were expected to be built and delivered to the country by the end of 2023.
Last Thursday, the PAC stated in its report that the government had already paid RM6.083 billion for delivery of five LCS sea craft to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS).
The deal was carried out through direct negotiations. However not a single ship has been delivered to the Malaysian Navy.
PAC chairman, Wong Kah Woh, revealed the cost overrun of the LCS project amounted to RM1.4 billion, with RM400 million used to pay off old debt from the old patrol boat project.