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Malaysia warship deal scandal: Government did not ignore the issue, says Ismail Sabri 

Malaysia warship deal scandal: Government did not ignore the issue, says Ismail Sabri 
Malaysia's littoral combat ship project has suffered delays and cost overruns, according declassified reports by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). (Photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government has taken the appropriate actions on the issue of the littoral combat ship (LCS) procurement scandal and did not ignore the matter, caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Saturday (Nov 12). 

He was responding to a statement by Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim who reportedly demanded Mr Ismail Sabri apologise to the armed forces over the procurement issue.

Mr Ismail Sabri said that the agencies responsible had already conducted their investigations with parties involved in the misappropriation charged in court.

"Actions have been taken on the LCS issue, the caretaker defence minister (Mr Hishammuddin Hussein) had also made statements and explained the matter several times," he said, according to Bernama.

“Those who were accused to be involved in misappropriation and so on had been investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and some people had also been brought to court so the matter is ongoing and we did not ignore it."

Mr Ismail Sabri said whether it was deliberate or not, Mr Anwar, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief, appeared to be unaware of what had happened because the explanation on the issue had already been given.

A report tabled to Parliament on Aug 4 by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) highlighted the controversial procurement deal after none of the six LCS ordered was delivered despite a contract of RM9.13 billion being signed nearly a decade ago.

According to the PAC, the government has paid RM6.08 billion - or two-thirds of the total cost - to local contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), although none of the ships has been delivered.

On Friday, Mr Ismail Sabri had also urged Mr Anwar to retract his statement over his allegation of illegal voting taking place among members of the armed forces in Bera constituency, Pahang, where the caretaker prime minister is standing in the 15th General Election as an incumbent. 

In a speech at a PH event in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu on Friday, Mr Anwar claimed that he has evidence of illegal early voting taking place ahead of the designated early polling scheduled to take place on Nov 15. 

He said the voting was against the rules set by the Election Commission (EC). 

Mr Anwar also alleged that those who voted were paid RM300 and he urged the EC to take stern action so as not to pollute the election this year. 

“I am asking that this be corrected, meaning, those votes made today by soldiers in Bera must all be voided and voting must take place again on Nov 15,” Mr Anwar said.

Mr Ismail Sabri said that Mr Anwar has insulted members of the armed forces by making the accusations. According to Mr Ismail Sabri, the early voting mentioned by Mr Anwar could actually be the casting of postal votes involving military personnel who could not come down for the early voting on Nov 15.

He said that under the Election Commission Act, there are categories of voters, including postal voters. 

In a statement on Friday evening, the EC urged the complainant to step forward and make a report to the anti-graft agency.

"If there is bribery or corruption during the voting process in the Bera parliamentary seat as alleged, the complainant who has information or evidence is advised to report it to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission," it said.

In response to the matter, Mr Anwar said on Saturday that any evidence of bribery during the postal voting process in Bera will be handed over to the EC. 

"The EC has asked me for information and I will give it to them.

"This matter should be investigated and this is what we are asking," he was quoted as saying by the Star. 

Source: Agencies/nm(ih)


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