Our 'invisible' vessel confronts a storm

Mustafa K. Anuar

The RM6 billion-scandal involving the littoral combat ship (LCS) project is extremely worrying to ordinary Malaysians. - EPA pic, August 9, 2022.

THE recent expose of the RM6 billion-scandal involving the littoral combat ship (LCS) project is a rude shock to ordinary Malaysians who have yet to recover from the colossal impact of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial mismanagement that rocked not only Malaysia but also the entire world.

It never rains but pours for a country that is also struggling to get back on its feet, arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn, as well as political instability.

Furthermore, the LCS affair suggests that we have not learned a useful lesson from such scandals as 1MDB, which should alert those who are supposed to exercise prudence in managing our national coffers to the importance of transparency and accountability.

Tax-paying Malaysians have every reason to be concerned about and also angry with the way their money has been mismanaged to the point of putting the lives of our navy officers at risk.  

If disclosing documents pertaining to the LCS contract would jeopardise our national security, as claimed by former defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, then it is equally important for us to realise that corruption and abuse of power in certain sectors of society can threaten the country’s security as well.

That is why concerned Malaysians should also be troubled by the fact that the original Sigma design chosen by the navy was later changed to the Gowind design, despite protest from navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar at the time over the unilateral decision.  

Aziz suspected something was amiss after several complaint letters he allegedly sent to the authorities were ignored.

Public shock, frustration, and anger are well encapsulated by a few postings that made their rounds on social media.

For instance, a posting carrying a heading, “The Most Wanted Toy of the Year”, showcased a TLDM Littoral Combat Ship toy box in which a miniature Malaysian LCS was supposed to be placed, but was not there.

The wordings at the bottom of the box said it all: “World’s Most Invisible Combat Ship”, referring to the fact that not a single LCS had been delivered as scheduled after 11 years since the project started.

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