SHAH ALAM: Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk chairman Datuk Mas Ermieyati has accused Utusan Malaysia of breaching a Dewan Rakyat Standing Order by publishing a premature report of its proceedings.
From the Malay Mail:
The Masjid Tanah MP added that is seeking direction from Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul on what to do next about the article titled “Kurangkan kapal LCS jimat kos – Saksi” (Reduce LCS to save cost – Witness).
“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) takes a serious view of the Utusan Malaysia article dated 12 June 2023 titled ‘Kurangkan kapal LCS jimat kos – Saksi’ that stated the government has decided to reduce the number of littoral combat ships (LCS) to be built from six to five on grounds of saving cost.
“I regret this article because it clearly can disturb PAC’s investigations, summary and recommendations for this proceeding,” Mas Ermieyati said in a statement this afternoon.
She alleged that the article violates Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 85 that relates to premature publication of evidence.
“I have written a letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari bin Abdul to inform him of the SO 85 violation and request guidance on this issue,” she added.
SO 85, which deals with the premature publication of evidence, states that “the evidence taken before any Select Committee and any documents presented to such Committee shall not be published by any member of such Committee, or by any other person, before the Committee has presented its Report to the House”.
The Utusan article quoted an unnamed source as saying that the government had made the decision to build only five out of the planned six LCS in order to save on costs, based on what three witnesses had told the PAC members when it visited Boustead Naval Shipyard on Saturday.
The report stated that the three witnesses as BNS chairman Datuk Ahmad Nazim Abd Rahman; Defence Ministry Deputy Secretary-General (Development) Datuk Dr Shahrazat Ahmad and BNS CEO Azhar Jumaat.
It is funny that the story/witnesses said the government made the decision to build only five LCS instead of six to save costs when we know the cost had gone up to RM11.2 billion. But this report again confirmed that the cost to finish six LCS as Malaysian Defence had already written, was between RM12 billion to RM14 billion.
Again, it must be stated that I am not at all confident that the RM11.2 billion will be the final cost. It is also interesting to note the Defence Ministry had earlier said they wanted to finish the first two LCS first before deciding on the next three. Clearly something had changed within the last few months that they went for broke.
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