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Media statement by DAP Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Thursday, Sept 8, 2022:

There are five reasons why Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should step down as Umno's president.

Firstly, all political parties in the next 15th general election should condemn the RM50 billion 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial scandal, and make the saving of Malaysia from becoming a kleptocracy a main plank of their election pledges.

Is Zahid prepared to do this?

Former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad said the country's legal and judicial system will become a laughing stock if former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is given a pardon.

Does Zahid agree?

Abdul Hamid said should the Pardons Board agree to free Najib, it would lay waste years of painstaking work done by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and judicial officials in building up a case against him.

Abdul Hamid said: "The MACC spent years investigating, the public prosecutor spent months poring through investigation papers, the judges spent years trying the accused, studying and writing hundreds of pages of judgement, and calling multiple witnesses.

"And then, barely two months after Najib is convicted and sentenced to jail and fined millions of ringgit, members of the Pardons Board, with a single stroke of their pen, pardon the accused of all the charges.”

Does Zahid agree with Abdul Hamid?

Secondly, the Umno president failed to be a witness to testify in Najib’s trial that he had met the royal Arab donor who donated RM2.6 billion to Najib. He said this publicly in August 2015. His silence and failure to testify in Najib’s trial could only mean that he was not telling the truth in August 2015.

Thirdly, there is Zahid's inability to clear himself of major responsibility for the RM9 billion littoral combatant ships (LCS) scandal, and his attempt to blame Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, his successor as the defence minister, for the LCS scandal.

Zahid has denied that he was responsible for the RM9 billion LCS scandal, and said it was unreasonable to pin the failure of the LCS procurement on him, as he was not the defence minister when the project was awarded.

Although Zahid held the defence minister position from April 2009 to May 2013, and was succeeded by Hishammuddin, and the contract was delayed and only signed on July 17, 2014, the two declassified reports on the LCS scandal, despite being heavily redacted, showed that it is Zahid who must bear greater responsibility than Hishammuddin for the LCS scandal.

The letter of intent for the supply of six LCS at a total value of RM9 billion was issued on Oct 15, 2010, and the letter of award (LOA) on Dec 16, 2011, but the contract was held back by some two and a half years, and was only signed on July 17, 2014.

However, between the issue of the LOA and the signing of the contract, there were 21 LOAs worth some RM5 billion to procure equipments and systems, most of which were made when Zahid was the defence minister. As the LOAs made during the time Hishammuddin became the defence minister after the 13th general election did not reach RM700 million, Zahid must bear greater responsibility than Hishammuddin for the LCS scandal.

Fourthly, there is Zahid’s inability to explain why he overturned his decision in 2011, as recommended by the Royal Malaysian Navy, to contract six Dutch-made Sigma LCS and chose the Scorpene manufacturer’s six French-made Gowind LCS without consulting the Navy, the end user.

Lastly, Zahid failed to state clearly and specifically that Najib, as the then prime minister and finance minister, was not responsible for the RM9 billion LCS scandal, especially as the LCS procurement went back to when Najib was the defence minister in the Cabinet of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Lim Kit Siang
Sept 8, 2022

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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