PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – When Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar was about to retire after serving for 40 years, he was offered the plum job as the executive deputy chairman/managing director of Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC).

The highly respected career officer did not have to think twice.

He said no to the tempting offer, which would have included a remuneration of over RM80,000 (S$24,800) a month and other perks.

“I refused. I was offered to take over from (Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor). I refused and I said no.

“I did not want to go and eat my (word/decisions earlier),” he told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC is a bipartisan parliamentary commitee that reports to Parliament.

The testimony by Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, 66, was clear that he made the decision because many of the actions by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), a unit of BHIC, was allegedly against the interest of the navy.

Mr Ahmad Ramli, a former navy chief, is one of the two names implicated and mentioned repeatedly in the PAC report on the RM9 billion (S$2.8 billion) littoral combat ships (LCS) scandal.

The other is Anuar Murad, a former navy captain, whose name was mentioned 23 times in the PAC report. He was the BNS’ LCS programme director.

The scandal came to light on Aug 4 when the PAC reported that the Malaysian government had paid RM6 billion of the RM9 billion contract to build the six LCS, but that none of the ship had been delivered.

Ships not delivered

The six LCS were commissioned in 2011, without open tender, to be built by BNS with the first delivered in 2019 and the sixth vessel delivered next year.

In the 247-page PAC report, retired admiral Abdul Aziz said he had written 10 letters, including to the then prime minister Najib Razak and then Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi, as well as to the Chief Secretary to the Government and the secretaries-general of the Defence Ministry and the Treasury.

None of them, he said, bothered about his incessant protests about the LCS, which were to be used to patrol Malaysia’s shoreline.

Mr Abdul Aziz’s main grievance was the Navy’s objection to the design of the ships as he felt the Navy, as the end user, should have a say.

But his views were ignored by the contractor, BHIC, which was supposed to build the six LCS.