Friday, March 29, 2013

At bankruptcy's door, but Umno-BN still buys arms worth RM4.2 BILLION

Friday, 29 March 2013 09:45Written by  Gavin Khoo
At bankruptcy's door, but Umno-BN still buys arms worth RM4.2 BILLION
Defence Minsiter Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said 24 deals involving defence assets and services worth RM4.2 billion have been signed between the ministry, local and international defence firms, and the Pahang government at the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima 2013).
He said these include six government contracts, three letters of acceptance by the ministry, 11 Memorandums of Agreement (MoAs) and four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). These deals are aimed at strengthening the country's defence industry and creating places for European firms at the Malaysian Defence & Security Technology Park (MDSTP) in Sungkai, Perak.
According to Ahmad Zahid, Malaysia has shortlisted five manufacturers as it seeks to buy 18 combat aircraft by 2015 to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MIG-29s, the defence minister said today.
The British-backed Eurofighter Typhoon, Sweden's SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, France's Dassault Aviation Rafale, Boeing's F/A 18E/F Super Hornet and Russia's Sukhoi Su-30 have been shortlisted.
It is a shame that BN is committing the same sin again. When most Malaysians are expecting the ruling regime to call for a GE soon to renew its mandate, the nearing expiry government has struck again with deals worth RM4.2 billion.
Arms procurement has been the most controversial in the recent years. The high profile case of the purchase of two Scorpene submarines is still hanging like a dark cloud over the minister's head and nothing has been done to review and audit the process.
Both PR and BN should not enter into any such deals at the eve of a GE. This is the least we can expect from politicians who are accountable and responsible.
If any, the reluctance of the ruling regime to set a date for the dissolution of the 12th parliament and the irresponsible manner in which the ministry of defence enters into multi-billion deals are examples of blatant disrespect for the democratic process.
Malaysians who are sick of such actions must speak up loud and clear to criticize these recalcitrant politicians or elected representatives.

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