Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Friday, 31st October 2008:
Chor Chee Heung – another Deputy Minister
like Abu Seman who did not know what he was answering in Parliament?
Yesterday, Parliament was presented with the
spectacle of a Deputy Minister winding up on behalf of his Ministry in
the 2009 Budget debate when he was totally out of his depths – Deputy
Defence Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop on the current controversy over
the billion-ringgit 12 Cougar EC725 Eurocopters.
As a result, both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
and Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had to subsequently
make supplementary statements outside the House to salvage the damage
caused by Abu Seman in his “atrocious” parliamentary performance.
Immediately after lunch break yesterday, I had stood up in Parliament to
ask Abu Seman the reason for three different sets of figures for the
Eurocopter deal, firstly, RM1.604 billion he mentioned in the House;
secondly, the RM1.1 billion cited by the Defence Ministry
Secretary-General Datuk Abu Bakar Abdullah as reported in the media on
17th October5 2008; and thirdly, the RM1.67 billion given by the Prime
Minister-cum-Defence Minister on Tuesday, October 29, 2008.
When I had first pointed out the difference in the deputy minister’s
figures with the Defence Ministry secretary-general, Abu Seman was
clearly caught by surprise and I had to ask him whether he read
newspapers last Saturday which reported Abu Bakar’s statement.
On the three sets of different figures, Abu Seman tried to wriggle out
of the question by claiming that foreign exchange fluctuations factored
in the differences in figure.
Abu Seman was dumbstruck when I shot down this untenable excuse, as I
pointed out that the helicopter tender made it very clear that the bids
would be evaluated as quoted in Malaysian ringgit based on the foreign
exchange rate on the closing date of the bid.
Abu Seman was then reduced to the plaintive protest: “You can say what
But Abu Seman was not the only Deputy Minister who was completely out of
his depths in Parliament yesterday.
The Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung was not very much
I asked Chor to give details of the police helicopters “shelved” because
of the global financial crisis to enable the government to reallocate
This is the Star report today:
Cops defer plans to buy copters
POLICE have deferred plans to buy eight
helicopters. The purchase will instead be made under the 10th
A sum of RM272mil had originally been set aside to buy the
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung revealed this
when replying to Lim Kit Siang (DAP - Ipoh Timur).
He said the allegation that the helicopters were being bought at
RM350mil in a direct negotiation deal was not true.
“The police intended to have the helicopters
to increase efficiency but the purchase has been deferred,” he said
when winding up the debate on the Budget.
Chor’s answer is at complete variance with
that given by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk
Amirsham Aziz the previous night.
Responding to my query, Amirsham had said that the purchase of 21 police
helicopters had been suspended in view of the looming economic crisis.
Why is Chor talking about eight police helicopters when Amirsham had
talked about 21 police helicopters?
Another example of a deputy minister who did not know what he was
answering in Parliament?
Is Chor unaware of police request for 21 police helicopters? Like Abu
Seman, Chor should keep abreast of newspaper reports, particularly the
statements of his officers so as not to make a public exhibition of the
most embarrassing ignorance about goings-on in his Ministry.
I would refer Chor to the Utusan Malaysia report on of 13th August 2008
on the statement by the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan
that the Cabinet had approved 21 helicopters for the police, viz:
21 helikopter awasi perairan
LABUAN 12 Ogos – Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) akan menambah 21 buah
helikopter bagi meningkatkan kecekapan operasinya terutama di dalam
mengawasi perairan negara, kata Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa
Menurut Musa, cadangan untuk membeli helikopter itu telah diluluskan
oleh Kabinet baru-baru ini dan kerajaan akan memutuskan pembelian
aset tersebut kemudian.
‘‘Pada masa ini kita (PDRM) mempunyai 12 buah helikopter dan jumlah
itu tidak mencukupi memandangkan tugas pasukan semakin mencabar,”
katanya kepada pemberita selepas acara menembak sempena lawatan
wakil media ke Pulau Layang-layang, dekat sini hari ini.
Was Chor completely unaware of police plans
to buy 21 helicopters, as appeared to be the case?
Malaysian taxpayers are entitled to better and higher standard of
parliamentary performance by government leaders.
In the reply of the Defence and Home Ministries yesterday in the 2009
Budget debate in Parliament, the Ministers concerned, Defence Minister
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid
Albar, should have been in the House to reply personally instead of
delegating to their deputy ministers who were completely in the dark on
important and sensitive developments in their Ministries.
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor