Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 27th October 2008:
PAC inquiry into RM2.3 billion 12 Eurocopter deal must go on regardless of whether the deal is on or off, as it concerns national integrity and proper billion-ringgit defence procurement process
Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had decided over the weekend to “cut out the EC725 military helicopter contract” when the government “reviewed its expenses in light of falling revenues from crude oil and palm oil and slowing economic growth for the next few years”.
Today’s Bernama carried a more qualified report, “Govt yet to discuss helicopter purchase”, quoting a government source as saying that “In the wake of the global economic crisis, the government will have to discuss further whether to go ahead with the purchase of new helicopters to replace the ageing Nuris in the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)”.
The government source said the discussion will need the involvement of the Defence Ministry and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is the Defence Minister.
The source said the procurement of the new
helicopters was only at the letter of intent stage (LOI) and no letter
of award (LOA) had been made to any party.
Even if the helicopter deal is cancelled, PAC is duty-bound to investigate into the highly dubious and controversial procurement process as it runs counter to all principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
The objective of the PAC investigation should be to identify, if there exist, irregularities or oversights, to ensure the integrity of the Defence Ministry and RMAF are intact, and should such faults are discovered, to recommend the adherence of standard procedures or benchmarking for future tender exercise since such purchases involved a huge sum of the country's funds.
Parliament and the nation are entitled to a searching and no-holds-barred PAC inquiry to produce a report to be tabled by the end of November which can answer many controversial questions, including:
Following the nation-wide furore over the helicopter deal, the PAC has itself come under the spotlight as to its performance, efficacy and usefulness.
As one comment queried on my blog:
The PAC Chairman Datuk Azmi Khalid should give a response to this query.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor