Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009:
What a way to end 2009 – two missing RM50 million RMAF jet engines which exposes high-level thievery, government topsy-turvydom and sheer lack of professionalism in defence, police and Attorney-General’s Chambers casting long shadow on Najib’s GTP
What a way to end 2009 and the first uncompleted year of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – two missing RM50 million RMAF jet engines which exposes high-level thievery, government topsy-turvydom and sheer lack of professionalism in defence, police and Attorney-General’s Chamnbers, casting a long shadow on Najib’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP).
Many questions cry out for answer on the scandal of the missing jet engines as they are not an unobtrusive object that could be easily squirrelled away, with each explanatory statement by the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the air force and the police raising more questions.
Najib gave the assurance that action would be taken against those responsible for the missing Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) jet engines - the powerplants to the F-5E Tiger II fighter and RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance jets - saying: “Let us investigate. Whoever is in the wrong will be held responsible.”
Why is the Prime Minister still talking in the future tense, when the action for the missing RMAF jet engines took place in May last year, and RMAF had lodged a report with the police on Aug 4 last year?
Armed Forces Chief Gen Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin said last Friday that the missing RMAF jet engines might just be the “tip of the iceberg” as initial investigations showed that other equipment might have gone missing as far back as 2007.
And Zahid said in Banting on Sunday that the engines went missing “about three years ago” and that “It’s a complicated case with international connections”.
Its speak poorly of the performance, efficiency and professionalism of the defence, police and Attorney-General’s Chambers that no proper account of the missing RM50 million RMAF jet engine could be rendered although the theft took place two or three years ago, with Azizan only able to talk about the theft as “tip of the iceberg” but unable to identify the rest of the iceberg.
On the one hand, Azizan said that the armed forces has launched a full audit of its assets following the loss of the jet engines, but in Banting the Defence Minister said he left it to the police to investigate if there was other equipment missing from military bases nationwide.
Who now is going to be responsible to conduct a full audit of the existence of all the military assets in the country, the armed forces or the police?
It is reported by New Straits Times yesterday that a brigadier-general and 40 other armed forces personnel were sacked late last year over their alleged involvement in the case of the two missing RM50 million RMAF jetfighter engines, following an internal inquiry and disciplinary committee.
Is this all the action to be taken after the two missing RM50 million RMAF jet engines, with no one being hauled to court to face the full force of the law?
This version conflicts with the account in the New Straits Times on Saturday that “Air force officers found the jet engine missing in January when they sent a private contractor to Subang to service the engine”, raising the question how disciplinary action could be taken even before the defence authorities became aware of the missing jet – apart from the question as to how the RMAF could be unaware of the missing jet engine for such a long time, at least one or two years!
Najib was the Defence Minister when the jet engines theft took place, which created a frightening picture of a government of thieves.
Malaysians are entitled to a full, uncensored and unvarnished account of the two missing RM50 million RMAF jet engines, why the various authorities seem to be superslow in their remedial responses, including the Attorney-General Chambers in prosecuting the culprits concerned.
No “ifs” and “buts” – a full statement of the latest government scandal of the two missing RM50 million RMAF jet engines should be made either by Najib or Zahid or public confidence in Najib’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) would suffer a grievous blow even before its official launch.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor