Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 18th February 2010:
Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid should give comprehensive ministerial statement on the scandal of the two missing jet engines when Parliament meets on March 16
It will be not be easy to pick the five top topics which dominated conversations and discussions among Malaysians during the Golden Tiger Chinese New Year celebrations as there are so many issues contending for a place among the top spots. Undoubtedly, those contending for placing among the top five topics would include the following:
What is indisputable however is that the two military scandals of the two missing jet engines and the submarine that cannot dive are quite assured of placings in the ‘Top Five” conversational topics during the Golden Tiger Chinese New Year celebrations among Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.
This is why I have given notice to Parliament yesterday that my first oral question when Parliament next meets on the first day on March 16, 2010 is on the scandal of the two missing jet engines, asking the Defence Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid what lessons had been learnt and the remedial measures taken and why top Defence Ministry officials – including Zahid himself and the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was Defence Minister at the time the two jet engines went missing – did not know for 18 months that the jet engines cost RM303,570 and not RM50 million each.
If Zahid and Najib go down to meet the people, he will find that there are teeming questions throughout the country about the scandal of the two missing engines. In fact, such queries have crossed national borders as it is also an international issue.
Zahid should give a comprehensive ministerial statement on the scandal of the two missing jet engines when Parliament meets on March 16 to demonstrate that neither he nor Najib has anything to hide.
Zahid should not only give a satisfactory explanation why the top Defence Ministry officials did not know for 18 months that the two missing F5E jet engines cost RM303,570 and not RM50 million each in 1972, but whether the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court had been misled on January 6 about the value of the two missing jet engines as to set the very high bail of RM150,000 for Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) sergeant N. Tharmendran and a company director K. Rajandran Prasad who were charged in connection with the theft of the two F5E jet engines.
According the media reports, the Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran had requested for a bail of RM200,000 for each accused on the ground that the offence involved was a serious one and “involved two high-valued jet engines”.
However, the very next day, Zahid announced that the actual value of an F5E jet engine is RM303,570 in 1972 and not RM50 million as he had mentioned when the news of the scandal first broke three weeks earlier.
The charging of only two persons have also raised query as the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail had earlier been reported as saying that “so many people” were involved in the scandal - but he had vowed that “there will be no compromise on this”.
Why then only two persons charged? Does the Attorney-General really want Malaysians to believe that only two lowly personnel were involved in the scandal of the two missing jet engines, which have brought adverse international publicity to Malaysia to the value not in terms of hundreds of thousands of ringgit, or even tens of millions of ringgit – but easily in hundreds of millions of ringgit in causing a further slide in Malaysia’s international competitiveness!
Malaysians have also been told that some components from F5 jetfighters had also been stolen – but as far as is known, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had not been able to get any useful information from the Defence Ministry officials and I have my grave doubts that the PAC will be able to present any meaningful report on its inquiry into the scandal of the two missing jet engines when Parliament meets next month.
There is also another intriguing angle to the scandal of the missing jet engines, summarized by one tweet on my twitter, viz: “Jets dont fly & subs dont submerge. Purportedly during PM's tenure in Mindef. R there attempts frm within 2 undermine him?”
This is why Zahid should be responsible, accountable and transparent enough to present a fulsome and comprehensive Ministerial statement covering all these and other queries swirling in the public mind on the scandal of the two missing jet engines when Parliament convenes for its first working meeting on March 16.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor