Monday, October 20, 2008

Najib: Copter deal open to scrutiny

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is free to start an inquiry on the Defence Ministry's decision to procure the Eurocopter EC725 in a bid to allay any misconception over the matter.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he had submitted a motion in the Cabinet meeting on Friday that the matter be scrutinised by PAC and that was approved.

He added that the Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Abu Bakar Abdullah had already issued a public statement pertaining to the processes and were said to be in accordance to tender procedures and that there was no external influence. "However, the matter should be studied in detail by PAC and PAC can hold a hearing in order to make a conclusion over what have happened. "I had suggested this and it was accepted and I hope PAC will start to work on it," he told reporters during a Hari Raya open house on Sunday.

Early this month, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd chairman Capt (Rtd) Zahar Hashim alleged that the tender made during Najib’s tenure as Defence Minister to replace the aging Nuri helicopters had been too costly. He claimed the Government could have saved almost RM1.5bil if it had bought the Kazan-M172 helicopters from Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd, the firm he represents, instead of buying Cougar EC-725s from the German-French firm Eurocopter.

He said the Kazan-M172 met all the specifications required by the armed forces and cost RM898mil while the Cougar units cost the Government RM2.317bil. On Oct 17, Abu Bakar issued a detailed statement saying that the decision was done following proper procedures.

source: Najib: Copter deal open to scrutiny
Malaysia Star, Malaysia

other related stories:

PAC urged to pore over Eurocopter deal Malaysia Today
Procedures followed in helicopter deal Your Defence News (press release)
Cabinet wants probe into copter deal probe New Straits Times
All rules were observed in acquiring Eurocopter EC725, says Ministry
New Straits Times, Malaysia
Ministry: Chopper deal proper Malaysia Star