Friday, January 20, 2012

Who Says There Is No Transparency

With the Parliamentary briefing by the Ministry Of Defence Chiefs to the BNBBC and PR MPs on the purchase of the Littoral Combat Ship purchase price and other allegations, I really hope that all the spin on such defence purchases will stop or it really shows you politikuses are just making political capital without any sincerity.

Clearer picture of defence buy

KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry has explained the supposed RM3bil increase for the purchase of six navy patrol vessels in an unprecedented meeting with Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they were also open to the setting up of a Parliamentary Oversight Committee on its procurement as suggested by the Opposition, but would leave it to the House to decide.

This was also agreed in principle by representatives from the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC), who also attended the more than two-hour meeting held at the ministry here yesterday.

Dr Zahid, accompanied by the navy, army and air force chiefs, explained to the MPs that the procurement price of the vessels was not increased from RM6bil to RM9bil as alleged, but was actually spread across the 10th Malaysia Plan (RM6bil) and the 11th Malaysia Plan (RM3bil).

The vessels are known as Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

“The main purpose of the discussion was to address the misinterpretation and misperception.

“We were transparent in our explanation. There is no cover-up. We invited the BNBBC as they deserved to know as well,” Dr Zahid said after the meeting on defence-related issues at his ministry.

Pakatan's delegation was headed by DAP's Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, who has been vocal about allegations involving certain defence procurements.

The meeting is a follow-up to Dr Zahid's invitation for Pakatan MPs to personally visit his ministry to get an actual view of current issues that have been raised including the LCS purchase and allegations and weaknesses in the purchase of submarines and aircraft.

Pua, who pointed out that the RM6bil was previously stated as the ceiling price for the purchase of the six LCS, said they had the right as MPs to clarify and ask questions to ensure procurements were made according to needs and were value for money.

“We welcome today's discussion and hope the ministry will continue to be transparent and that the Oversight Committee can be set up soon to address matters that are unclear,” he said.