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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mindef says it again - no commissions paid for subs

The Defence Ministry has denied that commissions were paid by any party for the procurement of the Royal Malaysian Navy's two Scorpene submarines.

In a written parliamentary reply to Kamarudin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat), it said payments were only made to two contractors - France's DCNS and Spain's Navantia - for the construction of the submarines.

"On the other hand, Syarikat Perimekar Sdn Bhd (was paid) for coordination services for the 'Tim Projek' and for the submarine crew," said Defence Minister Zahid Ahmad Hamidi.

azlanZahid was replying Kamarudin's question which asked the Defence Ministry to state whether the Malaysian government would return the commissions which he claimed were paid by the French companies for the submarine deal. He cited the Taiwanese case as a precedent.

Syarikat Perimekar Sdn Bhd is owned by defence analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a close confidante to then deputy premier and defence minister Najib Abdul Razak.

On June 22, it wasrevealed in Parliament that Perimekar was paid 114.96 million euro (approximately RM574.8 million) for 'coordination and support services' involving the submarine deal.

The subject of commissions for the submarines first surfaced after the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu who reportedly acted as a translator for the Malaysian side in the submarine deal.

She was alleged to have come to Malaysia to seek her cut of the commission paid to Abdul Razak but instead met her untimely demise.

Two police personnel have been convicted for her murder while Abdul Razak was acquitted of abetment charges.

Defenceless submarines

On a related matter, Batu MP Tian Chua questioned the high cost of both the submarine armaments - 40 Exocet SM-39 surface-to-air missiles and 30 Black Shark Heavyweight Torpedoes - as revealed in Parliament recently.

"If you check the figures provided by Mindef in the written reply, 70 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes cost 219 million euro (RM1.1 billion). Since we were not provided a breakdown, we will assume they are about 3 million euro each.

azlan"If you convert this to local currency, it means every one we fire will cost us RM12 million," he toldMalaysiakini at the Parliament lobby today.

In contrast, he said the US made Tomahawk multi-purpose missile only cost US$575,000 (RM1.8 million each) while past records show that Indonesia had purchased China-made C-802A missiles at US$500,000 (RM1.65 million each) each with similar functionality.

Chua also expressed disappointment with the government's inability to obtain the weapons in time for a scheduled naval exercise in May.

"According to the navy, we were supposed to have fired five torpedoes. We were supposed to test the weapons before the warranty for the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman submarine expired," said Chua.

"So where are our 70 missiles and torpedoes now? If Indonesia attacks us today, our submarine will not have any missiles for a counter-attack."

Zahid: No delays

Approached by Malaysiakini later, Zahid rubbish-ed claims that the delivery of the second Scorpene submarine had been delayed.

NONE"No, there is no delay [...] it is scheduled like that," he explained, adding the second Scorpene submarine will arrive on July 2 at the naval base in Lumut, Perak.

He also denied Chua's allegations that the weapons system was being delayed, adding that it was a normal procedure for it to be installed later.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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