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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Zahid to explain 'agent fees' for navy vessels



Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today invited Kita president Zaid Ibrahim to meet with him so that he can answer queries on the purchase of six second-generation naval patrol vessels.

“I am taking his claims in good faith. I invite Zaid to meet me to get more information,” Ahmad Zahid said.

azlanSpeaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, he added that the ministry was open to queries in the interest of transparency.

“The rakyat have to know so they will not get the wrong information.

“We are very transparent and will explain to the public,” he said.

Zaid last week showed the media invoices that state Boustead Naval Shipyard had paid about RM11 million to three overseas-based companies for “technical assistance” in the purchase of the vessels.
Copies of the separate invoices show that the payments were made in euro to companies based in Brussels, Paris and Singapore, through foreign currency accounts in international banks in Singapore.

Boustead Naval Shipyard is buying the vessels from French defence contractor DCNS.

DCNS is currently under probe in France over suspicions of kickbacks paid in defence deals with several countries, including the sale of the Scorpene submarines to Malaysia.

lim guan eng submarine ride 091211 ahmad zahidAppearing unaware of the invoices, Ahmad Zahid (left) said Boustead Naval Shipyard, which is owned by the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), may have inherited legacy problems when it took the company over from the loss-making PSC Naval Dockyard.

The minister also called on Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua to arrange a meeting with him for the clarifications Pua was seeking on the naval vessel purchase.

“Where does he get his figures? From Kua Kia Soong, the former DAP MP?

“Pua should meet with me. Don’t be scared. I am not a lion or crocodile,” he said, agitatedly.

Pua had questioned why the cost of the six vessels ballooned from RM6 billion to RM9 billion, and the need for six new generation vessels.

‘Don’t drag rakyat into personal matters’

On a separate matter, Ahmad Zahid called on PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim not to drag the public into his personal matters.

Commenting on Anwar’s plans to tour the nation to explain his sodomy charge in the lead-up to the trial verdict on Jan 9, the minister said legal matters should not be politicised.

“If he says that the people should be the judge, then that should be during the general election,” he said.

Taking such matters to the streets was “unsuitable, under the political situation in Malaysia”.

“Parliamentarians are lawmakers, so deal with the law at that level, not on the streets where democracy only means demonstrations,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid earlier officially opened a carnival by Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim), a 38-year-old organisation that played a prominent role when Abdul Razak Hussein was prime minister.

He said that the government under Abdul Razak’s son Najib would work alongside Yadim to revive its glory in providing spiritual and physical assistance to Muslims nationwide.

Dakwah (the act of spreading the faith) should be done through wisdom and gentleness and not through judgment,” he said.

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