Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Eurocopters - All Is Well?

(Update: Read also Sdr Lim Kit Siang's latest take on the issue.)

As a Public Accounts Committee member, it will be a breach of privilege for me to discuss here in detail inquiries which have or are being conducted. And the Eurocopter transaction is complicated further by the fact that certain information are classified as "military secrets". However, as I've been receiving emails asking as to whether an "all clear" has really been given, I'll just refer below to The Malaysian Insider report which gave a more balanced view of what transpired.
After several meetings stretched out over the past one week, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has cleared the federal government of scandal into the RM1.6 billion Eurocopter military deal.

However, the decision was not unanimous as some of its members felt that officials from the Defence Ministry had failed to address several key questions, notably what made the Eurocopter EC725 Cougar the preferred choice to replace the Royal Malaysian Air Force's 42-year-old fleet of Nuri helicopters.

Attempts to obtain detailed explanations from the ministry's top officials who were present at today's inquiry session were thwarted.

The questions had been submitted beforehand, but apparently the military top brass had chosen to ignore the queries or had responded merely that they were confidential military information and could not as such be disclosed.

ree made it to the final list but the Defence Ministry selected the Eurocopter which cost RM1.604 billion for 12 units. The other two packages cost RM1.262 billion and RM2.442 billion respectively.

[...]

The Malaysian Insider understands that while the Defence Ministry had abided by the regulations in the tender procedure, it had not followed the standard norms in calling up each of the helicopter manufacturers to clarify the details of their tender.

"Our concern is that this deal, to put it in a way, is made for Eurocopter. None of the tenderers were called in for tender clarification of the tender document during the entire tender process," noted a horrified PAC member.
I'm certain that my other party leaders will make the necessary comments on the issue.
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