Monday, February 14, 2011

MACC Ridicules Itself Over RM6 billion OPVs

MACC ridicules itself by claiming that it requires a report from me to commence any investigations on the Ministry of Defence RM6 billion of purchase of offshore patrol vessels.

Bernama quoted an unnamed source from the Commission claiming that "the commission cannot carry out an investigation based on wild allegations", insinuating that the issue which I had raised in the past week was completely baseless and frivolous.

The report added that "if the Petaling Jaya Utara MP did not come forward, the source said, the commission would try to get in touch with him to get “valid facts” to start sinvestigations".

I nearly choked on my breakfast reading the report, not because I fear being contacted by MACC but because the Commission has completely ridiculed itself on 2 counts.

Firstly, MACC should perhaps read both my statements, which are published on my blog on the issue. And if there's difficulty in comprehending the statement in English, then I'd be more than happy to translate it for them.

When the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi announced the purchase of 6 naval patrol vessels (OPVs) for RM6 billion ringgit without accompanying details, what I asked was what exactly was the Navy acquiring in terms of the exact type of OPV.

I cited examples where lower end OPVs could be purchased at costs significantly lower such as the Irish Roisin class (US$34m) or what was recently acquired by New Zealand for NZ$90 million (RM210m). Similarly, I cited the example of the US Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) which will cost substantially more at US$300 million.

My statement did not accuse the Ministry of purchasing low-end OPVs at for RM1 billion each. My statement requested the Ministry to justify its purchase by giving detailed specifications on the type of OPVs which was being acquired since the original Minister's statement as reported also by Bernama did not carry details.

Hence the call by MACC for me to file a report with them is irrelevant and the need does not arise at this point of time.

Secondly, MACC's claim that its unable to do anything without a report from me is even more ridiculous. Should MACC require clarifications on the details and cost of the ships, they have the power to summon the relevant officials with the information, which I'm powerless to do.

As an MP, in the interest of the rakyat, I can only ask the right questions when the need arises to check on the various government agencies. Similarly, it would have been MACC's proactive responsibility to at the very least conduct preliminary inquiries on the very substantial RM6 billion OPVs purchase which didn't come with details when it was first announced, and not have to wait for an MP to raise the questions.

MACC's abdication of responsibility in cases such as this is disappointing and is clearly a factor in the decline in the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for Malaysia, that the Government is losing the fight against corruption.

Not every inquiry investigated will lead to a genuine abuse or corruption case. But the fact that MACC failed to even monitor developments in mega-government acquisitions in the billions of ringgit marks its failure as the agency to fight against corruption in the country.

Instead by attempting to shift its responsibility to an MP who is raising very relevant questions on the RM6 billion acquisition is makes a mockery on the commitment and competence of MACC.
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