(Bernama) -- There is no need for an independent commission to investigate the purchase of new Scorpene submarines for the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) as they were bought according to National Defence Equipment Procurement procedures, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday.
He said the government also found unnecessary to be an observer at France's 'Tribunal de Grande Istance' Court as it understands that there is no trial taking place in the country on the Scorpene submarine issue as alleged by non-governmental organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM).
Ahmad Zahid said the procurement involved various levels of approvals including a Technical Committee and a Price Negotiation Committee after which a detailed evaluation was made to ensure the procurement met the requirements of ATM.
"Reference was also made to the Attorney-General's Chambers to obtain approvals for the various clauses of the contract. All terms and approvals of the direct negotiation were presented to the Finance Ministry for approval," he said when winding up an adjournment speech by Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai).
Nurul Izzah in her speech sought the government's clarification on allegations that a 114 million euro commission was paid to a company in Malaysia and that Defence Ministry secret documents on the procurement of the submarines were leaked to a French company.
She also raised the issue of the procurement of the submarines being investigated by Tribunal de Grande Istance' as alleged by SUARAM in Bangkok in May.
The member for Lembah Pantai also called for an independent commission to investigate the issue.
Ahmad Zahid stressed that the ministry never paid any commission directly or indirectly to any companies in the procurement of the submarines.
The purchase of the submarines was done through direct negotiation in line with the government's procurement procedures with the manufacturing companies in both France and Spain, after having obtained the consent of their respective governments.
"The statement of the member for Lembah Pantai that the two Scorpene submarines were bought from Thales International is not true," he said.
Ahmad Zahid also said that the Defence Ministry did not have any information on allegations confidfential documents of the procurement of the submarines were sold to Thint Asia (Thales International) by Terarasi (Hong Kong) allegedly for 36 million euro (RM144 million).
"The ministry also does not have any information on the alleged payment from Thint Asia to Terasasi (Hong Kong)," he said.
Apart from that, Ahmad Zahid also said the government felt there was no need to set up a Permanent Parliamentary Committee for defence matters.
"This is because the equipment procurement plan of the armed forces is stated in the development budget estimate which is debated and passed by Parliament," he said.
The Dewan sits again Wednesday.