Come clean on RM6b boats, Mindef told

Pakatan demands accurate and detailed information about the purchase of patrol vessels for the navy.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Pakatan Rakyat has demanded that the government clear the air over the RM6 billion deal to supply six vessels to the navy.

DAP’s Tony Pua and PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar said they deplored the apparent unwillingness to provide the public with explicit and detailed information about such an expensive purchase.

The Defence Ministry and the Royal Malaysian Navy had given conflicting information, said Pua.

He noted that while Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi had talked about “patrol vessels”,  navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar yesterday called them “littoral combat ships” capable of  battling warships, warplanes and submarines.

Nurul Izzah said it had become clearer than ever that there was a need for a parliamentary select committee to scrutinise military spending.

She said many people had a negative perception of the Defence Ministry’s purchases because of what she described as its “spotty” record.

“There have been many transgressions in the past, such as the purchase of Scorpene submarines and the loss of jet engines.”

She questioned why the Economic Transformation Programme was silent on the project to build the vessels, given its large scale and the length of time it would take to complete.

Zahid, in announcing the project last Saturday, said Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd would build the ships in partnership with 632 vendor companies.