Why RM2 billion for Mindef IT project?

PKR questions the defence ministry’s need to spend more than RM2 billion for an apparently unknown IT feature

(Free Malaysia Today) – PKR estimated that more than RM2 billion will be spent over an information technology (IT) project involving the Defence Ministry (Mindef).

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said that Mindef had directly awarded a Network Centric Operations (NCO) project to Sapura Secured Technologies Sdn Bhd over a 20-year period for the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

“More than RM2 billion will definitely be wasted on a project that we don’t know about. Is it needed?” she told reporters at a press conference in Lembah Pantai today.

Nurul came to the conclusion based on a Oct 13 Parliamentary written response from Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad said that Mindef directly awarded the NCO project to Sapura over a a four-phase period involving 20 years, and four consecutive Malaysia Plans; from 2011 to 2030.

The first two years of the programme would also cost RM140 million.

“For now, Sapura has been given the responsibility to develop the Phase 1A of the NCO MAF Development Program, which will cost RM140 million over a two-year period.”

“Subsequent development phases would depend on the performance and success in Phase 1A,” he said.

Minister not forthcoming on details

Ahmad claimed that Sapura was suitable for the project, as it had an apparent expertise and “vast amount of experience” in defence matters, IT and security.

“It has to be stressed that the NCO MAF Development Program is one of capability development, where it is constantly changing based on needs and new input from each service,” he said, adding that hardware and software needs could not be identified easily.