Forget NFC, go for Mindef, says Zaid

The ‘cow and condo’ scandal is nothing compared to the billions squandered in defence deals, claims Zaid Ibrahim.

(Free Malaysia Today) – When it comes to massive costs and covert deals, the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) is “peanuts” compared to the billions of ringgit being spent on the Royal Malaysian Navy,  KITA chief Zaid Ibrahim claimed.

He said it was hypocritical of Umno leaders to call for Women, Family & Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s head on a plate, when they were just as guilty as she was.

“I know many of you are excited about the cow scandal now engulfing Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. But that’s peanuts compared to what’s cooking in the Defence Ministry.”

“It’s comical and unfair for some Umno leaders to ask Shahrizat to resign when they are all in the same pot,” he said.

Zaid said that the government had spent as much as RM9 billion on six patrol vessels in the early 1990s, in an “exercise” that saw the Lumut Naval Dockyard (LND) being privatised.

He added that the ships had been bought from a Amin Shah Omar, who then ordered these ships from a German company Blohm + Voss.

(According to former Umno assemblyman Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, Amin was a high-profile tycoon who was said to have ties with ex-Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin.)

Zaid claimed that the Lumut Naval Dockyard then paid RM300 million for the ship designs so that they could self-build these units in the future.

Why are we buying?

The KITA chief then asked why the government wanted to buy a whole new brand of ships in the form of the Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV), when it had ship designs from over 15 years ago.

“Our current Defence Minister has decided to buy another six patrol vessels. It will cost more this time, naturally, since these are second-generation SGPVs with a new design to be built by another company, DCNS (Direction Technique des Constructions Navales).”

“Why we are not using the design that we paid so much for is something we should be thinking about,” Zaid said in his Sabahkini post.

He also asked why Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi and Boustead Naval Shipyard (formerly LND) changed its supplier from Blohm + Voss to DCNS.

This switch, Zaid mused, may have links with the controversial Scorpene submarine case, which implicated defence analyst Abdul Razak Baginda.

“All I can confirm is that DCNS is a famous company, because DCNS supplied us Scorpenes, a deal with someone equally famous who got RM500 million in duit kopi (kickbacks),” he said, adding that DCNS had been involved in a USD1 billion corruption scandal in Taiwan.

Zaid asked then how much this deal would cost Malaysians, and worried about the SGPV’s systems being decided by foreign consultants, instead of the RMN.

“The consultants are Singapore-based companies. Are they not foreigners? What if they recommend a system that compromises our national security? What assurance do we have that these consultants are not our enemies?” he asked.