SHAH ALAM: Two days ago, Malaysian Defence reported that the MACC was investigating the FLIT/LCA
tender process over alleged impropriety and that a caretaker government has no right to negotiate contracts. And it appears that the negotiations, were not limited to the FLIT/LCA tender but also for both the MPA and MALE-UAS programmes, it was learnt.
On October 9, Senior Minister for Defence, DS Hishammuddin Hussein, tweeted that the Government had agreed to offers for the MPA and MALE-UAS programmes.
The Parliament was dissolved 24 hours later, prompting many observers to suggest that the Minister’s tweet was politically motivated. The following day (October 11), Malaysian Defence reported that the Ministry of Defence had initiated negotiations with Leonardo to buy the world’s slowest
Contacts within the MPA Technical Committee have confirmed that a Letter of Agreement (LOA) was negotiated between October 11 and October 25 while parliament was dissolved. It will be most interesting to see who signed the LOA.
As Malaysian Defence reported at the time, the selected MPA has a maximum speed that does not meet the minimum requirements and is slower than the RMAF’s current MPA’s. Malaysian Defence has learnt that during the period of the MPA negotiations were taking place, Leonardo’s own government, Italy, put its fleet of ATR MPA’s on the market for $10M per aircraft. This is highly unusual. Does it has something to do with the speed of the ATR?
Irrespective of the outcome of the MACC’s investigations, we need to hold our next government to a much higher standard. The expectation is that the next government will scrutinize the decisions of the shenanigans of the old government especially on defence matters. Upon swearing in, our new parliament should immediately cancel all LOA’s; LOIs and contracts, cease any and all ongoing negotiations, and initiate a formal review of the FLIT/LCA, MPA and MALE-UAS programmes.
There was a time when I hoped that the transparency that had been prompted by the LCS scandal would ensure that the decision makers at the defence and finance ministries were focused on the most
optimum use of taxpayer money. Watching the old guard stumble from one scandal to another
does little for one’s confidence.
— Malaysian Defence