Questions on MPA Deal

Leonardo ATR P-72 MSA. Leonardo

SHAH ALAM: It appears after numerous articles on the MPA by Malaysian Defence, several mainstream media organisations have also published their take on the Defence Ministry decision to acquire two ATR72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

From February 13 to March 3, UtusanTV ran a series of four in-depth articles concluding that a full review was warranted. A similar article was published on March 4, 2023, in Newswav. On the same day, “The Malaysian Insight” published an article calling for the reconsideration of the LOA.
The articles make note of numerous irregularities over the award of the tender.

For example, the tender was issued on the August 25, 2020. Incredibly, no decision was made for more than two years. Why? Then more than two years later and just 24 hours before Parliament was dissolved on October 10, 2022, the then Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein, tweeted that the
(Barisan Nasional) government had signed a Letter of Award. To say that the timing of the Ministers tweet was irregularity would be an understatement.

Further checks showed that the Letter of Award was negotiated by the caretaker government while parliament was dissolved. This is irregular, as a caretaker government has no right to negotiate
contracts.

It has been reported that the selected MPA’s maximum speed does not meet the minimum mandatory requirement of the tender. Contacts within the MPA Technical Committee have been reported to have confirmed that other key mandatory requirements including the ability to locate submarines with acoustic listening buoys known as sonobuoys and a magnetic anomaly detector, were excluded as the selected company had no experience with these mandatory requirements.

How is it possible to award a contract to a company to provide something that is not technically compliant to the tender? According to an executive of an International Defence company that we contacted, “Our company was advised that we would be disqualified if our offer did not include all mandatory requirements. This is the norm in international tenders. Mandatory is mandatory for all; not just for all except one”. A new government and a new Defence Minister. Will there be changes?

— Malaysian Defence

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