A thorough investigation is in order

A serious allegation was made today by a retired capt regarding the purchase of some helicopters by the Ministry of Defence. This deal apparently runs into billions of ringgits.

This is from Malaysiakini,

In a five-page letter obtained by Malaysiakini, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd chairperson Capt (rtd) Zahar Hashim outlined several discrepancies and questioned the legitimacy of the deal to buy a dozen of choppers from German-French firm Eurocopter.

Among others, he stated in another letter on Oct 9 – which bore corrections to the prices stated in the first letter – that the government could have purchased same number of helicopters and save almost RM1.5 billion.

“(With) the price offered by Eurocopter for 12 units of Cougar EC-725 worth (an estimated of) RM2.3I7 billion, the government could purchase 30 Kazan-M172 (from Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd) which fulfills almost all the specifications required by the armed forces,” he said.

He said the offer from Kelowna for a dozen of similar choppers was RM898 million.

“The difference in the price offered by Eurocopter and the price offered by Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd is RM1.419 billion.”

Zahar’s Mentari Services is believed to be representing Canadian-based Kelowna Flightcraft – one of the three companies which had unsuccessfully bid for the multi-billion ringgit contract.

Zahar also allegedly questioned the manner in which the deal was hastily sealed. According to him,

“Physical evaluations such as inspecting the premises and factories of the bidders and conducting test flights were not carried out because permission from the upper echelon of the defence and finance ministries have not been obtained.

“Physical evaluation is more important than documentary evaluation and the personnel involved are surprised to find out that the LOI was issued without any physical evaluation,” he added

This is a very serious allegation, and I call upon the Prime Minister to immediately order ACA to conduct a thorough  investigation into the allegation. If the allegation is proven to be true, then whoever is guilty must be made answerable to the law of the country.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. petestop
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 23:34:46

    This is typical modus operandi of local politically connected business.

    It is just a waste of time (and money).

    Better just concentrate on doing business with the rest of the world.

    Needless to say, I experience first hand on such dealings.


  2. langchiapek
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 00:45:13

    I doubt the ACA can perform much action inview that the director of ACA is to report to the PM office and guess who is the next PM to be ?

    Barisan Neragka indeed, and once again the citizen of Malaysia is ‘sondoled’


  3. romerz
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 01:13:45

    On a similar topic.

    Mail-order shopping



  4. clearwater
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 11:43:31

    Helicopters, planes, patrol boats, submarines, armored vehicles, small arms – you name it, some crony or other has profited from the purchase contract. Remember Anand Khashoggi, the middleman arms dealer who lived the life of the rich and famous? We have our own home grown versions, I am sure. Military hardware transaction is big business conducted in secrecy. The product is unlikely to be put to field tests, war within 10 years being unlikely, and the armament then conveniently becomes obsolete. Yes, I am looking forward to Najib’s explanation on the helicopter purchase. Let’s see what more he can say on another potential scandal.


  5. KPLee
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:41:22

    Another dirty and corrupted baggage on our up and coming PM.
    Nowadays, they involve BILLIONS and not millions. That shows how corrupted and greedy our politicians running the country. Almost everyone is trying to milk the poor rakyat to their last drop.
    Have given up hope that our so called ACA will do anything. They are all in the same boat.
    God save Malaysia.


  6. klm
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 18:11:56

    I am not defendng the decision on the purchase.
    Mentari Services has an axe to grind. So we must be careful of what they say.

    I am not sure if anyone would want to buy the Russian helicopters, even at this price. Remember the Sukhoi fighters that was bought during Dr. M’s time. The aircraft spent a lot of time on the ground because of lack of spare parts.
    Unfortunately, the Russian still do not have the industrial base to make sophisticated machinery and keep them running for 20-30 years. It require spare parts and frequent upgrades of parts. The Russians stil do not have the scale to keep the maintenace going for this many years.

    I for one will complain if the decision is for the russian helicopters. It will be a waste of tax payers money. If the country need to buy these helicopters, look at the more viable choices. In fact, the Eurocopter is one of the best in the market. Mercedes is one of the shareholders.

    Before you complain, I am not against the Russians. I have seen very sophisticated solutions from the Russian that really impressed me. But in this case, it is the wrong choice.

    Also, if you are against the purchase of the helicopters, talk to the widows and children of the crew members of the Nuris that crashed. Think of the number of people who died on duty in the aging Nuris.

    THe legitimate question is if we are paying a fair price and getting value for the tax payers money.


  7. Nick
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 18:59:45

    The most important recommendation has to come from the Technical Evaluation Committee. Unless, the public have seen this, it is unfair to comment. TEC reports to the Main Committee. I have read in Malaysiakini that Mentari has offered the Defence Ministry 6 months free use of the Russian-modelled (Canadian made) Helis but the offer was not taken up. Why? The price difference of RM 1.4 Bn is also suspicious? Usually, when specs are fulfilled the price will be the deciding factor. And don’t forget Najib likes to appoint “agents” who can “serviced” these helis like what we have seen for the Submarines and the fighter Jets.


  8. A true Malaysian
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 19:57:01

    The procedures and process of awarding tenders should be transparent, just like the one Singapore has for inviting Integrated Resorts (IRs) in Marina Bay and Sentosa Island.

    If not, this kind of disputes are sure to happen. We don’t want to see individuals or cronies are make mega rich by awarding contracts to them or their proxies.

    Just a simple rule, make sure we get value from money spent.


  9. Meng
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 22:33:45

    I do not know how many of the commentators have actually flown in a helicopter on operational duty. This Heli is much better than the american and russian Heli. It has better performance and provide some punch for our troops…especially on lifting troops into the jungle and landing on a small clearing in the midst of a fire fight.

    Presently the US Heli vibrate so much so that we do not know whether it is going to crash or not.

    We are talking about lives here. If we want something good and solid it is not cheap. You cannot buy a Mers with the price of a proton.


  10. yh
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 00:33:38


    can one buy a merc and pay the price of a merc? or is the country paying the price for a merc but getting a proton?


  11. Meng
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 09:47:11


    End user determines.

    Workmanship is not cheap in Europe.


  12. CYC
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 11:03:23

    Dr Hsu,

    If Gerakan could convince BN government to launch a thorough investigation of this saga, i will rest my criticism of Gerakan’s stand irrespective of remain or out of BN. Otherwise, this blog serve no purposes but just a talk show forum. Before that, i am neither for or against the purchase but the due process must be clean and transparent.


  13. A true Malaysian
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 14:15:59


    I agree with you. We can talk till the sky drop but if Umno still behaves like that, all our talks will be just empty talks.

    Gerakan, and for that matter, MCA and other BN component parties should team up with Pakatan Rakyat, only then, Umno ‘may’ change. If not, all are just empty talks.


  14. klm
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 16:40:23

    Meng brought up a good point. Generally, a helicopter vibrates like it is falling a part. The Eurocopter has a very smooth ride so that you can actually work on board.

    For those interested in technical thing, the Eurocopter has a technology that senses vibration and generate a counter vibration to reduce the overall vbration. For sure, the Russian dont have this and it seemed the american may not have this as well.


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