Limkitsiang | The Prime Minister-cum-Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should set an example of integrity and transparency by making public the details of the shortlisted bids for the four aircrafts to replace the RMAF Nuri helicopters and the reason why Eurocopter’s Cougar EC725 has been selected.
It is a sad commentary on the failure of Abdullah’s National Integrity Plan that Malaysia’s latest ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index has plunged 10 places in his five years as Prime Minister from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008 and a deepening crisis of confidence about integrity and transparency.
Abdullah should be aware that his first act as Defence Minister, announcing that the Defence Ministry has agreed to acquire new helicopters from European helicopter manufacturers, Eurocopter, to replace the Nuri has been immediately dogged by integrity and transparency questions – in particular, the allegation about the involvement of his son Kamaluddin Abdullah in the Eurocopter deal.
It is for this reason that Abdullah should make public the details of the shortlisted bids by the four aircrafts to replace the RMAF Nuri helicopters and the reason why Eurocopter’s Cougar EC725 has been selected.
If no full explanation is forthcoming from Abdullah, I will be raising this issue in Parliament when it reconvenes on October 13.
The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 was one of four aircraft shortlisted by RMAF. The other three were the Sikorsky S92, Agusta Westland EH-101 Merlin and the Russian-made Mil Mi-17 Hip.
It has been reported that the government had allocated US$600 million (RM1.93 billion) to buy an initial fleet of 12 helicopters, which will be in service until 2050.
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