How long has this been going on?

Certain songs do remind you of things in life that stare you in the face. British rock band Ace’s rendition of ‘How long has this been going on?’ reminds me of something that caught my eye yesterday. It’s about those 12 Cougar EC725 helicopters that the government plans to buy.

Below is an extract of that story from Malaysiakini:

Eurocopter scandal: No inspection done on choppers
Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Oct 30, 08 3:33pm 

Defence Deputy Minister Abu Seman Yusop received a beating from Pakatan Rakyat MPs today when he openly conceded that the multi-billion ringgit military helicopters did not undergo any physical inspection. 

abu seman yusopAbu Seman, in his Budget 2009 winding-up speech, said the ministry’s technical committee had decided to buy 12 units of the Eurocopter Cougar EC 725 helicopters based on documents alone.

He also took pains to explain that the purchase of the helicopters had cost the government RM1.6 billion, instead of the RM1.1 billion figure given by the ministry’s secretary-general Abu Bakar Abdullah in a press statement last week.

His revelation sparked an uproar in the House and prompted several Pakatan Rakyat MPs, led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, to grill him.

“How is it that a government procurement as big as this did not undergo any physical inspection? I have eight years of experience as finance minister and we have never make procurements without first inspecting (the items),” thundered Anwar.

M Manogaran (DAP-Teluk Intan) took a swipe at the deputy minister, saying that “even when you purchase something as small as a Perodua Kancil, you would want to inspect it first, what more when it is helicopters worth RM1.6 billion.”

Anwar said various aspects have to be taken into consideration like the safety of the pilots should there be any defects in the helicopters and it was absurd of the government not to make such deliberations when procuring the helicopters.

He demanded answers as to why conflicting figures have been cited on the cost of the helicopters.

Abu Seman then replied that it was a mistake on his part as he had overlooked the fact that the services charge and ‘offset package’ like supplementary military hardware had added RM500 million to the original RM1.1 billion to make it RM1.6 billion.


2 Responses to “How long has this been going on?”

  1. 1 Sharir 31 October 2008 at 10:53 am

    I know when I bought my TV and refrigerator, me and my wife went through lots of checking of specs and compared prices. We went to so many shops for that just to get the best product, service and value for our few thousand.

    It is amazing that when govt wants to spend billions, no checking of physical asset is done.

  2. 2 Patricia 31 October 2008 at 11:32 pm

    In answer to your question: 51 years.


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