PAC Chairman Azmi should withdraw from PAC Eurocopter Inquiry because of “close proximity”

Datuk Azmi Khalid, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), should personally withdraw from the PAC inquiry into the RM2.3 billion 12 Cougar EC725 Eurocopter deal because of his “close proximity” to the Executive as two-term member of the Cabinet until seven months ago.

Azmi’s background as a two-term Cabinet Minister under Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would be important considerations to the Prime Minister why Azmi is regarded as politically suitable, stable, reliable and trustworthy candidate as PAC Chairman although from the perspective of established parliamentary conventions in mature democracies, these same factors would be regarded as precisely the reason why he is not suitable or qualified for the post.

In fact, in mature and developed parliamentary democracies, the Chairman of PAC is invariably from a senior Opposition MP, and not an MP from the administration, let alone a person who had just been a two-term Minister under the Prime Minister-of-the-day.

Credibility is greatly stretched for anyone to believe that a two-term Minister would be prepared to be very zealous to conduct a no-holds-barred PAC investigation into any major government irregularity or impropriety like the RM2.3 billion 12 Cougar EC725 Eurocopter deal – especially as Azmi was a Minister in the original Cabinet decision of 18th July 2007 to phase out the Nuri fleet of helicopters after the latest Nuri helicopter crash the week before.

As the maxim goes, justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. Any hint of conflict-of-interest whether arising from “close proximity” as a two-term Cabinet Member of the Prime Minister-of-the-day or other reasons should be avoided at all costs.

Azmi Khalid should therefore withdraw from any PAC inquiry into the RM2.3 billion Cougar EC725 Eurocopter deal, and the full responsibility for conducting the helicopter investigation should devolve to the Deputy PAC Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (DAP – Kepong).

Two weeks ago, after the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and I queried the propriety and integrity of the Cougar EC725 helicopter deal in Parliament, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that he would probe allegations that there were irregularities in the multi-billion ringgit defence procurement.

The silence of Abdullah, who is also Defence Minister, in the past fortnight on this issue has been deafening.

Abdullah had also said that the Anti-Corruption Agency will also look into the helicopter deal.

Has this been done?

The PAC investigation into the RM2.3 billion Cougar EC725 Eurocopter helicopter deal cannot be used as an excuse for Abdullah as the Defence Minister to avoid giving a proper reply to the issues raised by Pakatan Rakyat MPs on the deal during the budget debate.

I for one will be looking forward to Abdullah’s response to the various queries raised in Parliament and outside on the RM2.3 billion Cougar EC725 Eurocopter deal during the four-day Ministerial replies in Parliament starting tomorrow.

  1. #1 by Mr Smith on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 4:40 pm

    But then, isn’t it a fact that all important appointments viz CJ, AG, IGP, GLCs chiefs, newspaper editors, etc are all done with a motive, a sinister one at that, to protect UMNO’s interests?

    It is only an UMNO blood, as PAC Chairman, can protect its leaders.

  2. #2 by Tonberry on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 4:55 pm

    Well said, MrSmith.

    He was put there by Umno. With one purpose in mind only. To divert and cover up every wrongdoing of Umno regarding public funds.

    And since when did an Umnoputra have the sense of right and wrong?

  3. #3 by DingDongBell on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 5:06 pm

    What’s new ?

    Abang Adik arrangement is part of our culture.
    They are all from one big happy family .
    Isn’t it that our leaders always remind us to be more efficient in project delivery.

    Salute ! They walk the talk.
    Forget about opposition become chairman of PAC. If not our momentum towards Wawasan 2020 will be affected.
    Oops ! Anyone still recall what is that ?

  4. #4 by cazz on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 5:55 pm

    No surprise! PAC, ACA never uncover villainy in any of BN deals. We never expect the truth will surface, not as long as BN is still sitting in PutraJaya office.

    We will never give up, and will always be standing by DAP to fight till the devil is vanquished.

    We should keep a log, listing all BN’s mischiefs. UMNO especially.

  5. #5 by Citizen Smith on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 5:56 pm

    In a tender process, you can have a down select where you pick the best proposals and then conduct a second round of negotiations to obtain better terms from the vendors. However if you eliminate all but one, that becomes the de facto tender winner. At this point, tender deposits are returned and unsuccessful tenderers receive a tender debrief to explain how and why the decision came to be. We are in the rather bizzare position of Eurocopter being the de facto winner without a finalised position and without official closure to the tender. Perhaps we should have called it a Malaysian Style International Open Tender, detailing our special tender peculiarities…….

    However now that we have a winner, we MUST proceed with the acquisition as per the tender document, to do otherwise would be mala fide on the part of the Malaysian Government. However, as there was no down select and opportunities for a best and final offer, MINDEF and Eurocopter are bound by the tender terms with no revision and adjustment possible. Changing the contract conditions (including specs and pricing) would be mala fide.

    This is where the PAC comes in….. it has to ensure that the EC725 is brought in at the tender price and in that configuration. If the tender was faulty, MINDEF officials from the KSU down have to be brought to task. If Eurocopter low balled the tender confident of upward revision, they should be held to the tender pricing or face disqualification and black listing from all future business from the Malaysian government. Since the tender price is approx RM 1.1 billion, we could afford 24 helicopters with the money allocated and replace all the Nuris on a 1:1 basis.

    I cannot see how the government can claim not to be able to afford the money for this obviously top priority programme with far reaching impact given that they OKed 5 billion ringgit for Valuecap, throwing money at a slumping market. I’m sure a trained economist like the MoF knows only too well that doing so just fritters away taxpayer’s money.

    I have come to love the EC725 because of the terrific leverage it has given the body public into MINDEF and the procurment mechanism and the wonderful opportunity of having Eurocopter over a barrel…….

  6. #6 by just a moment on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 7:12 pm

    Good news. Eurocopter deals off, as of now.
    Meanwhile, YB Kit. Latest from Star headlines.
    Mamak: “Bumiputra’s 30% equity stays”.

    Q: Is this Mamak running this country?
    Q: Why this mamak get so much attention from
    the media even though he’s not even a member of UMNO?
    Q: What is his game plan now, bring out this Bumiputras thinggy?

    Like I always suspected, This mamak has the greatest gift of DIVIDING, SPLITTING, rakyat’s semtiment. Can anyone tell me Im off the mark pls?

  7. #7 by hadi on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 7:53 pm

    What kind of sophistication the RMAF and MINDEF are looking for in this new heli procurement. I wonder what kind of capabilities that the RMAF is trying to fit into this machines. I wonder how are these cougers going to be employed by RMAF. I wonder how the RMAF comes to select 12 as the magic number and decides for it. I wonder, will there be a time that this so called Combat SAR heli which is going to be equipped with expensive gadgets dictate the result of “beyond imagination airwar” promulgated by the Airforce warlords. I wonder will these cougers ended up as another VVIP/VIP flying machines.
    Let me also wonder what is going to happen to the NURIs, with the millions of ringgit spent for the upgrading program which is still in progress. I wonder and everyone will continue to wonder.
    YB Kit, I also wonder, when the NURIs crashed, will that justify to simply buy a new helicopter… I wonder how simple can it be but I also wonder whether the whole package is more of contractor driven with some hidden wonder hand.
    But my biggest wonder is the decision making process was hush, hush and so sudden that element of surprise as in the principle of war was aptly adopted. And it makes Malaysians wonder, when the LOI was issued that also make the contending bidder wonder as how they make the Couger procurement another wonder of the world in the Bolehland.
    Initially, we wonder whether the PAC is going to meet and proceed with an investigation. Now we wonder whether DS Azmi is the right guy to chair the PAC on this newfound wonder of Couger Helicopter.
    Finally, I wonder whether anything at all will take place.Wonder and wonder…!!! and I wonder what will be next wonder.

  8. #8 by a-malaysian on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 8:41 pm

    YB Kit,

    While it is good to pressure for an inquiry from within our country knowing very well that PAC and ACA could not and will not really find anything wrong or act to cover up the whole thing why not someone with international connections seek the truth from the out side.

    Go direct to the supplier of Cougar EC725 Eurocopter and push point blank questions as to why they are selling at double the price to us. Go to the European Union to ask them to look into any possibilities of the company illegal dealings. Seek the truth from the outside.


    GE 13 – No matter what, we must ensure that racist umno bn do not regain the power like they had for the past fifty one years.

  9. #9 by Godfather on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 9:43 pm

    Gani Patail and Musa Hassan recusing themselves from the Anwar trial…hahaha….who would believe that ? Zaki promising to recuse himself from any UMNO-related matter….hahaha….who would believe that ? Azmi Khalid withdrawing as Chairman of PAC in hearing the Eurocopter case…..hahaha…..are you kidding us ?

    The thieves have gone through such lengths to protect their interests only to accede to an Opposition request to withdraw due to conflict of interest ? Nah, there is no such thing as stupid thieves.

  10. #10 by Godfather on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 10:29 pm

    Bodohwi now confirms that the deal is off. He also said that the price was RM 1.7 billion, and not RM 2.3 billion as reported elsewhere. It is interesting to note that the Sec-Gen of the Ministry of Defence had earlier said that the price offered by Eurocopter was RM 1.1 billion. So now, we have 3 different prices, so the first thing that the PAC should do is to verify the price.

    The next thing to verify is the identity and ownership of the intermediate local company that is transposed between the Ministry and Eurocopter.

    I think they are banking on the fact that the rakyat’s memory will be short-lived on a deal that is already deferred.

  11. #11 by monsterball on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 10:38 pm


  12. #12 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 10:38 pm

    kan aku dah cakap, kepala pac tu konco konco aku. kau diamlah. aku bagi lah dia sikit bila aku dapat banyak nanti. korang ni takda kerja lain ke nak korek hal hal aku yang aku nak korek duit banyak banyak bila aku dah dekat nak pencen ni…

  13. #13 by monsterball on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 10:39 pm

    Lim Kit Siang is doing the dirty one wants.
    He is constantly exposing sleazy deals by UMNO.

  14. #14 by human1 on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 10:42 pm

    Abdullah has broken the silence. RM2.3 billion turns out to be 1.67, the prime minister cum defence minister clarified this in the press conference. The difference is RM630 million.

    We usually take things for granted. The people of this country should thank Lim Kit Siang, a man of honour for his outstanding role of being an effective opposition and his persistent effort in highlighting the issue, in attempt to stop any potential leak of federal fund into the hands of middlemen. The amount of money that should instead be used to spur domestic economic growth in various sectors of this nation.

    The deal which is now worth RM1.67 billion, is still higher than the original reported tender RM1.1 billion. This is due to the upgraded version of EC725 aircrafts having the add-on combat capability in addition to the search & rescue; something that the Brazilians are not having, explained Abdullah. I agree for the sake of our servicemen and servicewomen, we would be taking their lives in our hands if we continue to put the unreliable Nuri in use for current military operations.

    Yet in this case, we should scrutinize the entire procurement process for greater transparency, in order to curb the leak of federal fund. The government should start changing the way it is running this country, or we will find it harder to catch up with our neighbouring countries.

    Malaysia is filled with natural resources, and yet we keep telling ourselves Singapore is “richer” than Malaysia. Why?

  15. #15 by veddy.lum74 on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 11:20 pm

    oh i see,the datuk who married ‘the most beautiful malay lady’ that one ah?
    really pitty malays,mostly beautiful ladies like to marry filthy rich datuks:datuk K,A ,Z blablabla!
    maybe later still can change picture,2 more to go mah!

  16. #16 by veddy.lum74 on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 11:30 pm

    aiyo cimb(cinaindiamelayubersatu),not enufflah,got so beautiful wife,must give her the most expensive things on earth,everything branded,big mansion,mpv,jewelleries,cosmetics and skin-care products like SK2………….fly also always 1st class,stay also 6-star hotel,pakai baju pun dari Italy silk…
    still kena korek-korek-koreklah,not enuff to spent for darlinglah!

  17. #17 by veddy.lum74 on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 11:40 pm

    who said nuri not good?the ex-director of bukit aman commercial crime took nuri from west malaysia to east malaysia,spending tax payers’ money to survey his huge piece of land there,if something happened also because of accident,god willingmah!(you dont believe,ask semivalue how yahya died!)

  18. #18 by limkamput on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 - 11:58 pm

    Tell you what, if PR can’t take over the Fed. Govt, may be it better to let AAB continue as PM. The alternative is worse.

  19. #19 by Jong on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 12:36 am

    Too late for Mr Snoozer! I have given up hope on the most powerful CEO of the nation yet, he does not know how to use it, and allow those close to him to squeeze him out. The biggest idiot in the world.

    Just watch their sandiwara lah limkamput!

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 1:45 am

    PM confirmed Malaysian Insider report that Eurocopter deal has been deferred so the need to demand Azmi Khalid’s withdrawal as PAC’s chairman on grounds of ‘conflicts of interest’ is now not so immediately pressing as another issue involving Pakatan Rakyat that has just arisen.

    I refer to Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim’s appointment of Low Siew Moi as acting GM of PKNS. Khalid had described Low, 57, a trained accountant, having served PKNS for 35 years as the most appropriate candidate on the basis of her dedication and experience as deputy GM for corporate and financial affairs and asset management.

    I understand that 6 staff bodies (associations, unions and welfare bodies) of PKNS have in a memorandum to Khalid objected to the appointment of a senior official as acting general manager on grounds that she is Chinese! “We do not deny the capabilities of Low Siew Moi (left) in the management of finance,” they said. “However, leading PKNS would need certain leadership criteria, among them, rapport with all staff and associations and ability to communicate with different levels of personnel.” The memorandum further stated that, “as PKNS conducts activities that are spiritual in nature, its leader must understand and practice Islamic values. In other words, the one who will become the general manager will be the ‘imam’ for all the staff.”

    I did not know until now that PKNS conducts “activities that are spiritual in nature”!

    What is disconcerting is that PAS, a component party of Pakatan Rakyat, has expressed unhappiness with the appointment of Low as well. Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Mohamad Ali, who is also a state executive councillor, said that PAS would help the state government find a more suitable candidate.
    Hasan told reporters later that he had discussed the matter with Khalid who had indicated his willingness to shorten Low’s tenure if PAS was able to come up with suitable candidates.
    He said PAS would hold a meeting soon to look at the list of party members who could bring PKNS to greater heights. Source – The Malaysian Insider at this link :

    How long is the DAP and yourself, with a record of fighting for principles, are going to keep quiet? It appears that PAS is no less extremist than UMNO. Whatever happens to Pakatan Rakyat’s talk of meritocracy?

    To me, the bigger ‘conflict of interest’ than Azmi Khalid being chairman of PAC is PAS’s relentless pushing of its racist/theocratic agenda within PR framework and state governments controlled – conflicting with PR’s common platform in the last election!

    I know you have reason to be silent but yours and DAP’s silence only serves to encourage PAS, interpreting your silence as appeasement, to push even more its agenda of theocratic bordering on racial hegemony, and poor Selangor MB could find no support from within PR for his attempt to push for meritocracy above race and religious politics.

    Likewise Karpal Singh’s criticism of PAS having yet another round of talks with Umno to form a coalition government in Selangor under the banner of Malay unity whether or not DAP and PKR like it, has, notwithstanding this is an act of bad f aith on PAS’s part – received little support within PR!

    Tell me, are the people here supporting PR to replace the old order of UMNO led BN going to get a new order under PR as bad if not worser than the old order replaced?

    If that’s the case, I predict that PR has no future!

    Sorry being tangentially out of topic but this is a critical issue of which the DAP has not taken a stand to counter PAS’s bullying within PR’s backyard, although you have consistently criticized the MCA & Gerakan of being subject to UMNO’s bullying.

  21. #21 by Godfather on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 7:04 am

    “Tell you what, if PR can’t take over the Fed. Govt, may be it better to let AAB continue as PM. The alternative is worse.”

    Limkamput: We don’t have any choice in the matter now. Bodohwi is a goner, and the old Mamakthir is now dictating who does what in UMNO. It’s a good omen for us because this will spell the end of UMNO for sure.

  22. #22 by kerajaan.rakyat on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 10:05 am

    Its being the culture of umno for years.
    Putting their men in all gov. Committee,
    for the purpose of closed one door and open another.


  23. #23 by HB Lim on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 10:25 am

    The PKNS non-Malay appointment issue though irritating, frustrating and exasperating is a good development as it would trigger arguments from and soul-searching on both sides of the divide and hopefully by the end of it all, we would become clearer as to where this country is moving towards.

  24. #24 by Bobster on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 12:01 pm

    PAS may have some issues here and there but nothing compares with this corrupted ruling regime that constantly robbing and raping the nation under the broad day light.

    Eurocopter cases are getting so common these days and the regime is treating EPF as own piggy bank and nobody can stop them. If PKR or PAS can put a stop to this nonsense, we the rakyat should compromise on certain issue to keep the unity within the country and to secure the future of the next generation. Be careful on certain insider or traitor that are trying hard to break the coalition. Send them to join the corrupted regime in the gallow!!

    Mr Clean after one term becoming Mr Dirt. How can he missed out RM600+ million from initial amount. Press conference on the national tv last night clearly shown that these irresponsible leaders have no clue on proper tender procedure. ‘Mr Clean’ said everything is transparent, all in order, blah blah blah. Wake up, how can everything in order if one tenderer wrote an official complaint letter to your Ministry of Defence and you didnt even reply??!!

    Mr Clean and Mr Jis got NO HOPE to the nation afterall.

  25. #25 by Cinapek on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 4:27 pm

    Fair enough to cast doubt on the integrity and sincerity of the PAC if it is headed by an UMNO member and an ex minister with close links to the Executive.

    But what about the Deputy Chairman of the PAC, Dr Tan Seng Giaw? He is from the DAP and is he so powerless that there is NOTHING he can do to ensure an open and unbiase investigation by the PAC? If this is the case, then Dr Tan should immediately resign from the PAC for to remain in the PAC and is powerless to act, he is at risk of damaging his own reputation and that of the Opposition party as being a party to any suspicious verdicts rendered by the PAC.

    The PAC has been known to be toothless and its investigations useless as in the case of the ECM Libra case and several other issues it undertook to investigate. I hope it finds the courage to redeem themselves this time.

  26. #26 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 - 10:06 pm

    limkamput Says:

    Yesterday at 23: 58.01
    Tell you what, if PR can’t take over the Fed. Govt, may be it better to let AAB continue as PM. The alternative is worse.”

    What can be worse than this kind of attitude! If you cannot cross the bridge, perhaps it is better to jump over the cliff.

  27. #27 by bennylohstocks on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 2:07 am

  28. #28 by shortie kiasu on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 12:38 pm

    We should let the PAC and its chairman carry out and continue its works as fast as possible without further hindrance.

    It is premature to query about the suitability of Azmi as a chairman. He is experienced enough to do the job and qualified enough as a lawyer with his legal training. Mind you we still other members in the PAC to contribute, advise, analyze, direct… on the facts before them.

    In this instance we should look at the bigger picture vis-a-vis the terms of reference of the PAC and allow the PAC to conduct its business expeditiously instead of placing all sorts of impediments along its way.

  29. #29 by mybaru1 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 10:34 am

    Thursday, October 30, 2008
    Is outcome of Munawar’s appeal indicative of what we can expect from Zaki Azmi…new Boss of the Malaysian Judiciary
    Chief Justice Zaki Azmi beginning to throw his true colours…

    Will he be able to be INDEPENDENT of UMNO and his past friends, and be able to be concerned only with justice…

    Will he be a progressive judge only concerned with JUSTICE – not fearful of developing the law so that justice be done…or will he just remain a tool of UMNO and his ‘old friends’.

    Also noted that Zaki Azmi was a businessman with involvement in a string of companies – and if so, he must recuse himself from any case involving those companies and/or related companies or even companies whereby his once fellow member of the Board of Directors or management is involved.

    Website –

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