Eurocopter deal – shameful episode in Parliament

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof was literally grilled in Parliament for over two hours over the billion-ringgit 12 Cougar EC725 Europter helicopters deal as he was totally at sea and unable to answer the most elementary of questions, such as

(i) Why three sets of different figures for the 12 Cougar helicopter deal – RM1.1 billion given by Defence Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Abu Bakar Abdullah; RM1.67 billion given by the Prime Minister-cum-Defence Minister; and RM1.604 billion stated by Abu Seman Yusof in Parliament today;

(ii) Why no physical evaluation or test flights for the short-listed helicopters; or as I said in Parlaiment, getting Malaysia into the Guinness Book of Records as probably the only government in the world to order sophisticated and expensive aircrafts without any test flight although such physical evaluation for the short-listed tenderers was one of the conditions specified in the tender docunment.

Abu Seman was dumbstruck when asked both questions and was unable to give any sensible reply. It was a most shameful episode in Parliament.

It has to be left to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to try to immediately repair the damage created by the deputy Defence Minister by answering these two questions outside Parliament, as in the following report:

The Malaysian Insider
Thursday October 30 2008
PM admits price mistake, Najib says RMAF pilots tested Eurocopters at Lima

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi admitted he had made an error when he spoke of the package price of the much-disputed Eurocopter helicopter deal and which had caused an uproar among Opposition lawmakers in Parliament.

Abdullah who is also the Defence Minister said he was informed by officials in the Defence Ministry this morning on his slip.

The correct figure is RM1.604 billion, but he had thought it was RM1.67 billion and had rounded it up to RM1.7 billion.

“I apologise for my mistake,” he said.

Asked to respond to the opposition’s calls for him to explain the price discrepancy inside the Dewan Rakyat, Abdullah said it was unnecessary as he had already announced that the deal would be deferred to a later date.

He pointed out that the price would be renegotiated again as and when the government finally decides to purchase the helicopters.

“This is academic,” he said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also denied claims that no physical evaluation was conducted on Eurocopter aircraft.

Najib who until last month held the Minister of Defence portfolio emphasised that the Eurocopter EC725 Cougar was not a new or ‘experimental’ aircraft. He noted that many countries had tested it out, including in combat in Afghanistan.

He said that Royal Malaysian Air Force pilots had tested it in local flight at the Langkawi International Marine Aerospace (Lima) show previously.

Asked to comment on calls by the Opposition for an independent expert panel to evaluate the procurement process, Najib said: “They are making too much a big deal out of it.”

  1. #1 by riversandlakes on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:33 pm

    Go, PR, go!

  2. #2 by Anti_NEP on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:44 pm

    Zzzzzzzz…….. ops i make a mistake. sorry Zzzzzzzz………

  3. #3 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:45 pm

    Isn’t Lima in Peru?

    See, this is another example of how to waste money. We had to test the helicuptors in Peru.

    What can’t we just do it in JB or Penang or Ipoh or KL?

  4. #4 by Godfather on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:46 pm

    Rm 1.1 billion, then RM 1.7 billion, then 1.604 billion. What’s a few hundred millions between friends ?

  5. #5 by Godfather on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:48 pm


    Which province in China are you from ? Is Langkawi part of Bolehland ?

  6. #6 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:48 pm

    This is even more embarrasing – we not only went to Lima in Peru but we have to hold the Langkawi International Marine Aerospace show to Lima.

    What’s wrong with holding it in Langkawi or even Penang ?

    Another example of wasting money.

  7. #7 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:50 pm

    Godfather: I am not from China. I am from Ipoh, Perak. Have I misunderstand something?

  8. #8 by Damocles on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:52 pm

    Asked to comment on calls by the Opposition for an independent expert panel to evaluate the procurement process, Najib said: “They are making too much a big deal out of it.”

    It’s no big deal!
    It’s just the electorate’s hard-earned money!
    That’s why all sorts of deals can be signed without any close examination and if it’s done, it’s done!
    So what!

  9. #9 by nyghtsky on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:53 pm

    Najis expects us to believe that RMAF pilots are qualified to make a technical evaluation of the Eurocopters during LIMA ( only 5 days ) to justify his reason for spending so much, he must be retarded!

  10. #10 by wanderer on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:55 pm

    1.06 billion is sure a big deal! Mr Najib.
    This is the taxpayers’ money, make certain you are doubly sure the copters are worth every cent before the purchase. So far, this govt have failed the test…

  11. #11 by Godfather on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 8:57 pm

    Lima is the capital of Peru, but LIMA stands for Langkawi……

  12. #12 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 9:01 pm

    Godfather: Thank You. You see, I am wrong and thanks for the correction.

  13. #13 by James on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 9:07 pm

    People, let us not discount the sum of a few millions of RM. If not for the Barang Naik PM who up the petrol price substantially we will never have this inflation rate. Petro price may go down on Sat but do you seriously think the prices of foods, goods etc will follow suit? Not on your life. BN’s style whatever goes up do not come down. Quite similar to corruption rampancy, isn’t it?

  14. #14 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 9:32 pm

    It’s quite strange that the Dep Minister did not know how the deal was finalised without inspection/test flights etc.
    Maybe can ask them to show the pilots’ test comparisons.
    Something quite fishy – anyone else smell the stinko?

  15. #15 by chrishan on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 9:37 pm





  16. #16 by Swordsman on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 9:52 pm

    This episode shows how inept and incompetent the BN Govt is. It just does not know the “product” it is buying, did not test or “taste” it before buying, and very unsure of the price. How could political leaders who make decisions affecting the welfare and interest of our nation, adopt such a “hands off” attitude in making major decisions? Are they only interested in their share of the commission?
    We have yet to read a rational comment from them justifying the purchase except that the Nuri heli falls from the sky too often.
    The fact that the Deputy Minister can’t even answer simple and basic questions, goes to show how little thought had been devoted to this RM1 billion decision.

  17. #17 by monsterball on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:02 pm

    No matter how many times we can expose UMNO corrupted deals….it will always be explained with ridiculous reasons…feeling no shame.
    In fact….Dollah will smile…looking at Najib.
    This means…the corruptions…right to the core…for more than 20 years… said by Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen… means nothing to these thick skinned corrupted UMNO leaders.
    They feel no shame at all.
    Money can buy people and votes.
    That’s the only way..they hope to next election…and that’s what they will do….buy people….buy votes.

  18. #18 by CSKUEH on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:06 pm

    This is just a joke.
    I think I can solve the riddle to the 3 sets of different figures to the helicopter deal.
    DM Secretary-General applied General Maths
    Deputy Defence Minister used Modern Maths
    whereas Pak Lah made use of Additional Maths.
    See, Pak Lah’s figure is much more additional.

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:16 pm

    “The correct figure is RM1.604 billion, but he had thought it was RM1.67 billion and had rounded it up to RM1.7 billion. I apologise for my mistake,” Abdullah Badawi said.

    What do you expect? He failed his statistics paper, didn’t he?

    A difference of some RM 0.1 billion is no big deal. Someone forgot to factor in the sweeteners.

  20. #20 by luking on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:18 pm

    at first i thought nab. did a number on ab. bfore passing the defence to him.but looks now ab is also in the same bungkus too,a real devil in disguise.don’t all the mps from bn too feel disgusted and ashamed with their bosses.

  21. #21 by All For The Road on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:19 pm

    LIMA actually stands for ‘Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace’ exhibition which had its inaugural show in 1991 in Langkawi. LIMA showcases the latest technology and state-of-the-art products and services from both the maritime and aerospace industries. The 5-day event then was held annually. But of late, it is a bi-annual affair. The next LIMA event will be held in 2009 in Langkawi.

  22. #22 by human1 on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:28 pm

    Please don’t take the humor too seriously:

    1) At the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), after trying out the EC725 as the tag-along passenger because I doubt Eurocopter would simply let any military personnel to pilot their machines even if they have the knowledge to operate them at the expo, Captain XYZ of RMAF told his colleagues: “Phew! What an incredible flying machine. Man, you should try it yourself!”

    Defence Ministry while on the look for replacement of Nuri, the news travel to Najib’s ears and on the somewhat shaky ground of hearsay, Najib makes up his mind: “Darn! I am going to buy those choppers. My men should have fired a few rounds to test its combat capability when tagged along.”

    And we all thought the tender requires physical evaluation and formal test flights, why bother to set the rules when hearsay and brochure evaluation seems to be sufficient?

    2) The oppositions cry foul, ask about the actual deal price, ask for greater transparency, demand to scrutinice procurement tender process, ask who the middlemen are, question the lack of physical test flights and evaluations.

    Najib brushed them off: “They are making too much a big deal out of it”.

    Four different figures, 1.1, 2.3, 1.67 and 1.604. Guess how much is RM0.01 billion, yes the small amount is RM10 million. It is easy to round up the figures.

    As learnt from school, we are able to reduce the number of digits to the right of the decimal point of a mixed number by dropping the final digit and adding 1 to the next preceding digit if the dropped digit is 5 or greater, or leave the preceding digit unchanged if the dropped digit is 4 or less; whichever favourable to your wallet.

    Nonsense, please trust the government, questions are redundant. The government knows exactly how much the choppers cost. I can assure you that taxpayers money is in good hands.

  23. #23 by Godfather on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:29 pm

    UMNO knows no shame, hence they can appoint a deputy minister who doesn’t know anything about the dealings of his own ministry.

    This is the problem with the lack of meritocracy – where positions are “reserved” for a particular race. In a true democracy, this deputy minister would have had to resign in disgrace.

  24. #24 by just a moment on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:29 pm

    Ppl, this is the latest. ABB admits there was mistake but ‘never mind’ lah. We have postponed the deal oredi. so, case closed! The rest are only academic. Thats why their pics are always smiling together with Najis. Bolewood in screening everyday Live!
    Btw, can someone help pls, ‘Malaysiatoday’ can’t access.
    Any ideas folks?

  25. #25 by bennylohstocks on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:29 pm

  26. #26 by kftang on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 10:48 pm

    What a fiasco with figures and numbers! If the parties and authorities concerned cannot figure out the correct deal in the 12 Cougar helicopter purchase, then we cannot imagine and shudder to think of how the-powers-that-be manage the country’s economy which is on much more enormous scale!

  27. #27 by The Enforcer on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 11:19 pm

    Right hand doesn’t know what left hand is doing, so, push ‘little head’ to be scrutinised by our champion MPs of PR! Bravo!

  28. #28 by negarawan on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 11:28 pm

    There’s nothing surprising about this. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It has happened before and will continue to happen as long as UMNO is in power. We know will be the outcome of any investigation or royal enquiry, we all know what will be the outcome of any legal proceedings involving UMNO figures. UMNO and BN is rotten to the core and tainted the image and honor of the country with rampant corruption and human rights abuses. By God’s grace, UMNO and BN will be toppled soon.

  29. #29 by hvpl on Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 11:34 pm

    1.1 billion is the first price. Then, 1.604 billion, includes the sharing of the deal among the first people involved (some of them has to test drive the aircraft what! So scary, you know!). Then, it became 1.67 billion for the big man’s share. No, no, no. Cannot be, now got NEW boss, so round up to 1.7 billion for him.

    Now, everyone happy!!

    Except, now the Opposition ask so many questions. Cannot answer “How?”. Scrap the deal first loh! Bring it back again when no-one’s looking. Maybe add some interest for the delay, too. EUR went up, USD went up, so price also went up!

    Malaysia boleh!

  30. #30 by pangwl88 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:04 am






  31. #31 by izrafeil on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:16 am

    its elementary my dear, in Islam you cannot ‘test drive’ before you actually consumate a marriage! its that simple…. another hadhari versionlah….this eurocopter deal…

  32. #32 by pangwl88 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:16 am

    Sorry first… just venting away the day’s frustration being a Second Class Citizen/Immigrant….

    i am not guru in economics….

    but how come the WHOLE world is in recession but NOT Malaysia har???? Is it because Malaysia Really Boleh?

    Sometimes, i really don’t know what to say ……..

    And what is EPF for anyway? Another government’s “private” Bank?

    My Prediction for the following cases:

    C4 case – Suspects found guilty, sentence to hang, but friends says they saw them in England withRMX million each. (Just like Zakaria…now in Indonesia)

    PKFS – Already bought a house in Perth liao lor…… “academic”

    Sodomy cases – More to come…i sodo u, u sodo me….

    ISA – ……… “shhh….”

    Umno/Barisan National – i give them TILL 2012…max….

    ok lah… go to sleep… long day….being an Tax Paying Immigrant….

  33. #33 by Jan on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:24 am

    Test Flight?? Where got time. Have to sign the contract quickly otherwise we will miss the boat I mean the gravy train.

  34. #34 by just a moment on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:30 am

    Thanks bennylohstocks
    Why off benny?
    But I still don’t believed it.
    Malaysiatoday Off? Block?
    Mirror site?

  35. #35 by GILAPOLITIK on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:26 am

    Oops ! Pak Lah who is the Defence Minister said : “The correct figure is RM1.604 billion, but he had thought it was RM1.67 billion and had rounded it up to RM1.7 billion.”

    Do Malaysians accept such a big lie of rounding up such big expensive figures ? It is a HELL lot of difference between RM1.7 bil and RM1.604 bil here. So what happen to RM differ billion missing in action ? ACA should investigate this claim seriously when 3 top civil servants confirmed differ figures in this deal.

    “I apologise for my mistake,” said Pak Lah.

    A costly mistake made by PM, sleeping in his jobs where we, taxpayers have to pay monthly tax to finance such billion scandal deals in the history of Malaysia. Furthermore, his deputy claimed that the Europter was tested in LIMA Langkawi was indeed shameful where such a scandal billion project was sealed without proper technical testing and study by the aeronautic experts.

    BN many present and past “Mistakes” are too costly for the nation. Let change // JOM TUKAR

  36. #36 by daryl on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:33 am

    This is just too convenient that oh they test it during LIMA. The flight record and test plan might not be for the eyes of the public but it can be opent to MPs due to National Security. So, is it too hard to show all these records to MP. THey are voted in by the public and yes Mr. PM and DPM you are using public money not yours. You need to explain every pennies you spend if not you will be gone next season.

  37. #37 by hadi on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 4:08 am

    YB Kit, since Najib said that the RMAF pilots have flight tested the helicopter during LIMA, ask him where is the pilot reports or otherwise it was just a joy ride. Surely he has the name of the pilot that did the testing. What about the other helicopters that being offered by other companies, they should have flight tested the helicopters in order to make comparison on the actual performance as compared to what you read in the brochure.
    Mr DPM, so what is the story of the helicopters are combat tested in Afghanistan and Iraq? Who are those people telling you all this shits story, What did couger do during that combat operations? Do you know that the terrain, the jungle, the weather and the temperature are different and these all have implications on the performance and the characteristic of the helicopters. Tell us what are the significants performance did this couger impressed you so much that deserve to be selected?
    The gomen is talking rubbish!!! how could you make a decision basing on shoddy, scrappy and unsubstantiated reports and it was done so quickly.Dubious???!!!
    So, it is either the ministers are dumbshit and were taken for a ride by the ministry staffs or they are all the same with a common hidden agenda.

  38. #38 by homeblogger on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 6:22 am

    Anti_NEP Says:

    Yesterday at 20: 44.44
    Zzzzzzzz…….. ops i make a mistake. sorry Zzzzzzzz………



    zzzzz…. what? cheh… why can’t these stupid Malaysians let us makan their duit without making a fuss. We are UMNO mah… we deserve all the money we can get from them… Now I have to say I made a mistake…


  39. #39 by oct on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 7:39 am

    A test flight is necessary for such an expensive machine. For us to buy a car, we still need to go for a test drive to find out all the knobs and switches work based on the specs. So, in LIMA, how does the supplier of Eurocopter comes out with the right spec of helicopter for RMAF to do a test flight unless they know before hand that they are going to win and prepare the exact helicopter based on the RFP. No one with sane mind will buy something that cost over RM1 billion without really checking all the gadgets that will be working nicely before buying. To have a final conclusion with 5 days is absurb.

    Perhaps our RMAF just walk around the helicopter and kicked its tires and then gave a SEMUA-OK sign and then the deal is signed. Well, this might be true as anything is possible in Bolehland.

  40. #40 by veddy.lum74 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:06 am

    ChiNa,i thought you wanted to say Liamah!

    Actually,we do not have a malay pliot qualified to test euro heli cougar EC725,right?ask toyo,khairy,muhidin,mahatiu,they will tell you frankly:chinese n indians are not allowed to head PKNS,likewise,they are not allowed to pilot MINDEF’s heli,only malay can do it!we rather leave the heli untouch than letting the chinese n indians to test drive!similarly,chinese n indians are not allowed to be a Finance Minister,only malays!yes,this is our rights!

    Liamah c f hai!

  41. #41 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:11 am

    Some people, just can’t take a joke, or the irony just flew over their heads.

    Silly me, and I always thought lima means five…

  42. #42 by chengho on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:12 am

    fire the deputy minister a simple st forward answer also he cannot give
    may be deputy minister ..zzz…sleeping ..dumbstruck is a nice word for him ,this is again an example of competency and not doing a home work . abu seman must quit.

  43. #43 by taiking on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:12 am

    Quoting from the blog entry above:

    “He pointed out that the price would be renegotiated again as and when the government finally decides to purchase the helicopters.

    “This is academic,” he [badawi] said.”

    So the sum appears to be insufficient and has to be renegotiated upwards.

  44. #44 by madmix on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:35 am

    deputy ministers are there to warm seats and enjoy the spoils of elections. He does not need to know what is going on in his ministry and often not told what is happening because he is not important and has no power to sign papers.

  45. #45 by voice on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 9:41 am

    Aiyah, Jimat dan SENang kira mah, RM1.67 round up to RM 1.70, sorry, RM1.66 and RM 1.67 should round up to RM1.65, but nevermind lah, few cents only what! and not from my bank account!

  46. #46 by helpless on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 10:40 am

    Just a Billion Ringgit matter. What’s the big deal ?
    Don’t you know the process of buying a car?

    Oh! may be the people are getting smarter for asking those simple question. Or only new PR make it a political agenda?

    Just curious, why it is no an issues for the past 51 years? It there any different ?

    But don’t worry. At the end, the most is the deal call off and money can be made from many other mega project like before.

  47. #47 by Cinapek on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 10:54 am

    What a bunch of incompetent idiots. We are not talking of a few ringgits or sens here but biliions of ringgits of taxpayers money and they treat this matter so frivolously. It reflects two things. One, the disdain they have for the ordinary man in the street and their opinions and two, the abilities and culture of responsibilities (or the lack of it) of these people who are too lazy to take the trouble to treat such matters seriously even when handling billions of taxpayers money. This is reflected in the admission that the only physical test made was a joy ride at LIMA. A deal costing more than a billion is made based on a short test flight in an air show!!!??? How much more stupid can you get.

    In evaluations such as these I would imagine that the Ministry of Defence should have drawn up a detailed list of tests it needs to carry out. Then , a physical evaluation and test flights would be done to check that these specs are met. Proven combat in Afghanistan is not enough. It is like saying a HUMVEE is proven in Iraq but try using that same vehicle in Malaysia’s jungle terrain?

    Don’t let this deal disappear from the radar screen. They are already saying this is “academic”. By this they mean they will not discuss this further now but when the hue and cry has died down, they will sneak off and close the deal.

  48. #48 by Toyol on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:07 am

    Its just great to have such a powerful opposition in parliament. Now the UMNO crooks are falling all over themselves to cover up the misdeed. If LKS did not voice this matter out, the would have gone ahead and spent millions of dollars and add further misery to our economy. Thanks LKS.

  49. #49 by Johorean on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:21 am


  50. #50 by helpless on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:23 am

    Why worry?

    If the pilot don’t know know how to fly the heli, spend more money to train them. It is just $ matter.

    If the part is not available, we can buy the part supplies company. It import high-tech knowledge to Malaysia.

    If our pilot still cannot fly after training, just recruit and pay the foreign pilots.

    If all the above does not work out, we can keep it for display and tell the whole world that Malaysia is equip with equavalent helicopter like France and Afganistan.

    Just keep your month shut. What a helpless people we are.

  51. #51 by Johorean on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:26 am

    Malaysia is first in everything that makes no sense. Buying expensive military \toys\ without physical testing is definitely one of a kind. Anyway, probably they got a huge discount for not testing the choppers. Malaysia gomen…won’t learn, refuse to learn and not capable to learn…hopeless lot.

  52. #52 by Kasim Amat on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:37 pm

    We must learn to respect the decision of the government and not challenge it. Whether there are physical tests or not, this is not the concern of ordinary public because it is the business of the military and they have their own procedures to follow. We should feel proud that Malaysia can afford to buy the world’s most advanced technology in the midst of financial crisis. This signifies that Malaysia’s economy is in very strong state.

  53. #53 by taiking on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:42 pm

    My son wanted a china made toy gun. It has a tag that says RM49-90 and it is battery operated. I asked the shopkeeper to fit in batteries so that I can test the piece of plastic and make sure that it works. The shopkeeper willingly obliged.

    But I suppose if it was a 4.9billion dollar gun then I need not test it. I can safely assume that it would (1) work and (2) work to my expectations.

    So we are being stupid for insisting that the minister carried out testings on the helicopters.

  54. #54 by safeworld on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 2:30 pm

    Hi everyone, please answer the following question;
    1. Are we second class citizen?
    2. Are we immigrant?

    Weather yes or no, please decide what you want do to for this country, stay on or leave it.

  55. #55 by CSKUEH on Saturday, 1 November 2008 - 7:46 am

    Please refer to the joke I posted on October 30th 2008 @ 22:06.37.
    This is my own true experiences I have encountered before.
    There were a few times when I was either short-changed or given more change by the cashier at supermarket. After I pointed it out and the matter settled, the cashier would either apologise or thank me and I jokingly told her,”You guna Modern Maths gah”. She just smiled back.
    This is how I came out with the joke I posted two days ago.

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