PAC Chairman Azmi – out to whitewash Eurocopter deal or get to bottom of new defence scandal

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Azmi Khalid has confirmed my worst fears about his suitability as head of the parliamentary watchdog committee as he had undermined his own credibility by claiming that the technical aspects of the billion-ringgit Cougar EC725 Eurocopters were “above board” and “professionally carried out” when the two-hour parliamentary debate on the subject yesterday proved completely otherwise.

The Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop admitted in Parliament yesterday that the Eurocopter deal was sealed without conducting physical evaluation on the helicopters – no test flights were done nor were there any factory visits.

Outraged, I rose up in the House to flay the government for trifling with the lives and safety of RMAF personnel who would have to use the helicopters, by failing to comply with its own tender requirements for the helicopters to replace the Nuris, which clearly stipulated that the short-listed aircraft bidders would have to undergo stringent documentary as well as physical evaluation.

In response to my query, Abu Seman said three of the seven bidders for the international open tender for the utility helicopters capable of search and rescue and capable of being upgraded to combat search and rescue aircraft had been short-listed but he refused to name the three aircrafts concerned.

This is clearly a gross defect amounting to criminal negligence in the technical aspects of the Eurocopter selection, getting Malaysia into the Guinness Book of Records and making us the laughing stock of the world as a country which procures expensive and sophisticated aircrafts without any test flight or physical evaluation – despite this being clearly stipulated as one vital criteria in the tender process!

Abu Seman even conjured up three reasons to explain why there was no need for physical evaluation or test flights, viz:

· First, there were complete documentations for the technical committee to make its assessment.

· Second, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had enough data about helicopters in the market.

· Third, to guarantee the integrity of the six-man technical committee so that it won’t be questioned by anyone.

These three reasons are so ludicrous, none of them would have withstood cursory examination or minimal scrutiny!

Realising that the Deputy Defence Minister had made a fool of the government in Parliament yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was the Defence Minister at the time of the Eurocopter procurement, tried to salvage the situation by claiming outside the House that the Eurocopter was a proven helicopter, which is in service in many countries and had seen combat in Afghanistan. Furthermore, “our pilots have tried the helicopter during the Lima Maritime Series of Exhibition so they know its performance”.

Najib’s explanation is another “shocker” in a series of “shockers” in the most improper Eurocopter procurement process, as everybody is wondering how “joy rides” at the Lima shows can be equated with the stringent physical evaluation of flight tests matching international best practices as required in the tender document.

In any event, where were the physical evaluation and test flights or just “joy rides” for the other two short-listed aircrafts – presumably Sikorsky S92 and AgustaWestlands AW101 – done, and couldn’t the same claim that they are proven helicopters, seen service in many countries, and used in combat in war zones be given for these two other helicopters as well?

What has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt in the grilling of Abu Seman in Parliament yesterday is that the technical aspects of the Eurocopter deal stinks, as they have been done in a most unprofessional and unsatisfactory manner, going against best international practices and principles of accountability and transparency as well as in utter disregard of the lives and safety of the RMAF personnel who will be using the helicopters.

How then can Azmi emerge from Wednesday’s meeting of the PAC on the Eurocopter deal to issue a certificate of fitness for its technical aspects as being “aboveboard” and “professionally carried out” when it is the exact opposite in failing to pass muster in not having any physical evaluation or test flight?

Instead of issuing a clean bill of health for the technical aspects of the Eurocopter deal, the PAC should be conducting a full-scale investigation as to why the vital tender requirement for a physical evaluation had been done away with, which officers had been responsible for such an outrageous decision, and up to what level had this exemption from having to carry out test flights and other physical evaluation for the three short-listed aircrafts been approved or authorized.

Were the Defence Minister and the Cabinet privy to the unprecedented decision to procure the new helicopters without any test flight or physical evaluation?

It would appear that the two-hour debate and grilling of Abu Seman had elicited more information than the two-day PAC examination of the Eurocopter deal – and if this is the case, is PAC Chairman Azmi out to whitewash the Eurocopter deal or to diligently carry out the parliamentary mandate to get to the bottom of the impropriety and irregularity of the Eurocopter procurement including why there had been no proper flight tests and physical evaluation before a selection is made?

  1. #1 by Toyol on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:03 am

    Shady deals obviously cannot be ‘above board’. Its like telling a lie to cover up another lie. We are all in business so purchasing a highly technical merchandise warrants the highest technical evaluation…not just a few minutes of ‘joyride’. Its ultimately our pilots who’s going to pay the price while the politicians get rich. It has always been the case.

    Even a simple road project is evaluated by in house consultants as well as independent consultants…so why not a helicopter. On top of that do we have capable people in the Defence Ministry to do the job?

  2. #2 by All For The Road on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:04 am

    What more to say of the PAC’s role except that it is a ‘rubber stamp’! From the very onset, it has no clout to deliver anything despite it having opposition MPs because the ‘boss’ is from UMNO.

  3. #3 by Godfather on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:06 am

    There are two Opposition members in the PAC. Let them come up with a statement as to what was actually discussed and whether they agree with Azmi’s declaration.

  4. #4 by pizi87 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:07 am

    I was disgusted to hear Abu Seman talking in the morning and again in the afternoon and yet unable to explain the deal.. I guess a school teacher can do a better job than most of the BN MPs which I see dont know what they are talking about!

  5. #5 by Mr Smith on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:13 am

    There is no need to test the helicopters as they have already set a precedent. Since they didn’t test their wives before the wedding, why the need to test helicopters.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:14 am

    In Bolehland, everything is sandiwara. They allow PAC to “investigate” the Eurocopter deal, but they already decided on the outcome. The allow the AG’s Chambers to prosecute Razak Baginda, but they also decided on the outcome.

    They cleared Anwar and Sukma of sodomy charges, but the third person in the sodomy trial was not cleared despite the sodomy charges only involved these three persons. Guess who threw out the Munawar appeal against his sodomy conviction ? None other than the new CJ.

    They have their own person in each position, so they can play their sandiwara. The only way to stop this sandiwara is to consign them to the Opposition bench at the next GE.

  7. #7 by Bobster on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:17 am


    Put a loud speaker and wake up nearly 1 million military officers in this country.

    Let them know how these scumbags treating them.

    Hanky panky behind the scene and after public enquiry they call off the deal and ask our military man to stay put with 30+ old Nuri.

    They life is at stake. The gomen doesnt careless with our countrymen. What they care is only their own piggy bank!

    AAB:- Satu lagi projet kerajaan untuk rakyat Malaysia … BULLS**T

  8. #8 by pangwl88 on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:23 am


    This is another method for KWSP to steal our money!

    Remember during Budget 2008 announcement last yr, our Finance Minister (cum PM) announced that in order to assist KWSP members to reduce the burden in housing load repayment, KWSP will allow monthly withdrawal from members’ A/C II for the purpose?
    Sounds like a nice goodies!
    When you apply for the monthly withdrawal, you only need to provide KWSP yr housing loan & instalment details
    from yr bank and the bank a/c # you like KWSP to bank the monthly
    withdrawal into it. KWSP will approve yr
    application based on the available amt in yr A/C II and compute the withdrawal period by dividing the approved amt with the monthly instalment amt. Application process takes about a month and you will receive the monthly payout promptly into yr bank a/c!
    Well everything appear to be nice and good. It was indeed a noble plan until you take to close look at yr KWSP Statement!

    The withdrawal plan is actually a SCAM!

    This is how the KWSP SCAM works…….

    Assuming you have RM100,000 in yr A/C II and yr housing loan’s monthly instalment is RM2000/mth.
    KWSP will approve yr application of withdrawal from yr A/C II of RM100,000 and pay you RM2000/mth for the next 50mths.
    Everything appears to be in order BUT…….

    What KWSP didn’t highlight to you is that when the application was approved, the TOTAL AMT (RM100,000) is removed from yr A/C II! It appears to be transfered to an unknown a/c to effect the monthly payment from therein.

    The impact to the member are as follows :-
    1. You just lost RM100,000 from yr A/C II. Assuming the KWSP Dividend is 5%, you will lose >RM4,000 in dividend during the 1st year. Based on the above example you will will lose >RM10,000 over the 50 mths period!
    2. There is no statement to account for the amt approved vs amt paid, hence you would need to keep the monthly payment voucher to reconcile against the approved amt over the 50mths period to ensure there is no missing amt!

    Assuming there are 100,000 members who innocently fell prey to this SCAM, based on the above example, KWSP would have cheated the members of 100,000 X RM10,000 = RM1,000,000,000 (that’s RM1 BILLION) over the period!

    Furthermore, if you discovered this SCAM early and intend to stop the plan, KWSP would not allow any cancellation of the plan until at least 1 year. That would mean, once the application is approved, based on the above example, you would have lost >RM4,000.
    100,000 members would have lost 100,000 X RM4,000 = RM400,000,000 (RM400 MILLION) in One Year!!!

    If you’re a victim of this KWSP SCAM, would suggest you call yr MP to raise hell in Parliament!
    For others who have not fallen into this SCAM, pls continue to watch out and alert yr family & friends about this.


  9. #9 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 11:27 am

    With this big manipulator acquiring power as the top of the country, I afraid our judicial system is going to become worse and worse. We can see the results of trial on the killing of Mongolian lady today. Why is the single person freed?

  10. #10 by helpless on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:11 pm

    We follow strictly professional approach in finalising the tender like the process of procured the submarines.

  11. #11 by Kasim Amat on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:45 pm

    The helicopter deal has been sealed by the Ministry of Defence and it is a done deal. No one should ever question the procedures carried out by the government in the deal because it is above the board and there is nothing to hide. The opposition parties have already created unnecessary uproars in public regarding the deal and their statements have seriously undermined the integrity of the government. Moving forward, in order to protect the reputation of the government, I would suggest that all those who continue to question the deal be detained under ISA without further delay. Our country does not need further turmoils in the midst of this financial crisis.

  12. #12 by hadi on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 12:54 pm

    State of denial sets to continue with the government as order of the day.
    The people are now getting irresponsible, denial and manipulation answers from PM and DPM.
    Unbelievable, outrages decisions and surely someone is culpable or otherwise both ministers are blameworthy trying to hide a misdeed and isn’t it abuse of power? With what is going on, it is doubtful whether the nation security is well taken care. Are there a lot more skeletons in the closets?
    It is not so much as the risk to the pilot, as military pilot that is part of operational risks that come with the job. But the bigger issue is national interest and is that the way we manage our national security, an indication of incompetency, “bodoh sombong”and above all is blatant disregards of transparency and accountability. Have a look as to how our southern neighbour conducts defense procurement.
    Anyway, just like the fish that will rot from the head.

  13. #13 by bennylohstocks on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:11 pm

  14. #14 by highhand on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 1:30 pm

    i mau beli kap chai pun test dulu wooo……..


  15. #15 by Cinapek on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 4:21 pm

    YB Kit, I have asked in this blog once before and I am asking again. What was YB Dr Tan Seng Giaw from DAP , Deputy Chairman of the PAC doing during the PAC investigations of this Eurocopter deal? I am confused. If he disagrees with Azmi’s statement, he should say so. If he remains silent, then he is in agreement with all that Azmi has said. And if he agrees with Azmi’s statement, you should check with him on what grounds he agrees with Azmi.

  16. #16 by smeagroo on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 5:50 pm

    azmi is just working at his age to support the lovely wife la. … PAC? More like he telling us, What the PAC!

  17. #17 by rubini on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 7:35 pm

    I suggest that all BN fellas out there to take a course from CIA on how develop a chain of events to cover up shaddy deals. How not to be stupid & look intelligent.
    1. Prepare a standard script for PM, DPM, Minsiter, D.Minister,SEc Gen & P.Secretary to reply to same answer, that will at least make all of u look credible.
    2. Next if doesn’t work, just play dumb or stupid, that works all the time.
    3. Just incase it doesn’t work, use the ISA, that will definitely work.

  18. #18 by yhsiew on Friday, 31 October 2008 - 7:46 pm

    I am not at all surprised by Datuk Azmi Khalid’s statement that the technical aspects of the billion-ringgit Cougar EC725 Eurocopters were “above board” and “professionally carried out”, as Lim Guan Eng has already forewarned that the PAC is not an independent body.

    Presumably Datuk Azmi Khalid has been pressured by high-profile figures to lie.

  19. #19 by Jimm on Saturday, 1 November 2008 - 12:13 am

    umno malays have taken rakyat for a big ride …. for 51 years and still going strong.

  20. #20 by UzMiNoOnist on Saturday, 1 November 2008 - 8:13 pm

    There is a saying that goes like this:

    The Snake and The Rat nest in the same hole.

    So, both are just as corrupted. One out of greed and the other abuse of power.

    If I am Judge Dredd, [deleted].

    Syabas, another tactics on how UMNO siphoned the rakyat money.

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