Why top Defence Ministry officials, including Defence Ministers, did not know for 18 months that the two missing F5E jet engines cost RM300,000 and not RM50 million each?


There are many questions about the scandal of the two missing F5E jet engines, which had made Malaysia the international laughing-stock.

The first question I want to ask when Parliament meets on March 15 is why top Defence Ministry officials, including the Defence Ministers – Datuk Ahmad Zahid the incumbent and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was Defence Minister when the theft took place in December 2007 – did not know for 18 months that the two missing jet engines cost RM300,000 and not RM50 million each.

Who was the first to say that the missing jet engine cost RM50 million each? It was Ahmad Zahid when the news about the theft first broke in the media on December 19 last year.

Who was the first to say that the RM50 million figure for the cost of the jet engine was wrong and that it cost only RM303,570? Again, it was Ahmad Zahid, in the press on January 8, 2010 – a day after two persons were charged in the Petaling Jaya sessions court with the theft of the two F5E jet engines.

Ahmad had explained that the Ministry took some time to clarify the engine’s price due to procedural matters.

He said: “We needed time to carry out internal investigations and this required time in obtaining the information and related documents”.

This is a completely unacceptable and unsatisfactory explanation. According to official accounts, the theft of the two jet engines took place in December 2007 and the military only realized that the engines were missing on May 22, 2008.

Why did the Defence Ministry take 18 months from May 22, 2008 to January 2010 to find out that the cost of the F5E jet engines were RM303,570 and not RM50 million each in 1972?

Something stinks in the Defence Ministry – as this is not the only aspect of the scandal which has raised questions about accountability and integrity which cry out for answers.

[Speech (2) at the Perak Pakatan Rakyat Chinese New Year Open House at Kwang Tung Association Taiping on Tuesday 16th February 2010 at 12.30 pm]

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 6:48 pm

    Maybe those people who Kit mentioned also had a hand in the illegal sale of the two engines!!

  2. #2 by DCLXVI on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 6:55 pm

    Were they sleeping on the job?
    Were they more concerned about their ‘side earnings’ from the purchase of new military hardware, and less concerned about the loss of what they consider to be decades old obsolete military hardware?
    Were they more worried about concealing other SNAFUs within the ministry and the military that are worse than that of the missing F5E jet fighter engines?
    Were they attempting to keep looking the other way, but the heat from this SNAFU became too great to bear?

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 7:04 pm

    This is how it works for jet engines. When you buy it, it cost say $1million. But there is a maintenance contract, depending on the terms and tenure, that can cost a few times more than that. Add along the spare and replacement parts over the years, special service like sending the engine overseas for repair etc., it can cost many times more than the jet engine purchased price.

    The cost of RM50million probably implies all cost including maintenance cost over the years. The curious thing is that if the engine cost RM303.570, the total cost of RM50million even over 35 years is a bit high. I think there is more dead fish lying around than it seems even now..

  4. #4 by gofortruth on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 7:57 pm

    You think entry record of the mongolians can be deleted without order from higher authority ah? The same logic also applies to the jet engines.
    The question is how high the order has come from?

  5. #5 by ablastine on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 8:00 pm

    If we remember that the commission for submarines which cannot submerge is about US$500 million then we will under the discrepancies in the figures. I think one of the reasons why the Defence Ministry thought it was RM50 million for so long was because that was the amount they paid after commission. Before commission to middlemen, it was RM300 000.

  6. #6 by gofortruth on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 8:02 pm

    Real cost of jet engines = RM303570 a piece.
    BUT Malaysia gomen paid RM 50 mil a piece.
    The same “way” people down the line bought office computers, scew drivers & filing cabinets la…

  7. #7 by Dap man on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 8:26 pm

    I think the figure was inflated deliberately to magnify the seriousness of the theft so that the news will hit the head lines. It was to allow the news to discredit Najib.
    The subsequent correction is not going to help Najib in any way so he came up with a lower figure.
    In any case Ahmad is good for nothing S#B. We are dead if he become DPM.

  8. #8 by vsp on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 10:07 pm

    Both answers given by Ahmad Zahid were correct. Cost of each jet engine was RM300,000 but it was jacked up to RM5 million. This is the real scenario of doing business in Bolehland.

  9. #9 by eagle on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 11:23 pm

    YB Kit, Top Defense Ministry officials are bunch of clowns that was the reason why they were flip flopping- so can we trust them to defend this nation. Mind boggling with full of mediocre surrounding the minister or the minister himself is incompetent!!!
    But the point is why there is no action against those people who were in charge of the missing engines that occurred right under their nose.
    Wonder why?!!! they were even promoted and the guy who was the Air Force Commander at that time of the missing engines is the present Chief of Defense Force. The CDF must be taken to task as it is he who declared the cost of the missing engines. And it is he who tried to manipulate the storyline. Why was no action against the commander who was to be accountable of the Air Force assets, he knew or he did not know what happen? And why was he gets a promotion? Is it a reward for keeping his mouth shut and for being stupid. No wonder a lower rank can outsmart the Air Force security system!!!
    YB Kit, a real stink and in any case they are all good for nothing. We are all dead. Too bad…..the generals and the minister need to be kicked out not to be promoted. Alahai…! Bolehland!!! Real stink higher up and when will they own their responsibility and be accountable. !!!

  10. #10 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 11:28 pm

    In an auction, an item will be sold to the highest bidder.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 12:52 am

    ///Who was the first to say that the missing jet engine cost RM50 million each? It was Ahmad Zahid when the news about the theft first broke in the media on December 19 last year./// – YB Kit.

    Thats correct if one reads TheMalaysianInsider report by Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani on Dec 22 last year where what the Defence Minister was reported to have said was: “It was really two engines. If it is brand new, then it is RM50 million but you have to consider the depreciation of value so the market value is much lower.”

    However on Jan 7th 2010 Mainstream paper The Star reported Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as revising the price to “US$121,428 each and based on the dollar-ringgit exchange rate at that time, the price was RM303,570” each. It was further reported by The Star that “Ahmad Zahid said the RM50mil estimation was NOT made by the Defence Ministry or by any of those involved in the investigations. The RM50mil figure could have originated from OTHER parties who made the valuation based on the current price of a new engine”.

    There is thus a difference in what TheMalaysiaInsider reported in Dec last year and what mainstream papers reported in jan regarding who stated the price of RM50 million each in the first place.

    The Defence Ministry lodged a police report as soon as the jet engines were discovered to be missing on May 22, 2008.

    The intriquing question is why there was no news of this until December 2009. Were public not intended to know about the loss and lodgment of police report beginning June 2008 – and what happened by Dec 2009 (a lapse of nearly one and the half years) which made it necessary to then let public know about the missing engines and the police report made?

  12. #12 by Rocky on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 1:57 am

    the jets can’t be worth USD50million even if they are new cos the planes were not worth that much when they were bought(USD2.2mil). They were worth RM300k then and in 2008, they should be zero value due to depreciation, correct? this value which could have been reported wrong, should have been corrected immediately, all one had to do was look into the asset ledger!!!! and why so long to make it public…well it is all about timing

    they let it run cos they needed to divert the attention from the Rosmah and alleged money transferred via money changers case as well as PKFZ. what happened to Rosmah’s case and where is the big fish in PKFZ????

  13. #13 by Rocky on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 2:29 am

    “Purchase of 14 Northrop F-5E Tiger and 2 Northop F-5B (code named “Peace Strike”) through the US Government Foreign Sales Programm, at a TOTAL COST of USD 35m was announced mid-1972….” unknown source…may need to verify the initial purchase amount

    16 Jets = USD35million …each [email protected] USD 2.2 million.

    http://hayabusa6.tripod.com/Ver101/f5.html

    http://www.asiandefence-diplomacy.com/

    some good reading in the dec 2009/jan 2010 issue of defence magazine on Malaysia.some on F5E below

    “The retirement of the Sabre set the
    scene for the RMAF to upgrade its combat
    capabilities through the acquisition
    of the Northrop F-5E/F from the US.
    The first order for the F-5E was placed
    in 1972, with deliveries in 1975-1976.
    Eventually the RMAF would go on to acquire
    17 F-5E, four F-5F and in 1983
    received two RF-5E reconnaissance
    variants of the aircraft.”

  14. #14 by passerby on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 3:29 am

    Ironically the question you asked why it took almost 2 years for the gov. to find out the missing 2 engines is a RM50 million dollars question itself.

    And as to why the amount of the loss has been reduced to RM 300,000 from 50 million is very simple if you use the Altantuya’s case.

    50 millions then he will implicate his tai kor, Najib.

    When he reduced it to miserable 300,000, all he has to do is to pin it on a stupid sargent and 2 indians!

  15. #15 by trublumsian on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 5:10 am

    $300k x 2 is all they can come up with, so that’s what the value of the engines will be.

    what is the depreciation do we know? if an engine is worth 1/10 of purchase price, we’d have spent $600k then. ahmad zahid let slip $50mil x 2. sweet mother of bolehland! we paid how much as commission and markups?!

  16. #16 by lopez on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 9:40 am

    common fellas, you people has been leaving the buying of groceries to others for too long.

    Don’t know the price of rice you are eating day in and day out.

    Can some knowledgeable people teach the public , what actually is consider as the JET engine.. and with RM 50K which part of the JET are we talking about.

    A cost breakdown with its packing list will enlightened many tax payer.

  17. #17 by frankyapp on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:22 am

    I think the difference in values of the two stolen jet engines is the least important but the hidden truth of this theft is more important ? I think the people wanted to know why the then defence minister and deputy prime minister and now the prime minister and the present defence minister have kept quiet for 18 months. Don’t both PM and DM know that justice delayed is justice denied. I think it’s time all our elected representatives need to learn to represent people and not themselves and special interest groups.

  18. #18 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:25 am

    Understandable loh – different figures floating around
    Typical of doing business here: 1 barang, actual cost = X, then +A, +B, +C etc for upstream n downstream ppl, so final figure = X+++++ = a few million RM
    So when asked d cost of d barang, sometimes memory faded, forgot 1 0 here n there, forgot 1 [dot .] or decimal point here n there
    100,000 or 1,000,000 they don’t care, just 1 0, easy money comes n goes all d time
    Go ask d political secretary n his boss, 2 or 3 million RM, sup sup suoy saja

  19. #19 by lopez on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:36 am

    to catch a thief, you need to be a thief…..let’s let the small fish tells us how,,,,,,,,but can you give him immunity, and even if so the small fish still won’t trust you……don’t be alarmed that even some police people need protection,,,and even lawyers evades you.
    hey the ball game is so big you can hardly imagine.

  20. #20 by Comrade on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:51 am

    Shit! Yet another scandal to surface
    One more obstacle for BN to face
    How to stop more of these corruption
    Just dump UMNO/BN in the next election

  21. #21 by dagen on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 11:36 am

    “Why did the Defence Ministry take 18 months from May 22, 2008 to January 2010 to find out that the cost of the F5E jet engines were RM303,570 and not RM50 million each in 1972?

    Something stinks in the Defence Ministry – as this is not the only aspect of the scandal which has raised questions about accountability and integrity which cry out for answers.” LKS

    They are being blinded by their insuppressible desire to exaggerate numbers for an immediate gain. It has gone on for too long. Look. A 2,000 ringgit laptop became 42,000 in the hands of our umno gobermen. They are too used to big numbers. I suspect that the engines were indeed purchased for 50m when the real price was merely 300 thousand. So the two figures are actually relevant. When commission had to be calculated the engines are worth 50m and when the scale of a scandal has to be minimised, the engines are worth 300,000. That is umno punya style.

    Jib Jib Boleh.

  22. #22 by Bunch of Suckers on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 12:02 pm

    <<>

    Got rid off the former sleeping head! Here comes another pretended sleeping head. Bolehland is full of sleeping heads and suck*rs for sucking up those hard-earned money. When they encounter money and sexx, they have their eyes glittering like gold & their mouths full of dripping saliva like wolves. Wondering how this bunch of suck*ers got elected to represent and lead the nation. No wonder, the nation yearly growth is either stagnant or marginal….

    Unreasonably, they don’t know those engines had been smuggled out of the camp and the nation border!!! They covered up to secure better promotions and positions. Obviously, the suck*er covering up to preserve his potential Number One position from the formerly Number Two. Don’t tell me that the nation has only the bunch of sucking police wandering around for free money and blocking the traffic with unnecessary check-points/police stops! What about our intelligent branch or department? Are they sleeping or covering up for more than a year to raise this alarm?

    Bunch of suck*rs & mama toppers, please step down voluntarily! More competent and capable representatives and leaders are waiting in the queue.

  23. #23 by DCLXVI on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 12:43 pm

    Rocky: “and why so long to make it public…well it is all about timing
    they let it run cos they needed to divert the attention from the Rosmah and alleged money transferred via money changers case as well as PKFZ. what happened to Rosmah’s case and where is the big fish in PKFZ????”

    Maybe so, but as hard as they may try to divert attention, I believe a lot of Malaysians do not forget such scandals that easily.

    What we Malaysians should be concerned about is that if the military took about 6 months to realise that their jet fighter engines had been stolen, and that this theft was only revealed to the public 2 years after it had happened, there may be more of such incidents which has been kept secret by the government, and what if firearms, explosives and other military weaponry had also been stolen?
    The people who run our national defence should not ever get careless and sloppy or even complacent, because failure is not an option for something as critical as this.

  24. #24 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 1:32 pm

    This is simply evidence of how GOOD our ministers and civil servants are! Anyway, it does not matter whether the engines cost millions or just a few ringgit. These are suppose to be public property which should be accounted for by the government of the day. If BN insists that it is the government of the day, then it should take full responsibility for the loss of these engines! Don’t just put up 2 puppets for trial and tell the whole world these two mere “small fries” can send jet engines all the way to Uruguay!

  25. #25 by limkamput on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 3:46 pm

    Malaysia has no budget constraint even though it has run deficit for years. No heads of departments or ministries will ever know the value of anything. The more recent figure of 300 plus k was probably given by another low raking sergeant to make it more palatable.

    What about PK people? Why didn’t they challenge the “RM50 million” figure when it first surfaced. It shows they do not know anything also.

  26. #26 by ablastine on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 5:28 pm

    Flow chart for arms procurement in Malaysia is super simple. Budget for defence given to Ministry of defence. Ministry of defence tell procurement officers, who are of course pure breed UMNOputras, how many aeroplanes and submarine they want to buy and how much money is available. Without specifications procurement officers get the cheapest, the oldest from the second hand market to make up the numbers and therefore requirement. Left over money are commissions. Your guess is as good as mine as to its quantum and who it goes to.

  27. #27 by ekans on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:49 pm

    I recall that some time in the 1980’s, the Malaysian govt bought Vietnam War era A4 Skyhawk fighters, which were earlier retired from the service of the US Navy, at what was thought to be a ‘bargain price’.
    However, those Skyhawks had to be also retired from the RMAF rather quickly after some crashes/mishaps.
    Now we hear that the RMN’s new submarine is unsubmersible.
    It appears that the method/procedures practised by the govt in procuring military hardware/equipment for our armed forces have not really changed much over the years, whereby instead of evaluating factors like quality & performance, the people in charge must have been evaluating how much extra they would get if the deal is closed.
    And it seems they have gone a step further, to see how much more they could get ‘on the side’ if certain what-has-been-deemed-obsolete hardware were to ‘quietly’ disappear…

  28. #28 by ChinNA on Thursday, 18 February 2010 - 8:07 am

    limkamput :
    What about PK people? Why didn’t they challenge the “RM50 million” figure when it first surfaced. It shows they do not know anything also.

    Right!

  29. #29 by Comrade on Thursday, 18 February 2010 - 9:27 am

    Here is a revised version of my comment #20.

    Yet another scandal to surface
    One that the Defence Ministry has to face
    How to reduce corruptible practices?
    Hopefully MACC to offer efficient CAT services
    How to reduce corruption some more?
    Hopefully to see the victory of a stronger PR in store

  30. #30 by chengho on Thursday, 18 February 2010 - 6:52 pm

    everybody missed the mathematics class..

  31. #31 by DCLXVI on Friday, 19 February 2010 - 1:30 am

    chengho: “everybody missed the mathematics class..”

    If top Defence Ministry officials had missed mathematics classes in school, they should not become top Defence Ministry officials in the first place…

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