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All rules were observed in acquiring helicopters, says ministry

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Oct 2008: The Ministry of Defence today reiterated that the acquisition of the Eurocopter EC725 helicopter was in accordance with the set regulations and without the influence of any party.

The secretary-general of the ministry, Datuk Abu Bakar Abdullah, in a statement today said that the price offered by Eurocopter to replace the Nuri aircraft was through an international open tender which opened on 7 Nov 2007.

He said the decision to acquire the Eurocopter aircraft was based on the comprehensive bid made by the company, and after it scored the highest marks covering the technical assessment of the needs of the military. It also took into consideration the offer of a reasonable offset price.

“Eurocopter also offered a proven system and fulfilled the military specifications. The Royal Airforce of Malaysia (TUDM) is responsible for being up-to-date with the latest information on current helicopter technology developments in the market which fulfil the needs of military operations.

“The assessment also took into account the suitability of use and the operations climate in Malaysia as well as in the conflicted areas in the world. TUDM indeed has full and comprehensive knowledge of the latest helicopters available in the market,” he said.

Abu Bakar said that after the open international tender was out, a briefing session was held on 6 Dec 2007, during the Langkawi International Marine and Aerospace exhibition where TUDM provided the explanation on the technical and operational aspects expected of the potential aircraft to be purchased.

The representative from the Defence Industry Division meanwhile explained the need for an offset package and said this was in line with a letter issued by the Defence Ministry on 4 Feb 2005 on the Policy and Guideline on the Countertrade/Offset Programme.

Among others, the programme stated that for any acquisition of defence equipment worth more than €10 million or more, there should be an offer for countertrade/offset.

The open international tender was closed on 12 Feb this year. On the same date the ministry’s Committee for Opening and Scheduling of Tender (JMMT) opened all the offer documents received, witnessed by the participating companies’ representatives.

Abu Bakar said a total of seven offers were received with the bidding pricing including delivery charges. The pricing offered by Eurocopter (Code tender: T521/07/A/006) was €233,345,390.

“These documents were further divided into three groups and assessed by the Technical Assessment Committee, Offset Evaluation Committee and Price Assessment Committee.

“The output of all the three committees was tabled at the Tender A Board Meeting on 22 July 2008 and subsequently its endorsement submitted to the Finance Ministry on 4 Aug 2008.

“On 3 Sept 2008, the Defence Ministry received the decision and approval from the Finance Ministry to choose Eurocopter’s tender and the Ministry of Defence issued the Letter of Intention to Eurocopter on 15 Sept  2008,” Abu Bakar said.

The government earlier through a cabinet meeting on 18 July 2007 had made the decision to acquire helicopters to replace the Nuri aircraft following wide complaints on the performance of the Nuri. — Bernama


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