KUALA LUMPUR, 5 Nov 2008: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the opposition’s claim that the government was spending a huge amount of money in the purchase of Eurocopter helicopters has been proven wrong.
He said the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had declared that it found no irregularities in the purchase of 12 units of the aircraft worth RM1.604 billion.
Najib, who is finance minister, said the government had a systematic way of dealing with procurement matters and would ensure that the system and procedures were followed.
“The allegation is baseless and has been proven wrong. That is why we opened the process for a scrutiny by the PAC although it is not proper to expose the matter to too many parties because it involves the armed forces.
“However, since the opposition has been making a big issue out of the deal, we let the PAC investigate,” he told reporters after appearing in a special interview with Radio Television Malaysia on the stimulus package in the 2009 Budget at the Angkasapuri, here.
PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said on 3 Nov that based on the committee’s two-week scrutiny on the technical and financial aspects of the deal, it found that the process had been carried out in accordance with internationally-accepted procurement practices.
Azmi said the PAC only had issues with the fact that no physical evaluations were made on the helicopters.
The Defence Ministry, however, had explained that it did not carry out any test flights as the helicopters were already being used in several countries, Azmi added.
The PAC consists of 14 members including five opposition members of parliament.
Najib said the PAC had the right to evaluate and investigate deals entered into by the government.
“We have nothing to hide,” said Najib, “the PAC can call anyone to facilitate its investigations.” — Bernama