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Govt to reconsider Eurocopter purchase at later date

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Dec 2008: The government will reconsider its decision on the purchase of Eurocopter helicopters when the economy recovers, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

The deputy prime minister said the purchase was deferred temporarily following the current world economic crisis.

“When the situation returns to normal the government can reconsider whether to proceed with the purchase of this type of helicopter or make other decisions,” Najib, who is also finance minister, told a news conference here.

He was asked to comment on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the government reconsider its decision to defer the purchase of 12 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters costing RM1.604 billion.

The PAC, in a report distributed to members of Parliament, had proposed that the purchase be made by 2011 at the latest after taking into account that the Nuri helicopters of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) were only safe for use until 2015.

Najib said the matter involved two issues.

“One, we want to ensure that the purchase is done without any element of abuse or unhealthy element, and this has been confirmed by the PAC. The PAC has  conducted a study and found that we have followed all the procedures in this international tender, so the initial allegation is totally unfounded,” he said.

The second issue was that the decision to defer the purchase was due to the current economic situation which forced the government to give priority to projects with high impact on the nation’s economic growth and the people’s well-being, he added. — Bernama


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