Whilst campaigning in the Sungei Kandis by-election, in July last year, disgraced Najib Abdul Razak, took pot shots at the Minister of Defence, Mohamad Sabu aka Mat Sabu.
He said Mohamad had no standards, looked like a cartoon in his beret and was a joke, because all he could talk about was his expertise at cooking fish curry.
He said Mohamad exhibited the traits of a hypocrite, for criticising him (Najib) without any proof of his wrong-doing.
Najib’s wish is granted and Mat Sabu has the last laugh
Najib should be overjoyed, while Mohamad has the last laugh, as an audit by the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee (GPFIC), on Mindef, discovered a scandal involving Mindef’s lands. It claimed that 16 of the Ministry of Defence’s projects had suffered losses of RM500 million, and that two of these projects were in Sarawak.
Although the GPFIC did not name the Prime minister at the time, it is not difficult to ascertain his identity, from the date (2011) of the correspondence that was scrutinised.
Remember Rafidah Aziz’s open letter last year?
This “land swap” scandal is all the more critical, because in April last year, the former Minister for International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Aziz, wrote an open letter demanding an explanation for these land swap deals.
As expected, the erstwhile Minister of Defence, Hishammuddin Hussein, denied the land swap claims and denounced Rafidah.
Mindef is flush with cash because its procurement and service contracts involve billions of ringgits of the taxpayers’ money. If the people at the top lack integrity, those lower down in the pecking order are wont to do the same.
Let’s compare the three Defence Ministers
Mohamad’s expose warrants a brief comparison of the performance of the three Ministers of Defence.
First. Najib served a total of 14 years as Ministry of Defence, from 1990 to 1995, and again from1999 to 2008.
Najib’s second term as Defence Minister was marred by some high-profile incidents. The first was the loss of two jet engines from the air bases at Sungei Besi and Subang. The first jet engine was stolen in December 2007 and the jets were finally located in Uruguay, having been purchased by an arms dealer.
The two men who had been convicted for stealing the engines were released in 2016. So, who is guilty of stealing the jet engines? The case was closed, because the RMAF investigation said that no high ranking officials were involved. The investigation should have been conducted by an independent body.
Why was the erstwhile Attorney-General, Gani Patail, sent to recover the engines, and not the Defence Minister, Zahid Hamidi, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anifah Aman?
The death of Mongolian model and translator, Altantuya Shaarriibuu, is linked to the purchase of the two French Scorpene submarines. She was shot and her body blown-up with C4 explosives. How did her murderers gain access to the C4?
The Scorpenes cost RM5 billion, but at this price, two nuclear submarines (Trafalgar class), could have been bought. The Scorpenes were purchased without instrumentation and weapons system, and they encountered problems when being submerged, which meant that many millions of ringgits had to be spent to refurbish them.
Second. Hishamuddin Hussein served as Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2018. The Lahad Datu incursion, by Suluk militants, in February 2013 should have been taken seriously, but Hishammuddin dismissed their presence, until shots were fired and lives were lost.
Despite billions of ringgits pumped into the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), their intelligence failed to realise the threat.
A year later, in March 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, disappeared from the skies, and has not been found.
An air traffic control supervisor had fallen asleep during the time an indentified aircraft had been detected on military radar. A jet should have been sent to investigate whether this aircraft was a friend, or a foe.
Hishammuddin claimed that there was no need to send an air force jet to investigate. The fate of MH370 may have taken a different course, if the RMAF had been more organised. How was the sleeping air traffic control supervisor punished, if at all?
Months after Umno-Baru/BN’s defeat in GE-14, Hishammudin was being protected by three military bodyguards, who were also on the Mindef payroll. Who gave Hishammuddin the authority to use military personnel for security?
Third. Today, after one year in office, Mohamad and his deputy, Liew Chin Tong, have revealed more irregularities in the ministry, such as the shortage of money for maintenance of aircraft and equipment, or that only 4 of Mindef’s 18 Sukhoi jets are serviceable.
This exposé was to reveal the nation’s weaknesses in defence, but to show how the tag-team of Najib and Hishamduddin have betrayed Malaysia and its military.
Mohamad will reveal more scandals, and attempt to recover the money that has been stolen, to make Mindef operate more effectively, and efficiently to ensure the security of the nation.
Video Credit: The Star at this link.