PKR leader Tian Chua now alleges that military information was given to the French so that they could be awarded the Scorpene deal.
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Tian Chua alleged today that one of the 153 leaked French investigative documents confirmed that military information was given to the French company Thomson CSF (later known as Thales International Asia), which eventually became DCNS, the shipbuilding company that sold Scorpene submarines to Malaysia.
Tian, the Batu MP, said that this would refute Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s denial that classified documents had gone out of the country.
He showed reporters in Parliament a copy of a translated three-page “Document 97”, which he said was a police summary of various proofs that they have collected, and were arranged according to at least 128 sections.
In one section, Tian said the police had seized a report which Terasasi Ltd (Hong Kong) had handed over to Thomson CSF Asia. The report had “listed down competitors of the French proposal (Holland, Germany, Turkey, Russia and South Korea)”.
“The analysis of the different strengths of these competitors was quite detailed. The most serious competitor was South Korea with an approach technique different from that of Perimekar Sdn Bhd, addressing directly the Malaysian Navy. Perimekar’s strategy was to promote the French proposal to decision-makers (different ministers and military officials),” read the document.
Interpreting the document, Tian alleged that these reports were the Malaysian military analysis on the strength of each of the proposals from each country.
“This means the military had received the proposals from these countries and had studied them to see which ones were good, which ones had weaknesses, and which ones had problems. That was an internal evaluation. Terasasi got this [information] and gave it to the French side. The strategy was for the French to get the contract,” he alleged.
“So this is what we mean by breach of national security. Perimekar, being a Malaysian agent, shouldn’t have taken part… Malaysian agents were promoting the French [proposals] while our military was still studying which was the best option.”
Something seriously wrong
Terasasi and Perimeker were both owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Tian said that South Korea had “slightly different” specifications but (their proposal) was cheaper. “So what happened was that Perimekar, under Razak Baginda, sent all this information there [Thomson] so that the French could get up to the [top] spot”.
“This document clearly shows that there is something seriously wrong with our defence procurement. And this was only one of the many documents sent to Thomson.”
Tian questioned how Terasasi obtained the report on the different countries from the Malaysian navy as it was not part of any ministry but merely a private company and accused it of possibly committing treason.
“How did Terasasi got this [information]? It is not the defence ministry, it is just a private company. Not only did they get [this confidential information], they also sent it to the French who had an interest in it,” he said.
“To get paid for what they were reporting to Thomspon, that is treason. This is part of the secret
documents. The French police themselves recognised this.
“Imagine this: the French were entering a trade, knowing all their competitors’ information, this is espionage. If the French themselves went to Turkey and South Korea, and stole the information, [that’s different]. But now, Terasasi is the one which supplied them. I’m asking how could Terasasi obtain this information?”
Tian said this was serious and the government cannot continue denying but must start an inquiry.
‘Umno biggest beneficiary’
“If Zahid said that he doesn’t know, it is only because he was not the defence minister at the time. But it would be dishonest of him not to find out about all these things.”
Tian said that Zahid, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Najib must now answer “why they went for the French option” and “why they allowed and nominated so many of these companies which, in the eyes of the French, were to benefit Umno, the ruling party.”
Comparing the Malaysian government’s attitude and the French court’s actions, Tian said the court in France spent two years and unearthed so much, while the Malaysian government was denying there was even a court case, saying “we don’ care, we won’t cooperate with you”.
Other parts of the Document 97 also detailed the French police’s notes, which stated that usually “the ruling party [Umno] is the biggest beneficiary” in major defence contracts.
It said that major defence contracts in Malaysia required important local content called “Malaysian Industrial Participation”, which is typically a powerful local industrial partner or a joint venture with a less significant local company.
Tian said this was called “taxi companies” such as Perimekar and Terasasi.
Another paragraph read: “In the early 2000s, Thales and DCNI [a subsidiary of DCNS] were about to form a 50:50 joint venture between Thales Naval and DCNI. Under pressure from the French government, they decided to join forces in Malaysia for the submarine project.
“Thales International was specially tasked with buoying the political network because it was perceived as having the best political/industrial connections in Malaysia (compared to DCNI). Senior management members of Thales had a meeting with a Malaysian diplomat, who led them to choose Razak Baginda as a point of reference for the political network.”
‘Small companies disappeared’
The document also listed a series of companies nominated by the Malaysian government to receive benefits, including Perimekar.
Summarising the details, Tian said eventually “the small, small companies disappeared and finally there were two companies left, Terasasi and Perimekar. Terasasi directly received payment from the
French side, while Perimekar got directly from the Malaysian side… it was 114 million euros from Malaysian side. Terasasi signed various agreements starting with Thompson, which finally became Thales and DCNI”.
Yesterday, Tian accused the government of lying over the controversial Scorpene submarine deal and that Zahid could be hauled up for contempt of Parliament.
On Tuesday, close to midnight, Zahid denied the alleged sale of classified documents as there was “no information on the allegation”.
Terasasi was alleged to have received 36 million euros (RM142 million) from DCNS for, among others, the “sale” of a highly confidential report comprising the Malaysian Navy’s evaluation for the order of the submarines.
He also said that there was no need for an independent commission to investigate the purchase of new Scorpene submarines as the vessels were accquired according to National Defence
Equipment Procurement procedures.
He said the government also found it unnecessary to be an observer at France’s “Tribunal de Grande Istance” Court as it understands that there is no trial taking place in the country on the Scorpene
Zahid stressed that the ministry never paid any commission directly or indirectly to any companies in the procurement of the submarines.
The RM7.3 billion deal to purchase two Scorpene submarines with DCNS and Spanish Navantia was inked in 2002, when Najib was defence minister.
In 2009, Suaram successfully sought for a judicial inquiry at the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris to probe alleged corruption crimes and illegal bribes involving top officials from both Malaysia and France in the submarine deal.
Suaram claimed that DCNS had paid bribery amounting to 114 million euros to Perimekar, with help from Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was later gruesomely murdered for allegedly asking a part of the bribe
Under the French justice system, an investigative judge has the power to perform both as a judge and investigating prosecutor.