Reopen Scorpene case and handle it in Malaysia, says Suaram

Malaysia purchased two French-designed submarines in a politically-controversial deal in 2002. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Human rights body Suara Rakyat Malaysia has proposed that investigations be reopened into the government’s controversial purchase of two French-designed Scorpene submarines in 2002.

Sevan Doraisamy, Suaram’s executive director, also said that the government should lift an entry ban on a French lawyer, William Bourdon, who had been handling a case in France.

Doraisamy said he would bring up the matter next week at a meeting with the Defence Minister, Mohamad Sabu.

“Bourdon was previously barred from coming to Malaysia when he wanted to do a briefing on the case,” he said, adding that Bourdon can provide the latest developments in the case to Mohamad.

He said the government investigations into the deal should be handled in Malaysia, as the issue concerned the federal government.

“Our focus is on misappropriation (of funds) in the purchase of the submarines, involving Malaysian and French companies. At that time, former prime minister Najib Razak was the defence minister.

“If this is possible, either Suaram can get the ball rolling, it can be done on a government to government basis, or we can bring it up with Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu,” he said.

Last year French investigators charged two executives involved in the Scorpene deal, worth US$1.1 billion. The pair are Philippe Japiot, former chairman of DCNI defence contractors, and Jean-Paul Perrier, former chief executive officer of Thales, a defence electronics company.

They were questioned in May last year over accusations of graft and commission.

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