KUALA LUMPUR: The defence ministry will proceed with the procurement of maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) after initially aborting plans to acquire them last August.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the Hospital Angkatan Tentera Tuanku Mizan in Wangsa Maju here today, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the procurement of the MPA was necessary.
He also said that the MPA project was only postponed and not cancelled last year.
“We have discussed the matter with the finance ministry and they also see that it is necessary to acquire these aircraft,” he said.
Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu, said the cost of the project as well as which country the MPA will be sourced from were still being discussed.
He said many countries had offered to sell their aircraft during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA 2019) held recently.
Last August, The Edge quoted the defence ministry as saying it had cancelled the MPA project in line with the government’s decision to re-evaluate the implementation of mega projects.
However, the ministry said the project may be considered in the future if necessary.
Subsequently, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong told the Dewan Negara that the Royal Malaysian Air Force required more maritime patrol aircraft to defend the country’s interests.
On the issue of the sale of the Royal Chulan Hotel, an asset belonging to Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), Mohamad said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would make the final decision.
It was previously reported that Singapore-listed Hotel Royal Ltd was buying over the Royale Chulan from Boustead Holdings Bhd for RM197 million although there were reports quoting the defence ministry as saying the deal had not yet been finalised.
LTAT is Boustead’s biggest shareholder.
Mohamad said the sale of the hotel was above board and had been discussed and approved by LTAT’s board of directors.
“The final decision comes under the PMO,” he said.