Continue PH probes into defence projects, Chin Tong tells new govt

The purchase of US-made MD530-G light scout attack helicopters was one of several which came under scrutiny during the Pakatan Harapan administration. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong has urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to continue probing projects linked to the ministry, including the procurement of several military assets.

He said when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya, the first thing the defence ministry (Mindef) did was to invite Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee (GPFIC) chairman Ambrin Buang to investigate several military acquisitions made under the Barisan Nasional administration which allegedly violated regulations.

This included the purchase of AV8 tanks, littoral combat ships, and US-made MD530-G light scout attack helicopters which were not only costly but also delayed in terms of delivery.

He said Mindef had also asked GPFIC to probe the ministry’s land swap deals which saw the government incur losses of RM500 million.

“The projects that are still being probed should continue to be investigated.

“For those projects where probes are completed, the recommendations should be brought to Cabinet in the near future,” Liew said in a Facebook post outlining what the ministry under PN should focus on.

Referring to the white paper tabled by former minister Mohamad Sabu to chart the country’s defence plans for the next 10 years, he said it had taken a bi-partisan approach and was accepted by all MPs on Dec 2 last year.

The white paper sought to introduce a new approach to science and technology by making it a catalyst for the defence ecosystem and national economic growth; to look after the welfare of military veterans and to develop the local defence industry, among others.

“Such an approach should be continued to ensure the reform in the ministry is maintained,” he said.

Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein was reported as saying yesterday that there was no need to bring up the matter of the six undelivered choppers costing more than RM300 million, which were purchased by the ministry in 2016.

Hishammuddin, who is now the foreign minister, said army chief Gen Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi had said the issue was resolved.