by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, 26th May 1990:
Malaysia should have studied whether Tornado is too costly and sophisticated before concluding the Memorandum of Understanding for $4.5 billion British arms purchase
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, announced yesterday that the Government is reviewing plans to buy 12 Tornado fighter jets worth almost $2 billion from Britain because it is too costly and sophisticated.
Dr. Mahathir said: “We have reviewed our plans… the question is whether we need such costly and sophisticated jets.”
The Government should have studied whether the Tornada jets are too costly and sophisticated for Malaysia’s needs before rushing in to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding for $4.5 billion British arms purchases two years ago.
Dr. Mahathir should explain why this important aspect was neglected, especially as public voices were raised right from the beginning that Tornada jets were too costly and sophisticated. Why must it take the Malaysian Government two years before it got wise to these facts?
Public interest demands an explanation from the government as to what evaluation process it adopted when it decided on the Tornado jets two years ago, and which committee and defence officials were responsible for the Tornado decision.
As it is, even if the Government should decide not to buy the 12 Tornado jets, it has to buy another British fighter jet because of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded with Britain two years ago. Now, instead of the 12 Tornado jets, the Government will probably have to settle for 20 British-made Hawk fighter-trainers instead.
What the Government should review, is not just to type of fighter jet to buy, but the whole $4.5 billion British arms purchase. The Tornada jet episode is the best illustration that government decisions on acquisition of defence equipment and hardware is too important to be left to the Government and the Defence Ministry alone.
The public must be involved in the decision-making process whether Malaysia needs to spend $4.5 billion on these defence armaments, or whether the Memorandum of Understanding for $4.5 billion British arms purchase should be cancelled altogether.
Call on the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment for the eight Hong Kong condemned who are to hang on May 30 for dadah offences
DDAP appeals to the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Prime Minister to commute the death sentences of the eight Hong Kong condemned, who are to hang on May 30 for drug offences. The death sentence of the eight Hong Kong condemned should be commuted to life imprisonment.
As a first step, the Government should accede to the request of the British High Commission asking for an indefinite stay of execution of the Hong Kong eight.