by Chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on 24th February 1994:
The Cabinet should declassify the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the RM5 billion British arms and make it available to the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity for its first meeting in early March to probe as to whether it was linked to the Pergau dam project
Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, had ruled out the possibility of making public the copy of the Memorandum of Understanding (MQU) on the RM5 billion British arms purchase signed between the Malaysian and British Prime Ministers in 1988 on the ground that it is a government document classified as official secrets involving national security.
The Defence Minister should be aware of the numerous allegations in the British mass media, both printed and electron¬ic, about corruption, bribery, kickbacks and various form of improprieties involving the RM5 billion British arms purchase by Malaysia following the signing of the MOU.
Najib said that he and the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Cranborne, both of whom attended the Asian Aerospace ‘94 Airshow in Singapore, agreed that there was no linkage between the Pergau dam project deal and the MOU – and “anyone suggesting it, has not got his facts right”.
Najib should know that such assertion by the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence has minimal credibility in the United Kingdom, and there is no reason for Malaysians to believe Lord Cranborne when British MPs and the ordinary people in the United Kingdom do not trust or believe him or even the British Prime Minister, John Major.
The only way to establish that there is no linkage between the MOU on the RM5 billion arms purchase and the Pergau dam project is for the MOU to be made public.
The Cabinet should declassify the MOU and make it available to the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamen¬tary Honour and National Integrity for its first meeting in early March to probe as to whether it is linked to the Pergau dam project, and even more important, whether there is any truth to the numerous allegations about corruption and bribery in the different defence deals under the MOU.
The first British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk 100 aircraft ordered under the MOU had arrived in the Butterworth RMAF base last Monday, the second to arrive on Monday or Tuesday, while the rest would be delivered at a rate of two aircraft per month.
Malaysia had ordered 10 Hawk 100 and 18 Hawk 200 at a cost of RM1.2 billion, including spare parts, ground support and training equipment. The Hawk 200 will be delivered in stages starting July through August next year.
It is important that the air must be cleared of all allegations of corruption and bribery concerning the RM5 billion MOU when such defence procurements are beginning to be delivered.
There can be no good reason for the Cabinet to refuse to declassify the MOU, as there could be no security information in it which had not already been made public, as the different defence items which Malaysia was interested in at the time had been extensively reported by both local and foreign media, as well as mentioned in the Malaysian and British Parliaments.
The only items in the MOU which might not have been made public are the provisions – if any – linking the MOU to Pergau dam and other arrangements which could throw light on the allegations about corruption and bribery, which have nothing to do with security.
Another reason why the Cabinet should declassify the MOU is that details of the MOU had been extensively reported in the British mass, media – and it makes a complete mockery of Parliamentary control of government in Malaysia when the MOU is regarded as a classfied document in Malaysia when it has become quite a public document in the United Kingdom.