Statement by Chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Com¬mittee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity after the first meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee in Parliament on Monday, March 7, 1994
All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity to meet Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. to ask for the fullest government co-operation in its inquiry into allegations of corruption, bribery and improprieties in connection with RM5 billion British arms deals, Pergau dam project and others
The All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity will meet the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to ask for the fullest government cooperation in its inquiry into allegations of corruption, bribery and improprieties in connection with the RM5 billion British arms deals, Psrgau dam project and others.
The Prime Minister should concede and respect the legitimate demands of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee for government accountability on these allegations, as they pertain on parliamentary honour and national integrity, and should extend fullest government co-operation in the following forms:
making available to the All-Party Parliamentary Committee all relevant information and documents pertaining to the allegations, such as the Memorandum of Understanding signed between him and former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in September 1988, and full details of all the separate deals in the RM5 billion British arms purchases;
the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and gov¬ernment officers agreeing to appear before the All-Party Parliamentary Committee to be examined on their role in the various issues, projects or business deals where allegations of corruption bribery and improprieties had been made.
The concerns of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Honour and National Integrity are different from the concerns of the House of Commons Select Committee hearings, which are basically to establish whether the British Government had committed abuses, illegality and deceit of British Parlia¬ment in the misuse of the British Overseas Aid Development money as ‘sweeteners’ to secure defence contracts from the Malaysian Government.
Malaysians are not concerned about ‘sweeteners’ to Malaysian Government provided these ‘sweeteners’ do not go to government politicians or companies associated with them
While we must concede that these are legitimate areas of concern of the British Parliament, media and citizens in their effort to ensure accountability of the British Government, they are no business of Malaysians.
Malaysians have no objections if the British Government wants to give special terms or ‘sweeterns’ to the Malaysian Government in order to secure defence contracts. However, all these transactions must be aboveboard and must be able to stand public scrutiny.
What is even more important, these ‘sweeteners’ if any must be for the Malaysian Government and not to individual government leaders or companies associated with them at the expense of the interests and rights of the Malaysian taxpayers.
This, therefore, is the concern of. the All-Party Parliamentary Committee – as to whether there are any basis to the serious allegations of corruption, bribery and improprieties in the RM5 billion British arms deals, Pergau dam project and others touching on the Malaysian side as had been alleged in the British mass media.
The most recent allegation is that the Malaysian Government had been overcharged for defence equipment bought, through GEC Malaysia’s subsidiary GEC Marconi Projects Malaysia (GMPC), and that documentation showed that the Malaysian Govern¬ment had paid up to twice the going rate for radar communications package which had been sold to GMPC for less than 100 million pound sterling.
Last week, a British Member of Parliament asked about the excessive cost, of frigates bought by Malaysia from the Yarrow Shipbuilders, the GEC subsidiary, compared to the lower-priced and better-equipped ones built at the Swan Hunter shipyard.
The dismissal by the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of these allegations as the creation by dissatisfied people who failed to secure the contracts is inadequate, unacceptable and totally at variance with the government’s com¬mitment to the principles of accountability and transparency.
Malaysians are entitled to know, and MPs to probs, the full facts of these allegations, and in particular why the Malaysian Government bought frigates from Yarrow on the recommendation of the British government, whose own frigates were bought from Swan Hunter.
This is not. the first time there had been allegations of overcharge of British arms under the RM5 billion Memorandum of Undertstanding signed between Mahathir and Margaret Thatcher.
As far back as May 1989, The Observer had made serious allegations that the Malaysian Government was being overcharged for the Tornados deal, when the Tornado were the first jetfighter choice of the Malaysian Government.
The 1989 Observer report said:
“The basic price of the Tornado bought by the RAF and the German Luftwafre is 17-20 million pound sterling depending on the scale of equipment. But the price of the Tornados being sold to Malaysia by British Aerospace is nearly 40 million pound sterling. This huge discrepancy in prices cannot be accounted for solely by differences in equipment servicing, training or spares.”
“According to defence sources, tropicalistion of the Tornados might account for a markup of 25 per cent or an additional price per aircraft of 5 million pound sterling.”
The advanced adverse publicity about the overcharging of the Tornado deal under the Memorandum of Understanding may be the real reason for the rejection of the Tornado and selection of the Hawk jetfighters by the Malaysian Government.
In view of this background, and the allegations of overcharging for the other items in the defence packages under the Memorandum of Understanding, like the frigates and the radar communications systems, the Government should open its defence procurement files for examination as to the truth or otherwise of these allegations.
Gall for full disclosure and accountability on Samy Vellu’s latest revelation that if not for ‘sweeteners’ from British Government; Pergau would cost RM300 million less
The Minister for Energy/Telecommunications and Post, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said yesterday that it is for Malaysia to decide the viability of the Pergau hydroelectric dam project and not Britain.
We agree, but the judgement should be made finally by the Malaysian Parliament and the Malaysian people. However, up to now, the Malaysian Parliament and the Malaysian people had been denied access to all relevant information about the Pergau dam project, whether its financial, economic, or ecological aspects.
The revelation by Samy Vellu yesterday that if not for ‘sweeteners’ from the British Government, the Malaysian Govern¬ment would have been able to complete the Pergau dam for RM300 million lesser is most shocking, and call for the fullest disclo¬sure and accountability by the Government.
Why is the ACA not investigating into the allegations of corruption and bribery
The Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid said yesterday that the government would investigate as to whether Malaysians had instigated the British media to report on the alleged corruption of Malaysian, leaders.
Malaysians must wonder why the Anti-Corruption Agency is not investigating into the allegations of corruption and bribery involving the Malaysian Government and its leaders made in the British mass media. Instead, the Government wants to embark on a ‘witch-hunt’ as to whether Malaysians had ‘instigat¬ed’ the British mass media reports.
This only strengthen national and international view that in Malaysia, corruption in high political places is no offence. The offence is the expose of such corruption. This is why the Official Secrets Act is the most draconian in the whole world so as to protect corruption, malpractices and abuse of power and why the ACA has shown no interest in the corruption allegations in the British mass media.
When the Sydney Sunday Telegraph on January 16 alleged that Malaysian opposition politicians were receiving bribes iron the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Government did not declare that it was going to investigate whether such 2 report had been instigated. Instead, the Government including Dr. Mahathir claimed that there must be some basis for such a report.
Interestingly, when the Canberra Times reported on February 3 that the Malaysian politicians who had been receiving bribes from the Australian secret agents were not from the oppo¬sition but from government parties, there was total silence from the Government leaders.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, had ordered the police to lodge a report so that Bukit Aman could launch investigations into the Sydney Sunday Telegraph report, but the IGP has not shown equal zeal and interest with regard to the Canberra Times allegations.
I have written to Rahim Noor to ask whether the Police would also lodge police report on the Canberra Times allegations so that it could investigate and ascertain who are the government and UMNO politicians and MPs who had been paid bribes by ASIS until four years ago. I am still waiting for his reply.