Diving with the Scorpene submarine KD Tun Abdul Razak 21 months after challenge was issued by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi does not dispute the fact that the submarine could not dive upon delivery nor whether it was value for money for the purchase price tag of RM3.68 billion for two submarines.
However these 2 points of waiting 21 months and the necessity for such a high price tag were not highlighted by the BN mainstream media from Utusan Malaysia to Bernama which instead shamelessly focused on my so-called admission justifying the purchase of the two expensive submarines. Malaysians should not trust such BN media reports which are distorted, twisted and corrupted into outright lies to help BN face the coming general elections.
Commission to Perimekar
I would also like to reiterate my previous questioning of awarding a RM534 million service contract or “commission” given to Perimekar Sdn Bhd. Zahid had challenged me in Parliament on 17 March 2010 to go for a submarine ride to prove that the submarine could dive when he could not answer my insistance that the Government return the vessel to the manufacturer to be replaced with a new one.
After all if one buys a new car, and there is a defect, you take it back to the showroom and ask for a new one. However Zahid refused my suggestion and challenged me to take a dive with the submarine. I had accepted immediately but did not realise that it would take 21 months for Zahid to fulfil his challenge. Whether this long 21 months delay was due to some technical defect was not made known?
There is no disputing the professionalism, expertise and sacrifice of our navy boys, including Malaysia’s submariners. Whatever our unhappiness with the price tag, PR and Malaysians want what is best for our navy boys and has never questioned their excellent service to the nation.
Stop telling lies
Zahid did not dive with me as promised as he said he had other official duties with the Johor Sultan. I was informed that no other blogger was on board. Initially blogger Papagomo was supposed to be on board but I had objected as I refused to be in the same submarine with a liar bullying young kids, who made false allegations against my 15 year old son of sexually molesting his classmate. I have never met Papagomo and Zahid had promised that Papagomo would be removed. During the dive, I saw two TV3 crew members and one Bernama reporter. Zahid should clarify that he had not lied to me and the press.
However as huge public funds of RM4.23 billion is involved in the purchase and servicing of the 2 submarines, questions remain about the controversy of the high cost of purchasing the submarine and awarding the service contract to a company that had no previous track record or experience in servicing and maintaining submarines.
The BN government must realise that not only huge sums of public funds amounting to RM4.23 billion are involved but the safety of sailors are at stake to ensure that the highest standards or safety and security are maintained by experienced and expert service companies with a proven track record.
Lim Guan Eng is the Penang Chief Minister