The relentless questioning by certain groups, especially the opposition, on the procurement of national defence assets  including the Scorpene submarines will have a negative impact on the country's security forces.

Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the opposition's action aimed at gaining public support for their own political interest could undermine the image of Malaysia's defence among the international community.

He said the action of non-governmental organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) of continuing to question the government's purchase of the two submarines could also be seen as mocking at the level of professionalism of the country's security forces.

He was speaking during a one-day working visit with 80 media representatives to the Royal Malaysian Navy base at Kota Kinabalu.

Ahmad Zahid also expressed regret over the opposition using the issue for political expediency as the general election is approaching, without considering the implications.
"In fact, the opposition is still criticising the purchase of the two Scorpene submarines although the matter has been explained many times including through the media and briefings. Some opposition members were even taken into the submarines for a visit.

"We don't want the issue (purchase of the submarines) to dent the spirit of the submarines' crew members. Don't belittle their capability and that of the submarines.

"Although we have political differences, we should not dispute the capability of our armed forces. We should all appreciate them as security cannot be compromised," he said.

- Bernama