Wednesday 17 October 2012

PAC may probe Mindef’s RM3.2 bil fiasco - G Vinod

Public Accounts Committee member Kamaruddin Jaafar says this was not the first time they have found irregularities in contracts involving the Ministry of Defence.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) may probe the case of RM3.2 billion spent by the Ministry of Defence to build poor housing for military personnel.

Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar, a member of the PAC, said this when met at the Parliament lobby today.

“We will look into ithe issues highlighted by the Auditor-General’s report. I’m quite sure this matter will be looked into,” he added.

The report indicated that the ministry’s project to build quarters for its married personnel had ballooned in cost, from the intial RM1.22 billion to a whopping RM3.2 billion.

To make matters worse, the report also said that completed quarters were marred with defects and the contractor failed to carry out the necessary maintenance works.

The contractor implicated was Syarikat USL, a joint venture of the Finance Ministry-owned Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd and the Armed Forces Fund Board Sdn Bhd.

Kamaruddin, who is also a PAS MP, said this was not the first time irregularities had cropped up in projects involving the Defence Ministry.

“This has been going on for many years. We’re concerned of the ministry’s neglect in ensuring there is proper planning in building military camps and quarters for their personnel,” he said.

Meanwhile, DAP MP Lim Guan Eng said the military was once again being shortchanged by poor planning.
“And this is caused by the absence of open tender. As long as you don’t have an open tender system, this problem will persist,” said the Penang chief minister.

Nurul shocked and afraid

Echoing Lim’s sentiments, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said the AG report showed how the direct tender process destroyed quality production and affected the nation’s coffers.

She also said that in the world arena, it was common knowledge that defence ministries were the most susceptible to corruption as it dealt with high commissions and substructured procurement deals.

“But this is merely building quarters for your officers. You are supposed to to provide welfare for the people under your care, “ added the PKR vice-president.

She urged Malaysian to reject the direct tender process as it was open to abuse by whoever benefiting from it.

“This is shocking. I’m fearful for our country’s future,” she said.

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