Vow to ex­pose wrong­do­ings

Mat Sabu says panel will ex­am­ine pro­cure­ment of mil­i­tary as­sets by pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment

New Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE de­fence min­is­ter says an in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee will get to the bot­tom of nu­mer­ous al­le­ga­tions swirling around deal­ings of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

DE­FENCE Min­is­ter Mo­hamad Sabu has pledged to ex­pose all al­leged mis­con­duct and mal­prac­tices in the De­fence Min­istry by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment if there is any truth to the claims.

Mo­hamad, who is pop­u­larly known as Mat Sabu, said sev­eral is­sues re­lated to the min­istry had been raised, mainly on the pro­cure­ment of mil­i­tary as­sets.

The al­le­ga­tions would be looked into by the spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee on pro­cure­ment, gov­er­nance and fi­nance, headed by for­mer au­di­tor gen­eral Tan Sri Am­brin Buang, he said re­cently at Wisma Ber­nama here.

Mo­hamad said in the cam­paign lead­ing up to the gen­eral elec­tion on May 9, sev­eral mat­ters as­so­ci­ated with the min­istry had been brought up, in­clud­ing the al­le­ga­tion by for­mer in­ter­na­tional trade and in­dus­try min­is­ter Tan Sri Rafi­dah Aziz, that all armed forces land in the coun­try had been swapped with a com­pany.

“We had also raised the pur­chase of the Scor­pene-class sub­marines, the mur­der of (Mon­go­lian model) Al­tan­tuya Shaari­ibuu and so on, many is­sues,” he said.

Mo­hamad, who was sworn in as the de­fence min­is­ter on May 21, said he be­lieved that the spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­mit­tee would be able to scru­ti­nise the var­i­ous al­le­ga­tions and set the record straight so as to change the peo­ple’s neg­a­tive per­cep­tion that could un­der­mine the im­age of the min­istry.

He also said there would be no ma­jor change in the poli­cies adopted by the min­istry, ex­cept for im­prove­ments in their im­ple­men­ta­tion.

These poli­cies in­cluded mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in mon­i­tor­ing wa­ters and the com­mit­ment to strengthen the agree­ment on the Zone of Peace, Free­dom and Neu­tral­ity (Zop­fan) in South­east Asia, he said.

Mo­hamad re­it­er­ated his com­mit­ment to con­tinue over­see­ing the wel­fare of Armed Forces per­son­nel, and main­tain­ing their pre­pared­ness in de­fend­ing na­tional se­cu­rity and sovereignty.

“Our cur­rent na­tional fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic po­si­tions re­quire us to make ad­just­ments. How­ever, the wel­fare and pre­pared­ness of our mil­i­tary can­not be com­pro­mised.”

He also said mat­ters ini­ti­ated by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, such as the King Sal­man Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Peace and the Na­tional Ser­vice Train­ing Pro­gramme, would be sub­jected to in-depth study, and a pro­posal would be sub­mit­ted to the cab­i­net for a de­ci­sion.

BER­NAMA PIC

De­fence Min­is­ter Mo­hamad Sabu speak­ing at an in­ter­view in Wisma Ber­nama on Tues­day.

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