Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong
in Kuala Lumpur
Purchases and manufacturing of arms have always been complicated. We often hear of irregularities such as kickbacks involving unimaginable amount of money. Arms dealers ply their trade with protean dexterity.
This year Malaysia spends RM7.824 billion on defence. So far, the Government says that it purchases 211 units of armoured personnel carriers from Turkey, multi-purpose rocket launchers from Brazil and 22 medium range 155 mm cannons from South Africa at a total cost of RM2.06 billion. But, we don't know the details.
Malaysia has bought MIG fighters from Russia. In Asia, India is one of the largest operators of the MIG and Sukhoi series of jets. Apparently, India and Russia may jointly manufacture the Su-30 MKM for Malaysia.
Buying and maintaining these aircrafts need a multibillion budget. So, do these jets fit into the new military strategy of Malaysia? Has the squadron of MIG fighters become out-of-date? What criteria do we use for these purchases?
To make our defence credible, we must keep up with the time. But, we ought to deal with irregularities like kickbacks by taking positive steps. The people are increasingly aware and the Government has to publish the details of arms purchases. Although there are military secrets, the release of relevant information to the public does not always mean the disclosure of secrets.