Apabila demam pilihanraya semakin panas, akan terbit suara-suara sumbang Pakatan yang bukan sahaja menyerang parti memerintah, malah semua institusi kerajaan akan diserang dan difitnah demi mengelirukan para pengundi. Institusi Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) juga tidak lekang dari budaya fitnah yang menjadi darah daging Pakatan.
Sekiranya Nik Nazmi menghabiskan masa menggunakan Internet untuk membaca fakta dan mengurangkan masa beliau menyebar fitnah, beliau tentu akan dapat lihat bahawa kapal-kapal milik TLDM sentiasa menjalankan rondaan bukaan sahaja di Zon Ekonomi Eksklusif (EEZ), malah juga di perairan Laut Sulu di timur negeri Sabah. Bagusnya TLDM ialah setiap buah kapal serta unit-unit sokongan mempunyai akaun Twitter dan kita dapat melihat aktiviti-aktiviti am yang dilakukan oleh kapal-kapal milik TLDM dalam memelihara kedaulatan perairan negara ini.
Kita mungkin mempunyai kapal-kapal yang telah berusian setengah abad seperti KD Hang Tuah yang kini menjalankan peranan sebagai friget latihan, serta bot-bot peronda kelas Kris seperti KD Sri Johor dan KD Sri Perlis. KD Sri Johor dan KD Sri Perlis masih aktif membuat rondaan di perairan Laut Sulu. Hakikat bahawa ketiga-tiga kapal tersebut masih dalam perkhidmatan aktif membuktikan bahawa rejim penyelenggaraan TLDM adalah amat baik sekali.
Program peremajaan serta pemerkasaan TLDM sepatutnya telah berjalan dengan lancar kalau budaya pemberian kontrak kepada kroni yang telah diamalkan oleh Pengerusi Pakatan Harapan tidak berlaku. Mungkin Nik Nazmi patut ajukan pertanyaan kepada Pengerusi kesayangannya bagaimana pemberian kontrak tersebut boleh berlaku, hinggakan kerajaan terpaksa mengeluarkan lebih kewangan untuk menyiapkan enam buah kapal peronda kelas Kedah sedangkan bajet yang diberikan kepada kroni Pengerusi mereka itu telah habis digunakan. Akibat terpaksa menyiapkan apa yang tidak disiapkan oleh kroni tersebut, program pemerkasaan serta peremajaan aset TLDM tergendala buat seketika waktu.
Hanya kini apabila kerajaan Najib Razak bergabung usaha dengan Panglima TLDM, baru lah dapat TLDM merealisasikan usaha peremajaan dan pemerkasaan TLDM dengan program 15-to-5 yang akan menyaksikan TLDM menggunakan hanya lima kelas aset tempur dan sokongan berbanding dengan 15 yang diwarisi dari zaman Pengerusi Pakatan Harapan tersebut.
Kenapa kapal TLDM lebih kecil berbanding dengan negara luar? Saiz kapal bukannya menjadi ukuran kekuatan sesuatu tentera laut. Kapal pengangkut pesawat milik Tentera Laut DiRaja Thailand Chakri Nareubet adalah kapal pengangkut pesawat (CV) yang paling kecil di dunia. Panjangnya hanyalah 201 meter berbanding kapal pengangkut helikopter (LHD) milik Tentera Laut Amerika Syarikat (USN) iaitu USS Wasp yang panjangnya 257 meter. Dan USS Wasp hanyalah separuh panjang kapal-kapal pengangkut pesawat (CVN) milik USN.
Kapal pemusnah INS Eilat milik Tentera Laut Israel yang panjangnya 100 meter telah ditenggelamkan pada tahun 1967 menggunakan peluru berpandu jenis Styx yang dilancarkan dari sebuah bot peronda jenis Komar milik Tentera Laut Mesir pada tahun 1967 yang panjangnya hanya 25 meter.
Kapal pemusnah milik USN iaitu USS Cole yang panjangnya 105 meter telah dilumpuhkan oleh sebuah bot fiberglass berukuran 4 meter pada tahun 2000. Serangan oleh bot fiberglass tersebut telah mengorbankan 15 orang anak kapal dan mencederakan 39 yang lain.
Ini membuktikan bahawa saiz kapal bukannya menjadi ukuran, tetapi saiz serta jenis kapal perlulah memenuhi doktrin milik Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia. Tetapi saya yakin Nik Nazmi tidak faham akan konsep doktrin Angkatan Tentera Malaysia. Dakwaan serta tohmahan yang dilemparkan beliau terhadap TLDM menunjukkan betapa ceteknya minda beliau.
Kurangkan berpolitik, dan kurangkan bermain game-game perang di komputer peribadi ataupun telefon pintar. Realiti adalah amat berbeza dari hiburan yang disajikan di alam maya tersebut.
The word means hem or a fold on a piece of cloth or paper. A Malay synonym would be ‘lipatan.’ To Lipat or to Kelepet would colloquially mean ‘to pillage.’
Malaysia Airlines has always been a favourite airline of mine. The national flag carrier is THE symbol of Malaysia’s global reach. However, the airline which roots can be traced back to 71 years ago has been suffering badly from an especially bad episode of mismanagement dating back from 1994.
Disguised under the New Economic Policy that was supposed to assist the Bumiputeras to be economically stronger, U-Turn Mahathir and financial henchman Daim Zainuddin selected several cronies to helm public-listed companies. They include Amin Shah Omar Shah (who screwed up the Kedah-class NGPV programme) and Tajuddin Ramli (TR) who stripped Malaysia Airlines of its edge and finances.
Malaysia Airlines was okay for about two years before crashing in 1997 with a net loss of RM259.85 million (RM426.15 million in today’s terms) from a net profit the year before of RM333.01 million (RM546.14 million in today’s terms).
Like the collosal losses of real money the nation had to absorb through the BMF as well as the BNM Forex scandals, U-Turn Mahathir and Daim saw it fit for Malaysia Airlines, or rather their crony Tajuddin Ramli, be bailed-out using, again, the rakyat’s money.
The Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) police report on January 9 and the police investigations into alleged million-ringgit management irregularities at the MAS cargo division during the tenure of former MAS executive chairman and key shareholder Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli is a most welcome departure from the invariable past practice of government and corporate cover-ups, especially in government-owned or controlled companies, making Malaysia notorious as a country teeming with “heinous crimes without criminals” – starting with the infamous Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal in the eighties.
It has been reported that the alleged management irregularities centred on business arrangements between MAS and a Germany-based cargo handler controlled by Tajudin Ramli and focussed on contracts between MAS and ACL Advanced Cargo Logistic GmbH, a 60%-owned unit of Naluri Bhd., a listed Malaysian company in which Tajudin is the largest shareholder. ACL operates a cargo facility in Hahn, Germany, that MAS in 1999 contracted to use as its global cargo hub.
The management irregularities being investigated by the police can only be the tip of an iceberg as MAS has chalked up colossal debts of RM9.2 billion and accumulated losses of R2.5 billion, requiring repeated billion-ringgit bailouts at the public taxpayers’ expense – and the Malaysian public are entitled to demand a full accountability as to how the national airline could end up as such a sick company, a national embarrassment and a burden on public coffers.
It was reported that the management irregularities in the cargo division were discovered in an audit ordered by the government after taking control of MAS early last year following the scandalous RM1.79 billion buyback bailout of Tajudin’s 29.09 per cent stake at RM8 a share when the market price was only RM3.68.
This raises the question as to why an audit was not conducted before the government’s buyback bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake – which would have a very important bearing on the proper price of the government buyout.
I am sure Uncle Ah Siang has not forgotten this episode too when he became pally with U-Turn Mahathir recently. Surely the interest of the rakyat is paramount to the God of DAP.
Or is it still?
On March 21 last year, the then Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, gave a long and most unsatisfactory reply in Parliament during question time to justify the buy-back bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake which took place under his watch, but he failed to address or answer the two most important questions, viz:
Why no independent professional valuation was ever done when the government agreed to pay Tajudin’s Naluri Bhd for the MAS stake at RM8 per share representing a premium of RM4.32 or 117 per cent over the closing market price at RM3.68 per share when the deal was signed on 20th December 2000; and
Why rules for the bail-out of companies established by the National Economic Action Council in the “National Economic Recovery Plan” was violated and Tajudin was not only spared from having to “take his appropriate hair-cuts” but was given a bonanza at taxpayers’ expense to reward for his mismanagement of MAS by being given 117% premium for the MAS shares over the market price, transforming it into a personal rescue for Tajudin instead of a public rescue for MAS.
The current police investigations into management irregularities in MASkargo Sdn. Bhd. have again brought to the fore the questions concerning prudence, propriety, responsibility, integrity, accountability and transparency of the decision to use RM1.79 billion public funds for the buy-back bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake.
Last month, the government announced a RM6.1 billion MAS restructuring exercise involving assets sale to enable the national carrier to retire some of its debts and provide RM820 million as working capital, which is just a creative way for a second round of government bailout for the national airline.
Malaysia Airlines, Perwaja, Renong as well as other companies steered towards oblivion by their cronies had to be bailed out using the rakyat’s coffers, and not one person has ever been charged in a court of law for the breach of trust they committed. This included Amin Shah Omar Shah who, prior to being given the contract to build our Navy’s vessels, had never built a single fishing boat!
Kit Siang the self-proclaimed rakyat’s champion as recent as 2012 stated in the DAP’s mouthpiece Roketkinithat Mahathir cannot pretend to be ignorant of the MAS scandal.
But Mahathir should similarly give full co-operation to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Nepotism, particularly as to whether there is any nepotism in the government, through Petronas, using hundreds of millions of ringgit of public funds to bail out Mirzan Mahathir’s Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd.
Just recently, a copy of a directive from the Ministry of Finance to Telekom Malaysia regarding a direct negotiation contract award totalling RM214.2 million to Mukhriz Mahathir’s OPCOM made its rounds on the Internet:
A blog post by a Sup Torpedo wrote about this back in 2006:
Mahathir’s criticism of Scomi is justified. It has proved that Scomi does not garner very much government work and now that’s all open to scrutiny. Unlike a company called Opcom Sdn. Bhd. who had a direct nego approved by the Finance Ministry way back in 2003 when Mahathir was both Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The amount of the tender by Telekom Malaysia Berhad was two hundred and fourteen MILLION ringgit. The Ministry of Finance approved it, no doubt with the blessing of the then Finance Minister and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Hey! What’s new? If you look at the above letter, it was dated on the 7th October 2003. The old fart stepped down as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on the 31st October 2003.
It was an eleventh-hour effort to enrich his kin – a true nepotistic egoist dictator who was afraid that money made during his 22-year dictatorship would not be enough to cover his grave.
Even in 2006, during the peak of the old fart’s attacks on his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, observers such as Sup Torpedo could see that it was little about putting the interest of the rakyat ahead as compared to securing money for the Thousand-year Reich of his:
Don’t miss the wood for the trees. This fight that Mahathir got going on with Pak Lah is not about doing the right thing. It is at best about putting his old crony’s rice bowl firmly where the padi fields grow. At the very worst of motives might be the will to further advance Mukhriz’s political career and provide continuity to the old ways.
Again, what is new now? Virtually nothing, except for one little glaring fact: WHY IS UNCLE KIT SIANG SELLING HIS SOUL AND PUTTING HIS PERSONAL POLITICAL INTERESTS AHEAD OF THE RAKYAT’S BY MAKING A U-TURN ON HIS ATTACKS ON MAHATHIR?
A simple answer would be that he is nothing but the stinking, arrogant cow-dung for brain hypocrite he has always been. Power is what he seeks for power ensures riches, just like his charged-for-corruption son.
And what of the rakyat then?
As the saying goes: “The meek shall inherit shit.”
The dust has yet to settle. Pro-US tweethandles have been lambasting Malaysia for its ‘shift’ in trade approach – a whopping RM143.64 billion (USD34.4 billion) worth of MoUs have been signed between the two countries that includes what Prime Minister Najib Razak termed as ‘a landmark deal’ – the purchase of four vessels from China to fulfill the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)’s ‘Littoral Mission Ship (LMS)’ programme. It is a ‘landmark’ deal because it is a departure from the usual military purchases from Western manufacturers.
However, shift it is not. Between January and August of 2016 Malaysian exports totalled RM500.33 billion (USD119.72 billion) with China being the second largest buyer of Malaysian products at RM58.93 billion (USD14.10 billion) surpassing the US by RM6.51 billion (USD 1.56 billion). In the same corresponding period for 2015, China imported RM18.52 billion (USD4.43 billion) more than the US. Malaysia has been trading with China since 1974.
Given the requirements of the RMN, the platform that would be most suitable for the LMS programme is the Type 056 Corvette. The RMN had embarked on several programmes such as the Kedah-class NGPV and the Samudera-class Training vessels with local yards being the preference. In both programmes, the local yards had failed to manage the projects efficiently and effectively causing delays the RMN could not afford. Extra funds had to be pumped in in order to complete the projects.
The ‘KD Perak’, first of the Kedah-class NGPVs to be constructed locally was laid down in March of 2002 and was launched on the 12th November 2007, more than five years compared to less than 18 months for the first two that were constructed at Blohm & Voss as well as the HDW yards. She was only commissioned on the 3rd June 2009, seven years and three months after being laid down! In the end, due to the rising cost to complete the vessels that had been laid down, only six of the Kedah-class was built out of the 27 planned. This had left the RMN barely able to patrol Malaysian waters as almost all the 40-year old patrol crafts had been taken out of service.
The Samudera-class programme in 2011 called for two training ships namely the Gagah Samudera and the Teguh Samudera to be constructed at a local yard in Sijangkang, Selangor. Due to a mismanagement of the programme the yard was unable to complete both vessels although both had been launched in 2012 and had to fold up when a creditor took them to court in 2013. In late 2015, funds were made available only for the Gagah Samudera and a yard in Lumut was selected to complete her fitting out. As of October 2016, she is still undergoing her testing phase. The fate of the Teguh Samudera is still not known.
The Chinese option gives the RMN the edge of procuring proven modern vessels that are common-of-the-shelf (COTS) for a lot less. This augurs well with the RMN as her assets are being stretched thin, with combat boats such as the CB90 doing crew change and supply runs to the various RMN stations located in the Spratlys. Two years ago last month one CB90 went missing for more than a day in rough seas. With the LMS coming online, these tasks could be handed over to these more capable vessels.
Despite being known as a strong ally of the US, the Royal Thai Navy has been using Chinese-made vessels since the mid 1990s when the first two frigates, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin were commissioned in 1995. Newer and more modern vessels such as the HTMS Pattani and HTMS Narathiwat were commissioned between 2005 and 2007.
Bring COTS model the Type 056 corvette can be obtained quickly as compared to its American contemporary, the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LSC). The Type 056 corvette began production in 2012. To date People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN-N) have commissioned its 25th vessel compared to three of the Freedom-class vessels which began production in 2005. With automation being the key feature of the Type 056, a single unit requires only up to 60 officers and men to operate with a mission endurance of about 21 days compared to the Freedom-class that requires 115 men with the same endurance. This will definitely reduce RMN’s cost of operating each LMS.
The purchase of the China-made vessels also fits into the RMN’s ’15-to-5′ armada transformation programme which aims at reducing the current fifteen classes of vessels built in seven countries to just five – the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS); New Generation Patrol Vessels (NGPV); Littoral Mission Ships (LMS); Multi-Support Ships (MRSS) and submarines.
The move offers the RMN a broader spectrum to choose from for platforms that are fit for purpose based on mission capabilities and the RMN doctrine. This would make the armada more cost-effective to manage and maintain. We have the leadership of the RMN to thank for finally taking the step to transform the organisation into a lean and mean fighting force.