PR’s meeting with Zahid ends on positive note


Thursday, 19 January 2012 23:02
Jan 19: Pakatan Rakyat represented by three members of parliament from PAS, DAP and PKR today concluded their meeting with Defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with a suggestion that a parliamentary oversight committee be formed to provide check and balance to the country’s defence expenditure.Dzulkefly, Tony Pua and Saifuddin speak to reporters after the meeting

PAS’s Dzulkefly Ahmad said Zahid and other officials from his ministry who participated in the meeting seemed receptive to the proposal.

“This is a good development. The people will benefit when opposition leaders who are also parliament members could play their role to ensure there is check and balance in government expenditure, specifically in the purchase of military equipment,” said Dzulkefly, the Kuala Selangor MP. He was joined by DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution.

The meeting with Zahid was held at the Ministry of Defence this afternoon, and was also attended by its chief secretary Ismail Ahmad, army generals as well as Barisan Nasional MPs.

Dzulkefly said a major issue discussed at the meeting was the cost of six patrol vessels for the navy, which shot up from RM6 billion to RM9 billion.

Ismail had then provided an explanation, saying the actual cost was RM9 billion, but only RM6 billion was allocated in the Tenth Malaysia Plan for the purpose. The remaining RM3 billion, he said, has been added into the Eleventh Malaysia Plan.

Saifuddin said Pakatan Rakyat would study the explanation before giving its response.

Pua meanwhile said the country stood to gain from the ministry’s readiness to meet the opposition, and hoped the gesture could be emulated by other ministries.

Pua had last month mooted a parliamentary oversight committee after speaking out against the country’s spiralling defence costs.

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