|Harakahdaily,||11 September 2012|
Sep 11: The Sultan of Johor’s claim that he had bought a Rapid Intervention Vehicles (RIV) some half-a-million ringgit cheaper than the price paid by the Defence ministry has brought back concerns over lack of transparency in military spending.
However, Defense minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was far from denying the claim when he said the Sultan’s criticism was being taken positively.
Last Saturday, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail who awarded the RIV to the Special Forces Regiment of which he is its Colonel Commandant expressed his disappointment that military equipment was lacking in quality yet purchased at exorbitant prices.
“Do not supply low quality equipment which are priced multiple times higher,” the ruler reportedly said.
Zahid said his ministry would probe into the difference in prices of the RIV bought by the Sultan at RM150,000 and the one sold by the supplier at RM690,000.
“I will scrutinise to see if there are differences in specifications,” he added.
Unusually high prices paid for military equipment had led Pakatan Rakyat to call for the setting up of a Parliament Oversight Committee to review and monitor defence expenditure.
Last year, PR questioned the purchase of six littoral combatant ships (LCS) after the cost ballooned from by 50 percent from RM6 billion to RM9 billion. The Defence ministry was also told to explain the acquisition of 257 armoured personnel vehicles (APVs) costing RM7.55 billion last year.