Saturday, September 12, 2015

Of Malaysia's Once, Twice, Three times French obsession...

American Hotdogs, British Pie, Italian spaghetti, Chinese Peking Duck... Move aside. Here comes French toast...

All this while, when growing up, we are fed with American heroes like John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Tom Cruise. Everthing American is the best in the world. British? They are too slow, too gentlemen to be heroes, unless they moved over to USA like Sean Connery and the likes. Chinese? Too small for comfort with "cheapo" copycat products. Russian are seen to be too stiff with minimal comedic instinct with products likely to fail at the most crucial times.

Of late, in the past decade, Malaysia is turning to France to fortify its defense. It is a question when Malaysia opts to purchase submarines to bolster its naval arsenal. It's choice? Scorpene-class submarines developed by a French company and partner. Malaysia never has a submarine before. Obviously there will be problems highlighting that something is amiss during the negotiation. A submarine is supposed to be capable of moving underwater. The price? RM 3.4B for 2 submarines.

However, there were controversies surrounding the purchase i.e. :-

1. Brokering fee for the purchase is RM 540M. That was claimed by the opposition and if that is true, the brokering fee is 15 % of the submarine package;
2. Razak Baginda claimed that he did not use one Altantunya as interpreter when the Government signed the submarine in 2002. He said he knew Altantunya in 2004. That was what Razak Baginda claimed and picked up by Al Jazeera in East 101 documentary;
3. Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa aka Aminaa was murdered in 2004. 2 members of Malaysia's elite security detail were prosecuted and found guilty;

Next stop - Mistral helicopter carrier. Capable of transporting and deploying up to 16 helicopters, landing barges, tanks and soldiers, comes equipped with 69-bed hospital. Apparently, the French have 2 excess Mistral carriers which was formerly ordered by Russia.

Do we really need this specific Mistral carrier when ...

1. It is built for Northern hemisphere specifications including weathering the winter season;
2. Cost aside, the maintenance cost for 1 carrier is expected to be in the region of RM 4B;
3. If Britain who is a close ally of USA can make do without a carrier in their fleet, what makes Malaysia a step above them in acquiring the carrier?;

Perimekar may not be the preferred "service provider as there will others getting itchy to take over Razak Baginda's role.

If Mistral carrier is not enough, Malaysia is also looking at purchasing French (again) Rafale fighter jets. Is it time to buy these expensive toys when our ringgit is depreciating faster than other currencies in the region?

Further, consider these :-

1. If Scorpene cost us billions and "tainted" 1MPM6 Najib with implied scandal related to Razak Baginda and Altantunya, what will Mistral and Rafale holds?;
2. If Scorpene deal was sealed when 1MPM6 was the Defense Minister, why must these purchase made during Hishamuddein's (who happens to be 1MPM6's cousin}? Transperancy is an issue here;
3. Why was the decision not made when Ahmad Zahid was the Defense Minister? Is there any hidden agenda when Ahmad Zahid switched ministries with Hishamuddein? Is this 1MPM6's planning?;
4. If it is transparent and really necessary, is Transperancy and Integrity imported Minister, Paul Low, involved in ascertaining and verifying that everything is done above board?;
5. What advantage does the Mistral carrier offers when it is meant for Northern hemisphere specifications? Are we sending the Mistral for UN duties in the Black sea areas?;
6. Do we have enough local experts to do maintenance for the carrier? Or are we resorting to place our trust to the imported labour from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal to service and maintain the carrier?;
7. Are we going to use the carrier to fight the kidnappers around Sipadan islands?;
8. Has our security improved to the level the Government can vouch that no more fighter jet engines and its accessories will be missing when Rafale landed in Malaysia?;
9. If Altantunya was the translator (at a late stage?) for the Scorpene deal, who is the translator (s) in these carrier/Rafale deals? Another Mongolian? Khazakhstan?
10. Will the service provider be Jho Low or his connections?
11. Is the recent "accusations" against 1MPM6 a staged and elaborate plans to hoodwink the rakyat into deviating our focus away from the real "coming soon" mother of all Malaysian scandals?;
12. Is the Mistral/Rafale deal the handshake parting gift to Najib?;
13. Worse still - are the French/British and the rest holding "something" to sway Malaysia's decision to procure our defense arsenal. Is there any connections between the series of recent "bombarstic" exposures with the procurement? Hmmm...

We really don't need Mistral carrier and Rafales to blast Godzilla. Godzilla is just a fragment of imagination fit for movies. And the French intel are good at chewing gums to fool the Americans. Us? One look and they know that we are not Americans and we are closer to Chicanos than GI Joes. Let's be real. Buy when we really need to upgrade or restock Malaysia's defense and not because of commissions for those close to power.

If only Philippe Roache is around to advise...

Please take some time to reflect the tragedy where a construction crane fell resulting in 100 deaths in the holy city of Mekah. May God has mercy on them...

Me? All I have are Tin Soldiers...

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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