Posted: 04 Jan 2012 07:44 AM PST
Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi must stop the scurrilous allegations that I am a "tool" for a foreign country in repeated attempts to deflect his Ministry's lack of transparency and accountability
Chinese newspapers carried the story that Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi has accused me of being a "tool to a former professor who has become a professor in a foreign country" on 2nd January 2012. He has added that "the foreign country is the puppet-master of a particular party in Malaysia". He has even claimed that he has documentary proof to validate what he has said.
I have obtained the full transcript of the comments made by the Defence Minister on 1st January, and the relevant accusation is as follows:
"Saya fikir Tony Pua ni adalah seorang yang menjadi alat saja seorang bekas professor yang telah menjadi professor di university di luar negara, dan negara itu memang menjadi dalang kepada sebuah parti di negara ini. Saya fikir asal politik di Malaysia biar dibentuk oleh ahli-ahli politik Malaysia. Jangan pernah menjadi dalang daripada mana-mana negara . Saya tidak menuduh tapi saya ada dokumen-dokumen dan bukti-bukti untuk mengesahkan apa yang saya katakana ini."The is the second time the Defence Minister had implied that I am a foreign agent. In March 2011, Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi was reported in Utusan Malaysia to have said:
"Dia [Tony Pua] dulu ditangkap di Singapura, dibawa ke mahkamah, tetapi sebab hubungan dia mungkin baik dengan pejabat tertentu di sana, beliau dilepaskan (dan) tidak dapat jadi ahli Parlimen (di sana)"As I've responded last year, I've never even been fined for jay-walking in Singapore, what more being arrested and charged in the court of law in the island city.
All these scurrilous accusations arose as a result of the continued pressure placed on the Defence Ministry to be transparent with its military equipment purchases, especially in the light of a poor assessment by Transparency International (TI). The TI scored Malaysia at only 4.5 points out of a maximum of 12, or only 37.5%, well below the failure mark. This was the score given in the inaugural "Transparency of Defence Budgets Report" launched on 19 November 2011.
Director of the International Defence and Security Program for TI in United Kingdom, Mark Pyman, who launched the report in Subang Jaya said "Malaysia ranked far below other countries (for this), where the budget lacked details and no audits were undertaken of the secret programmes."
Malaysia is ranked alongside Afghanistan, Rwanda, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the report, well below other countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The results of the research indicate that approximately 14 per cent of the countries under review in this study scored high and these are primarily developed countries with strong democratic systems in place.
Treason as accused by the Defence Minister is a crime of the highest order in Malaysia and is punishable by death. The accusation by Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi is as serious as it is outrageous, and such contemptuous behaviour is completely unbecoming of a Minister.
Given the severity of the allegations that I am compromising the nation's security, I challenge Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi to come up with the so-called "documentary proof" that I am a "tool" of a professor in a foreign university and charge me accordingly. However, if the Minister fails to furnish the proof, then he should immediately withdraw the remarks and make a public apology for making such unfounded statements.
It appears that Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi does not realise that he is being fed with fictitious stories from his chief intelligence officer, Papagomo – who had recently enjoyed the unrivalled privilege of sailing in the country's first submarine. Papagomo is also the source of the scurrilous allegations against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's son recently who was wrong victimised as having sexually assaulted a female student in his school.
It is extremely worrying that the country's Defence Minister is relying the country's intelligence from a blogger who is an obsessive liar without any morals and ethics. In fact all Malaysians should be terribly concerned that our Defence Minister who wields great powers, can be so gullibly compromised by a writer of unbelievable and outlandish fiction.
Posted: 03 Jan 2012 07:45 AM PST
Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi displays the worst traits of a minister who is arrogant, ignorant and shockingly forgetful.
I read with great surprise that Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi has once again reiterated his "invite" to me to meet him with regards to the cost increase over the acquisition of 6 naval patrol vessels from RM6 billion to RM9 billion. I feel extremely honoured because this is the third invite in 4 days!
His first invite made via the press was on 29th December, followed by another on 31st, and another yesterday, on the 1st January of the new year – all of which were published in Bernama. He need not have made so many invites, he had me at "hello". I had immediately after reading his first invite, publicly responded that Pakatan Rakyat MPs, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Dr Dzulkefli Ahmad and myself are more than happy to take up his offer of clarifications on 30th December.
Unfortunately, despite his eagerness to meet me, our Defence Minister appears to be very poorly informed and does not read the news. So, I repeat again here, that we accept the invite from the Minister to offer clarifications and look forward to his honourable office to make the necessary arrangements for our visit.
What was however more shocking was his claim that I've never dared to face him over the controversial acquisitions even in parliament, and insinuated that I was a coward for raising the issue only during political ceramahs.
He said "when I answered his question in Parliament, [Tony Pua] was not present to hear my reply, but continued to harp on the matter in political ceramah. He is brave only before the opposition crowd but chicken out when asked for a face-to-face meeting."
The above is utter and complete nonsense as I was present in Parliament and even debated heatedly and extensively with him when he was replying in Parliament on these issues twice in March 2011!
When he was responding to the question from Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng on the 8th March 2011, I was there and chastised the Minister for un-ministerial behaviour for asking my colleague to "go back to kindergarten". (Hansard pg 5 – 9 http://www.parlimen.gov.my/files/hindex/pdf/DR-08032011.pdf)
In a more extensive subsequent debate on 21 March, when the Minister was directly reply to my questions raised in parliament, he had even threatened to sue me for defamation. I had stood my ground and debated extensively with the Minister over the procurement of 6 naval patrol vessels and 257 armoured personnel vehicles. (Hansard pg 34 - 54 http://www.parlimen.gov.my/
Hence Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi's allegations that I was not present in Parliament exposed just how forgetful and absent-minded he is. Even worse, it shows that our Defence Minister does not check his facts before making statements.
Given his absent-mindedness, I would further like to remind the Minister that he had twice in Parliament in March last year confirmed that the price for the 6 patrol vessels have not been finalised and a budget ceiling of RM6 billion has been set.
On 8th March 2011 in Parliament, Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi had said "pada masa ini pihak kerajaan masih belum memuktamadkan harga. Sejumlah RM6 bilion telah diperuntukkan sebagai siling dalam
Rancangan Malaysia Kesepuluh dan sebahagian akan melimpah ke Rancangan Malaysia Kesebelas dan mungkin hingga ke Rancangan Malaysia Kedua Belas." (pg 6). He repeated the same on 21 March 2011 in Parliament (pg 52).
However, the Defence Minister now has the cheek to say in his latest statement to Bernama that "the cost of procuring assets for the national defence inventory will not exceed the ceiling set by the government", when it has increased by 50% from RM6 billion to RM9 billion in less than a year!
All of the above points to the fact that we have a clueless defence minister who is arrogant, forgetful, ill-informed and ignorant. The manner in which budgets are so easily exceeded will only increasing the likelihood of realising Dato Idris Jala's greatest fear, that Malaysia may be bankrupt by 2019.
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