Patriot wants answers to Ministry of Defence’s land swap case

Patriots

Patriot welcomes the the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee’s decision to conduct a probe into the Ministry of Defence’s land swap deals, the Automated Enforcement System (AES) and 1BestariNet.

These are events tainted with alleged corruption in high office during the Barisan National’s administration – and investigated during Pakatan Harapan without closure – which are among several other mega-national scandals that brought equally mega-repugnance among the masses.

Patriot had brought up the issue of the Ministry of Defence land swap since April 2018, asking whether it was through privatisation or piratisation, and since then followed up with four other statements on the issue in 2019. This came about after Rafidah Aziz’s open letter on April 8 2018.

We had then asked:

  • What had transpired during the 10 years since then-Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak made the proposal in 2008 to privatise the Ministy of Defence/Armed Forces land?
  • Was the more than 40,000ha of land privatised?
  • If so, to which company and who were the owners of the company?

During Pakatan Harapan’s administration the special investigative committee on procurement, governance and finance headed by former Auditor General Ambrin Buang revealed losses exceeding RM500m over 16 land swap projects involving 1,286ha.

Nothing was told about the remaining two-third of the armed forces land. Why has Putrajaya not made public the investigation by Ambrin Buang’s committee? What is there to hide?

Acknowledging and owning up to previous wrongs is not a weakness, rather, it shows strength and genuine intention of trying to solve problems. In fact, it is the first step to a clean start. Of course, the culprits of past corruptible practices, no matter how high their office, must be brought to face the law.

Until today, the probe into the two Scorpene submarines case has not come to closure.

We were never told why the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) was coerced into spending RM555m in the AES project. There is also the case of the RM1bn littoral combat ships project unaccounted for. Investigations had proceeded for a few years now. What happened?

Patriot would like to remind all political leaders that they hold office in trust for the people. They must not betray that trust to commit any crime of corruption, whether the ill-gotten gains are for themselves, their cronies or their parties. They must not be accomplices to any corruptible act. It is also their duty to report any such act committed by others. Keeping silent about such an act would be as bad as those who have committed it.

Patriot and the public eagerly await the outcome of the PAC’s investigation.

Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot)

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