Malaysia's Defence Ministry seeks anti-graft probe over non-delivery of six helicopters

The McDonnell Douglas MD530G lightweight combat helicopters were to be handed to Malaysia in two phases - two in July 2017, and the other four in December 2018, Bernama said, quoting a ministry source.
The McDonnell Douglas MD530G lightweight combat helicopters were to be handed to Malaysia in two phases - two in July 2017, and the other four in December 2018, Bernama said, quoting a ministry source.PHOTO: MD HELICOPTERS, INC/TWITTER

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia's Defence Ministry has lodged a complaint with the country's anti-graft agency to investigate the non-delivery of six helicopters that were ordered in 2015 worth RM300 million (S$98.4 million).

Bernama news agency reported that a Mindef representative filed the complaint at the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Thursday (June 13).

The McDonnell Douglas MD530G lightweight combat helicopters were to be handed to Malaysia in two phases - two in July 2017, and the other four in December 2018, Bernama said, quoting a ministry source.

According to the source, approval for the November 2015 purchase of the helicopters was not done according to set procedures, with the government's interest not properly protected.

The source told Bernama that the Malaysian government had paid up RM112.65 million for the acquisition, or 35 per cent of the total cost.

The helicopter scandal is just one of several old Mindef contracts that the year-old Pakatan Harapan government has unearthed at the ministry.

The government is also looking at 16 land swap contracts that went back several decades, where Mindef land in good locations near big cities was handed to private companies, in exchange for the construction of military camps in remote areas.

A Mindef official said last month that the 16 projects involved 1,182ha of Mindef land owned by the government and valued at RM4.7 billion.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said last month that 13 of the 16 land swaps were carried out when the defence ministers were Barisan Nasional politicians Hishammuddin Hussein and former premier Najib Razak.

Mr Mohamad also said investigations found the government lost more than RM500 million due to these land swap projects, with some land sold at low prices, and some projects awarded to developers who were not qualified to build military facilities.