No secrets leaked, says Mindef
KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Putrajaya has insisted no information was leaked on the evaluation of the RM7 billion Scorpene submarines bought in 2002 despite court documents claiming the contrary in an ongoing French inquiry.
The defence ministry (Mindef) said in reply to an adjournment speech by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar that it did not have any information on allegations that secret documents were sold by a company linked to political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda to a French defence firm.
“To the best knowledge of the ministry, up to now there is no information detected to have been taken out of Malaysia.
“The defence ministry has no information on the allegations of so-called secret documents sold by Terasasi (Hong Kong) to Thint Asia (Thales International) said to be worth €36 million (RM142 million),” Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament early this morning.
He also denied any knowledge of dealings between the two companies, the latter of which having formed a joint-venture with French defence giant DCNS to build the two vessels, as the government had no dealings with either company in the purchase.
“The statement by the Lembah Pantai MP that the two Scorpene submarines were purchased from Thales International are untrue,” the Bagan Datok MP said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was defence minister at the time the deal was sealed, has for years denied allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase.
There has been no evidence linking him directly to the alleged corruption in the deal and his supporters say the opposition is behind efforts to revive the issue just ahead of an election that must be called within a year.
French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting for activist group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) in the ongoing inquiry in Paris, said last month the data allegedly sold was purportedly for “commercial engineering” works
Abdul Razak, a former think-tank head who was at the centre of a 2006 investigation into the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, is listed as a director of Terasasi with his father, Abdul Malim Baginda.
The company was previously incorporated on June 28, 2002 as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
Suaram filed a complaint against DCNS in a special French investigative court at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance in April.
The opposition has described the alleged leak of defence secrets as an act of treason, demanding an investigation by the government.
But Zahid discounted any such move by the Najib administration, saying the procurement was done according to existing guidelines and it would not seek access to documents from the inquiry.
“The Malaysian government understands there is no hearing in France regarding the Scorpene submarines. Therefore, there is no question of the government asking to be observers,” he said.
He refused to elaborate when approached by The Malaysian Insider later, saying “that’s the official statement.”
Nurul Izzah, who is PKR vice president, later told reporters that the minister was “technically correct” as the case had yet to enter a full hearing and was currently still a judicial investigation.
Malaysia paid RM6.7 billion in 2009 for the two submarines of which RM574 million was earmarked for co-ordination and support services for Perimekar Sdn Bhd, owned by Abdul Razak.
Abdul Razak is being sought as a witness in the French case.