Perak Pakatan chairman urges PAC to investigate alleged MMEA vessel procurement scandal
Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa speaks to reporters during a press conference at H Bistro in Jelapang Square September 2, 2022. — Picture By Farhan Najib
By John Bunyan
Friday, 02 Sep 2022 2:57 PM MYT
IPOH, September 2 — Perak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Muhajid Yusof Rawa today urged the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to investigate the scandal behind the procurement of three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), which has yet to be completed.
Muhajid said the three OPVs which was ordered and sanctioned back in late 2017 under the 11th Malaysia’s Plan at a cost of RM738.9 million should have been completed and delivered in three phases in 2020.
“The vessel-making contract was awarded to Tabung Haji Heavy Engineering (THHE) and this was where the problem started. THHE is responsible for the supply, delivery, test and commissioning of the OPVs.
“THHE has gotten three years to delivery the vessels, but until today the vessels have not been completed and delivered,” he told a press conference at the H Bistro in Jelapang Square here.
Mujahid questioned the government for awarding the contract via direct negotiations to THHE, which has no expertise in building such vessels.
“At that time, the Tabung Haji chairman was Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim. He got the contract via direct negotiation from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as MMEA was under the Prime Minister’s Department before it was moved to the Home Ministry when PH took over in 2018.
“One of the requirements in the contract is that the THHE need to joint venture (JV) with another company to build the vessels. The government knew that THHE has no expertise in building ships and yet they awarded the contract to them,” he said.
He also pointed out that THHE entered into a JV with a company named Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn Bhd, where 51 per cent of the stake was held by Destiny with the balance held by THHE.
“The contract doesn’t make sense as the main contractor, in this case THHE, holds a smaller stake while the other company has the lion’s share.
“And it doesn’t end there. The Destiny company is linked to Barisan Nasional (BN). The company was awarded many government contracts, which we will reveal soon,” said Muhajid, adding that he will also reveal who owns Destiny Sdn Bhd in the near future.
He also pointed out that Destiny abandoned the OPV project in 2021 and THHE has bought back the 51 per cent share.
“Destiny Sdn Bhd is expected to be delisted by Bursa Malaysia on September 5, as it has been under PN17 since 2017. The company is in debt and was ordered to restructure its financial system.
“Also, RM500 million out of the RM738.9 million for the purpose of building the vessels has been spent. However, until today, not one vessel has been completed and the JV company is going to be delisted. What will happen to our OPVs?” he asked.
Muhajid said that the OPVs were needed as the vessels and boats borrowed by MMEA for patrolling exclusive areas and country’s borders from the Marine Police and Royal Malaysian Navy are sick.
“There are about 30 boats and vessels, but all of them are not in good condition. They can only last for four days in the waters and need to be returned to base for refuelling and maintenance.
“So in the 11th Malaysia Plan, they decided to obtain new generation vessels. This new generation vessel, which are the OPVs, are more efficient as they could last 21 days in the waters. This will help the authorities to patrol the borders more efficiently,” he said.
Muhajid also said that the country’s borders have been encroached by foreign fishermen which has led to the loss of millions of ringgit.
“Therefore the need for the OPVs is not just a basic usage. It is to save our water source and also to avoid intrusion,” he added.
In February, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin criticised a local firm for its failure to deliver three OPVs to the MMEA in 2020 as promised.
Hamzah said the ministry will push them to ensure that at least one vessel is delivered by this year and the remaining two by 2023.