PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim today said that former information minister Zainuddin Maidin should know well enough which ministry is involved in procurement of Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) aircraft and should direct allegations of misappropriations to the defence minister at the time.
Referring to Zainuddin’s blog posting alluding to Anwar’s alleged involvement in abuse in procurement during the latter’s time as finance minister, Anwar said that the Finance Ministry has limited involvement in such dealings.
“To decide on this, it is Mindef. The Finance Ministry is only required to come to enter when negotiating on pricing. The Finance Ministry is called in to determine if the price is fair,” he said.
Zainuddin (right) had in a posting dated Dec 25 said that Anwar must respond to “word from inside the TUDM that when he was deputy prime minister he used his influence in order to make TUDM purchase the CN235 (aircraft) from Indonesia”.
Zainuddin, who was also Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief, claimed that the aircraft were purchased to “strengthen ties” between Malaysia and the republic “which at the time was led by President BJ Habibie”.
Citing unnamed sources, he claimed that only six of the eight aircraft purchased were delivered.
Anwar: Zam’s not too bright
According to TUDM’s website, the first batch of the CN235 was delivered in 1999. However, Indonesian military analysis portal AnalisisMiliter.com says they were ordered in 1995.
The defence portfolio was held by now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak from 1990 to 1995, while now Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) chairperson Syed Hamid Albar held the post from 1995 to 1999. Najib returned to the Defence Ministry from 1999 to 2008.
Habibie served as president of Indonesia from 1998 to 1999, while Anwar was sacked from the cabinet in September 1998.
Scathingly, Anwar said such comments made by Zainuddin displayed the “semi-literate nature of this personality”.
Zainuddin courted controversy when he labelled Anwar and Habibie “dogs of imperialism” in an article published by Utusan Malaysia on Dec 10.
The article was designed to mock Anwar for inviting former Indonesia president BJ Habibie to speak at Universiti Selangor on Dec 6.
Following this, Zainuddin has been writing several pieces on his blog attacking both Habibie and Anwar, even after Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had complained about the row.
Anwar said he is mulling over legal action against Zainuddin and Utusan Malaysia over the Dec 10 article.