‘Zahid, rakyat akan biaya anda ke Paris’
12:58PM Apr 25, 2012 Malaysiakini.com
Menteri Pertahanan Datuk Zahid Hamidi tidak patut menjadikan alasan pembiayaan untuk mengelakkan diri daripada menghadiri inkuiri berhubung pembelian kapal selam Scorpene di Paris, kata NGO hak asasi manusia Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).
Anggota sekretariatnya Cynthia Gabriel berkata, Zahid sepatutnya mengutamakan soal akauntabiliti dan ketelusan kerana perbelanjaan ketenteraan datang daripada wang pembayar cukai rakyat Malaysia.
“Tambahan pula, beliau memungkiri kata-katanya sendiri. Sebelum ini, beliau berkata sanggup memberi keterangan, kemudian beliau tukar fikiran. Kami mahu tahu apa yang telah berlaku yang menyebabkannya bertukar nada.”
Gabriel berkata, paling banyak, peruntukan yang diperlukan sebanyak RM10,000 semalam, meliputi tiket pergi balik bukan Malaysia Airlines (RM5,500), tempat tinggal (RM600 semalam) dan makan di restoran (RM200).
Zahid sebelum ini dilaporkan tidak akan hadir atau menghantar wakil ke perbicaraan di mahkamah Perancis berhubung kes bayaran komisen tidak sah kepada pegawai tertinggi Malaysia dalam penjualan kapal selam pada 2002.
Katanya, tiada sebab untuk beliau hadir kerana bukan menjadi saksi dan beliau tidak akan menggunakan wang kerajaan atau duit poket sendiri bagi membiayai kehadiran ke sana, lapor Sin Chew.
10:31AM Apr 25, 2012 Malaysiakini.com
The defence minister should not cite expenses to dodge testifying at the Scorpene submarine inquiry in Paris, says human rights watchdog Suaram, which filed the case in 2010
Secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel (right) said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s priority should be accountability and transparency, as Malaysian taxpayers are deprived of this when it comes to military spending.
“Commitment to the truth should be the minister’s first and foremost reason to testify in this case, not money,” Gabriel told Malaysiakini.
“Besides, he has reneged on his words. Earlier, he said he was willing to testify, but he has changed his mind now. We would like to know what happened to make him sing a different tune.”
The travel expenses would at most be about RM10,000 per night, she said, made up of:
- RM5,500 for the return flight, but not on Malaysia Airlines;
- RM600 per night for accommodation; and
- RM200 for food in a restaurant
Asked if Suaram would pay the expenses, Gabriel said “we are encouraged to learn that Malaysians are willing to raise funds for this case”.
French submarine builder DCNS is alleged to have paid illegal commissions to Malaysian officials in the RM7.3 billion purchase of two Scorpene class submarines.
Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid (left) had said that no official or representative of the Defence Ministry will fly to Paris to attend the inquiry.
Bernama had quoted Ahmad Zahid as saying: “Who will pay for … air tickets, food and hotel accommodation in France?”
However, he said the Malaysian ambassador and military attache in Paris will closely monitor the case.
He added that both he and premier Najib Abdul Razak – who was defence minister at the time of the purchase – are not obliged to comply with orders of the French court, unless a subpoena comes from a Malaysian court.
Najib had snubbed questions when asked if he would testify, saying “I don’t need to comment…I don’t want to comment, thank you”.
‘Something to hide?’
Gabriel said Suaram is “very disappointed” that Najib did not respond properly to the question, while in Penang on Sunday.
“To say he does not need or want to comment shows that he has something to hide,” she claimed.
“We reiterate the hope that the Malaysian government will give us its fullest cooperation in this case.
“To know the truth about whether there had been corruption and to seek justice for the death of a Mongolian national on our soil is the right of every Malaysian taxpayer.”
Last Thursday, the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance accepted Suaram’s witness list, which names Najib, his close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and Ahmad Zahid.
Najib has previously denied being involved in the case which is allegedly mired in corruption and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu by members of his security detail then.