Oct 28, 2008

Billion-ringgit Eurocopter deal suspended

The purchase of Eurocopter helicopters has been deferred. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the postponement is until the global economy improves.He said the decision was made two weeks ago by the Economic Council.

(Malaysiakini) Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced that the controversial multi-billion ringgit deal to buy a fleet of military helicopters has been suspended so that the money could be used for more pressing projects.

"We have decided not to purchase the helicopters. We need the allocation for other projects and the saving is very important for us."

Abdullah said that the purchase has been frozen "indefinitely" until the economy is in better shape.

At a press conference today, the outgoing PM who is also defence minister, revealed that the purchase price for the 12 Cougar EC725 helicopters from a Franco-German firm, Eurochopter, was RM1.7 billion, and not RM2.3 billion as reported earlier.

He also said the public accounts committee (PAC), a powerful parliamentary committee tasked to ensure that public funds are well spent, can continue with its two-day inquiry from tomorrow to look into the controversy.

According to the premier, the decision to delay the purchase was made by the National Economic Council's executive committee on Oct 13.

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