White Elephant Submarine?

We have not reached to this stage yet…but it does not mean we can start to celebrate

(The strategic role of a submarine to the nation’s maritime defence cannot be ignored but what makes it stink is the way these submarines were purchased and maintained. Image source: http://www.marinebuzz.com)

I love submarines – seen Wolfgang Petersen’s excellent Das Boot several times (wished to be an U-Boat captain) and I even wrote a short novel on submarine for my NaNoWriMo project. It is great that we have submarine – not one but two. And recently we received the 2nd submarine, KD 1Malaysia KD Tun Razak in our waters and we were indeed proud of it.

From Malaysia Today (quoting the Malay Mail):-

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman remains at the Teluk Sepanggar naval base in Sabah as problems have again resulted in the submarine being docked.

The Malay Mail was informed by defence industry sources that the unspecified problems were detected after the submarine completed its tropical water trials last month. A routine maintenance check later revealed the problems.

Since then, the submarine has remained at the naval base unfixed.

At first, we became the laughing stock when the Malaysian submarine could not do its basic function – it could not dive and it was so for 3 months before that problem got fixed (permanently?).

Now there seems to be more problems and we are only talking about the first submarine. We have yet to know what problems that the second submarine will face when it goes for sea trials. Ya sure we have warranties for now but what happens in the future when the warranties expires and we need to fork more for repairs (more for commission to the buggers who “facilitated” the repair contracts?)

Some says that the problems that we are facing with the submarine is due to the manner the submarine was purchased in the first place, namely the huge amount of commission (in guise of support and coordination services) that was paid out from the taxpayer’s money – problems will start to crop up, the guy who took the money is nowhere to be seen and the navy & the nation ends up the losing party.

The Government may insist that they have not paid any commission but then again look what Perimekar is contracted to do – prepare accommodation, pay personal allowances, prepare personal insurance, pay for holiday flights for the team and prepare scheduled reports. And we were being made to pay through our noses for this?

The same question that Lim Kit Siang asked in his blog – why can’t the Ministry does the same things for almost “nil contract cost”? Why outsource to a 3rd party who makes RM530 million in the process?

Having a submarine is not waste of taxpayers’ money but having a submarine that does not work certainly is. It is fast becoming a headache for the navy.

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