DAP's Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentarian Tony Pua was making unreasonable comparisons when he claimed that the Defence Ministry is going to pay up to 8.7 times more for the warships it is proposing to buy, a defence analyst says.
According to Dzirhan Mahadzir, correspondent for noted defence magazine Jane's Defence Weekly, this is because the specifications of the vessels mentioned by Pua vary.
“Some warships he compared are less in tonnage and size than the (vessels proposed for purchase)… so it is like comparing a Mini Cooper with a four-wheel drive in price,” he said in a lengthy commentary on his Facebook page.
It is also very difficult to make comparisons by dividing price by tonnage as even similar sized ships can come in very different specifications, he said.
The rest of Dzirhan's comment can be read from the Malaysiakini.com article. Maybe Dzirhan is right about Tony's over simplistic comparison.
However, this is not the most contentious point. The point is why is the government spending so much money (RM6 billion) on OPVs? What is the purpose of this expenditure? To enlarge and renew our armoury or to help build the local defence industry?
On Saturday, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the government has agreed to allocate RM6 billion to purchase six OPVs from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd.
Ahmad Zahid said the deal would give the local defence industry a boost as at least RM2 billion of the allocation would benefit the 632 vendor companies partnering with Boustead Naval Shipyard.
As a defence commentator, it is important for Dzirhan to also analyse the capability of our local defence industry to build the OPVs. As taxpayers, we need to know what has happened to the last batch of orders from PSCI? Is Boustead Naval Shipyard resurrected from the ashes of PSCI?
If the main purpose is to strengthen our sea defence, why didn't the government call for an open tender? Shouldn't the government be accountable for such a large expenditure? The last thing we need is a government acting like a sugar daddy to the local industry. Granted that the intention is right but will it really help?
Tony's comparative analysis may not be that accurate but it does not make Dzirhan's justification reasonable enough for us, taxpayers, to accept the RM6 billion bill.