In an effort to cut unnecessary and wasteful defence spending, US President Barack Obama has instructed that a review be made with regards to the award of defence contracts, that had during the Bush administration resulted in a two fold increase in defence spending to sustain the unjust war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What is so glaringly unpopular was that the Bush administration had been awarding major contracts to companies like Halliburton through selective bidding costing billions in taxpayers money. Halliburton, an oil and gas company was once associated with the former US Vice President Dick Cheney, and it was obvious that presidential patronage had favoured the company for contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Obama’s move to curb further deterioration in wasteful defence spending, and to cease selective bidding is seen as a popular move that will pleased defence contractors and the US taxpayers. It was reported that more than 140 investigations are currently on-going to prosecute those involved in ‘murky and highly doubtful contracts’ that are either unfulfilled or partially fulfilled.
President Obama was open in his criticism towards the Bush administration by referring it to ‘the era of irresponsibility’ that saw defence spending increased two fold, in excess of RM1.86 trillion since 2001.
The Malaysian government, and in particular the Defence Ministry have somewhat been emulating the US in its defence spending.
Isn’t selective bidding a preferred method of awarding defence contracts by the Defence Ministry? Isn’t Target Resources Sdn Bhd the preferred company to be offered contracts by the ministry that had now amounted to almost a billion? Isn’t Sydney Franklin the preferred foreigner to act as the agent for capital purchases for the ministry that is reported to have also amounted in excess of one billion? Where lies the transparency, integrity, honestly and good governance that our civil service is so proud off in dealing with contracts?
It is high time that our Prime Minister takes a serious note from what has been said by President Obama, and to make a similar statement as a matter of urgency, before the rot in the Defence Ministry (other ministries included) becomes unbearable.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 2 pm on March 9, 2009