I have been informed that the Malaysian Army have recently acquired the 120mm Rifled Mortars and plans to mount them on the Adnan AFV. This deployment suggest that the mortars will become assets of the Mechanised Infantry units, which I am told was initially to be the assets of the Parachute Battalions. I have no qualms about the army acquiring the mortars, but questioned the rational and justification behind the final choice of a rifled mortars, against the more popular smooth bore mortars.
If my memory hasn't failed me, I could still remember that back in mid 1990's or thereabout, a study was made by a team of army officers to identify and to proposed which of the two mortar systems i.e. rifled or smooth bore mortars is suitable for the army.
I remembered too that in 1995, an article on the 120 mm Mortar was published in Sorotan Darat and the writer of the article did indicate that the smooth bore mortar is better preferred over the rifled mortar. This confirms with the findings of the study team which also recommended the smooth bore mortars, as oppose to the rifled mortars.
I am not aware if there was a further study made regarding the mortars, subsequent to the first study. And if there was none, I can assume here that someone must have concocted the findings, or recommendations of the study team to favour the rifled mortars, and not the smooth bore mortars.
Rumblings are abuzz, both within and outside the army circles that the decision to favour the rifled mortars was made not based on a professional finding, but rather a decision based upon business imperatives with the likelihood of favourable monetary benefits to personalities involved in the decision making. I stand to be corrected on this, but if such a decision was true, this ought to be thoroughly investigated.
I am not interested in the total costs paid by the government for the procurement, as I know it is quite exorbitant, as there has to be the usual largess to be 'disbursed'. This is the most damning inclusion to our procurement system, that has now become somewhat of an SOP.
I hope my readers can throw some light to the issues that I have deliberated above, in our earnest desire to arrest this unethical practices among those involved (civilians and military alike) in the army's procurement system. There has been so much of talk that the decision to procure in the army today is decided by one man or the supremo, and not the all powerful and mandated Jawatankuasa Keperluan Operasi Tentera Darat (JKKOTD)
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION