I was awakened by a call from a friend this morning who had asked me if I knew anything about the news of a stolen RM50 million jet engine from the RMAF base at Sg. Besi, Kuala Lumpur. I replied that I knew nothing about the stolen jet engine, and he then asked me to quickly get the NST papers for the news.
Sure enough, the news was splashed in NST bottom front page and the story continued on page 9. I just could not believe in what I read; a whole jet engine i.e. a General Electric J8-21A afterburner turbojet engine for the F-5E Tiger 11 and RF-5E Tigereye, and including the service and maintenance record as well. I do not know whether to laugh or cry; a whole jet engine gone missing reportedly since late last year. This is a kind of story that makes a good movie, and I believe many producers from Bollywood would want to capitalised on such a story.
The news report says that a joint RMAF/PDRM investigation have revealed the involvement of four people i.e. three civilians and one RMAF personnel. It is believed that the engine is no longer in the country, and its whereabouts was not disclosed.
Obviously, there is a serious lapse in security at the RMAF base i.e. a facility that is guarded by armed RMAF personnel on a 24 hours basis, with no alternative route out, other then the one main entrance/exit route.
The concern now is what else are likely to be stolen. If a jet engine could pass the main gates, probably on a 3 ton lorry, I see no reason for smaller items to get pass as well. Could that small item be weapons, and weapons can be dismantled in smaller pieces, and hidden in the most inconspicuous places. As reported, the former Chief of Air Force who is currently the Chief of Defence Force has said that, “the stolen engine might just be the tip of the iceberg”, implying that there might be other equipments gone missing “as far back as 2007”. Or is he in the full knowledge that there are indeed other equipments missing, but kept under wraps.
Such a statement by a former Chief of Air Force does not bode well for the RMAF. And indeed, he has to accept a portion of blame and responsibility for the loss, that I would dubbed the 'mother of all losses'.
I suppose this loss is no big deal when compared to the PKFZ fiasco, or the costs overran for the double tracking electric train project. And when I called a friend to ask him for his views regarding this unusual loss, his reply was simply, “Malaysia Boleh”. And I suppose, if it was a whole aircraft gone missing, the reply would be the same.
I am curious to know what will be the action taken by the RMAF and the government over this incredible incident. Will there be heads rolling, and if there are, whose heads will fall first. Your guess is as good as mine.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION