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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Addendum to Malaysia’s Littoral Combat Ships

From the ever razor-sharp Walla, something which is worth putting up as a full article:-

Defence is where governments must do it right the first time, not try again through bailouts.

The rakyat can't be blamed for being jittery. After all, a whole fleet of skyhawks Mindef had bought seem to have disappeared either in the Arizona desert or over the Bermuda triangle. At least they didn't end up in some LATAM ( Latin American) country like two of our jet engines. And then there's that squadron of f-16's. How did we end up being sold planes without firing codes? And next we have Mikoyans which are now too costly to maintain just after five years. That's after the rakyat came to know about DRB's non-movable personnel carriers. We may have to wait awhile for the next drama on the Eurocopters but then we already have had dessert on our c4-class submarines.

Why can't defence procurements be straightforward, right the first time, and professionally managed end-to-end? Why so messy and mangled one?

Just imagine if there had been an aquatic dispute during the time when those Amin-class vessels would have been direly needed to tilt the outcome, our national diet now might have to be sup buntut with ayam sos merah.

It's also strange. Normally littoral vessels first and then submarines afterwards to extend the range and stealth of those vessels. Instead, the other way round...Do we really have an integrated defense system? What are we saying? We don't even have a flood warning system!

Anyway back to this topic. The underlying message is this:

One, whether black-boxed procurements like Mindef or harmonized expansions like Sime or acquisitions galore like Lotus, Sauber, Agusta, InventqJaya and Felda@USA, the rakyat have concluded this government is incapable of doing things right the first time; in fact its incapability is directly proportional to the size of the procurement or acquisition; meaning the bigger the sum involved, the more incapable of delivering right the first time;

Two, there is absolutely no conscience about opportunity costs, except maybe opportunity for the players;


 

Three, the govt tends to shoot itself first in the foot through its own double-tap cleverness; this double-tap thing is the SOP used in big-ticket items, namely there must be at least two advantages obtained; in this particular case, it is right-to-left hand 'open' tender.

The problem with double-tap methods is that they tend to overtap. They lock up the minds of the buyers.

Mindef gives to Boustead which belongs to LTAT which belongs to Mindef, so you get happy shareholders, happy suppliers, happy users and very happy Bagan Datoh minister. Therefore, suppliers and vendors will be even bolder to markup the price because it is a confirmed kill. Since its hand-holding specifications, the markups are already incorporated into the budget. There will be the customary renego's and they will cut a bit; but the cut bits will be magnified and added to the (a) maintenance, (b) variation orders, and most important of them all, (c) the spare parts.

If ever the MACC starts an academy, the first research thesis it must do is this: THE REAL COST OF SPARE PARTS IN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENTS.

This is put in caps to signify that people tend to think leakages is just about taking things out of the kitty. No, it is official siphonage through inflated pricings that are tacitly accepted without question at great opportunity cost to the rakyat, if not the original objective of the procurement.

The savings for instance could have been used to buy better sonar or more accurate capitation torpedoes or hardier bulletproof suits for our naval special forces or even an aero-ambulance to ferry dying passengers thrown out of crashed buses on tolled highways.

The same mindset lock by double-tap methods is aggravated by mindset lock that what is entered into a budget must be spent without calculating how savings could have been used in other areas and places. Because people forget where the money comes from. It's not the gomen's; it's the rakyats'.

There is another thing about double-tap methods. They put the buyer under the duress of inflexibility. The specs are like that but does that mean they cannot be something else? Must it be just ship defense from General Electric Boat Division or Marconi? The compulsion to fixate becomes subconscious, persuaded by double tap rationale; it becomes benefiting the parties involved and not the final objective of the acquisition. When secondary objectives supersede primary objectives in double-taps, that's when things go haywire.

Umno has been practising double-taps ever since Gene Kelly double-tapped.

Having said that, i am cognizant that our armed forces must have means to modernize. We can't have our airmen, sailors and soldiers sitting for years on outdated hardware and software. Training and familiarization take time. Confidence must be built. Cutting edges must be sharpened. But at the least do the right thing right the first time.

Which is more than what we can say about how the govt has been managing inventories. You can read in Jane's that news about how a large quantity of firearms were broken into in an army barracks some years back.

But you don't need Janes to read about the theft of ammonium nitrate in Sabah recently. That's the sort of fertilizer used to make the sort of explosives that were used to blow up one Oklahoma federal building.

Comprende', home minister?

16 comments:

guwawijaya,  10 February 2011 at 07:28  

Datuk, re your "squadron of f-16's" (known also as Falcons), perhaps you mean F-18 Hornets, unless of course the RMAF has also purchased the F-16s?

Also, on "firing codes" do you mean to say the RMAF cannot use the weapons on the F-18s? I may be wrong but I don't think so. I suspect that the codes might have referred to the computer codes (zillions of lines of electronic programming) for the plane's sophisticated weapon-radar tracking system. No one, not even their close allies like Australian (but perhaps with the exception of Israel), gets such codes as the Americans are paranoid about their enemy getting hold of them. But absence of these codes won't prevent use of the plane's weapon systems; it only prevents the user from altering or modifying them to suit their operational situations.

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 08:03  

I like this Walla? Who is he? I wish he would start his own blog as e can benefit alot from him.

Honestly, all this is Greek to me but what I know is indecent extravagance, corruption, incompetence is UMNO culture.
If all these had happened in any other country there would have been resignations, trials and imprisonment. In Malaysia its promotions and rewards.
It does all these with impunity because its members and the Malay masses close their eyes to the sins of their political masters.
How could I fathom the reason for Dato Arif Sabri's support for this corrupt party.

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 08:40  

Dato, how? to do the right thing for the first time! When most of the time they? maybe the generals or the politicians do not know what is right or pretended not to know as the opportunity cost is who benefits!
Everything is top-sy-tur-vy!
Incompetence aplenty and yet Jibby said they are all qualified people!
We can only defend our toilet the most!
Everyone must wake up and stop blaming others are corrupt as though you are f*ck*$# clean. That goes to the opposition too! Are you that perfect and I say...bullshit!
Korek sana korek sini at the end of the day only the ikan bilis is taken to task.
What the hell man.....! Siapa mahu pergi perang? Alahai... MP Bagan Datoh!

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 08:55  

Most of the traditional umno bloggers only focussed on attacking the DAP guy. This article just shows why most people have lost faith in this gomen

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 09:38  

Anonymous@10 February 2011 08:40,

Gone r the days when the top brasses of our military personnel r comparable to the 2nd best of the best!

Not only we have incompetent nincompoops masquerading as trained military officers, there r also traitor-sycophants, who know nuts about military objectives/operation, commanding our troop & giving advice to the Agung – the Commander-in-chief, just to built fortune for the party they represent. Of course at the same time skin-off some for their own pocket.

Now WHO r the pengkhianat bangsa?

Who r the soldiers, who used tanks (purchased from Poland) that cant move due to the weight of the cannon? Who r the sailors, locked into that un-submersible sub ( bought from France/Spain), with no workable torpedoes? Who r the pilots, that cant manoeuvre the G-forces of the F18 (got from the USA), due to bad selection, & yet cant do any decent weapon firing bcoz the computerized weapon code for the on-board weapons system r been locked-in?( guwawijaya – go check with some anon air-force pilots – quick!)

They r been sent to their graves as blur-sotongs, solely in the name of their RACE - & that’s not MALAYSIAN!

Blame the Others as not patriotic, again?

For crying out loud - u people deserve every single consequence that spilled out from yr leading lemmings - in the name of Alif BaTa.

freemalaysiakini 10 February 2011 at 11:45  

visit freemalaysiakini for current news in Malaysia....update daily...and it's free

donplaypuks 10 February 2011 at 11:46  

"The (Littoral Combat) ships, to be buily by Boustead Naval Shipyard in collaboration with six reputable overseas shipyards..." The Star 10/02/2011

This raises a whole host of new questions.

Does Boustead actuall have a shipyard with that kind of building capability, or is it all virtual as in Pinewood Studios and Avatar? And which part of the works is actually going to be done in M'sia? The signages?

Why does MoD not then deal directly by "open tender" with these foreign experts and save the
Rarkyat hundreds of millions of dollars servicing gaji buta middleman and the 'Mr.10 percenters'?

As I said before, this is how a $1 contract balloons to $3. After the cronies and political parties have lopped off their cut, only the bare bones will be left for 'equitable income re-distribution' to the "72% who comprise the 40% classified as poor (as per Ibrahim Ali)".

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

Melayu Baru,  10 February 2011 at 12:11  

Asslamualaikum Dato' Sak,

Here's an interesting observation:

UMNO, in its attempt to get people with 'clean' record to lead took the action by picking up a relative unknown (then a dentist in Kajang) DS Khir Toyo to lead the hot seat in Selangor.

To infuse the leadership team with more corporate leaders, it took then MD of Cycle and Carriage to helm Negeri Sembilan from then Isa Samad.

Then, there's 'Mr. Clean' ex PM.

It also tried to put some supposedly intellectuals in some higher position. KJ??

The result:

DSKT - Rasuah
DSMHH - Rasuah. Just belum kena. Re Parpukari
Mr. Clean - NOT!!! MAS?
Intellectuals in UMNO - That's an oxymoron, no? Or a lost cause.

I believe these men on their first day of power has many useful ideas on how they want to carry out their responsibilities. They know the tasks. They understand the challenge.

Once they are leading, they realized that the real powers are with the UMNO warlods/tuan punya tanah/feudal lords Ketua Bahagian, and their band of merry men. So, if they want to stay in power, dance to their song.

Ok - so far just subahat. Not taking anything for themselves yet as the first day semangat is still there.

Few years later - rather than seeing these people have the cake and eat it, might as well join them. The adage - If you cant beat them, join them...

Is it a case of bad people joining good organization and becoming bad? Or case of good people joining a bad organization and becoming bad? Or something in the system that make them go bad?

It's not the person, it is the system. Institutionalized corruption system from the core.

How to do the right thing for the first time?

Nawaitu dari awal lagi bukan nak 'menolong bangsa, agama dan negara' tapi "Macamana aku nak buat duit"

Habis jahanam Malaysia...

Now, I wonder what will happen if Idris Jala join UMNO. He is afterall a bumiputra.... Will he be as 'altrusitic'?

Melayu Baru

dahseriktapitakserik 10 February 2011 at 12:44  

next we should buy aircraft carrier so can carry our planes that cannot fly.

i suggest we pay RM1000 billion for this mega class of a rust bucket!

no nuclear reactor just 10000 sailors rowing from the side using batang rotan.

let;s pass this motion in parliment now!

all those in favour say "korek korek korek korek"!

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 14:33  

Dear Walla and Datuk Sak
it's spend, spend, spend, and to hell with the consequences because someone elses pockets are being filled everytime mammoth projects are announced. The party that now holds Putrajaya does not recognise any boundaries, the sky's the limit! Malaysia is a huge pot of gold, must be emptied now at all costs. And the costs to the poor gullible citizens of Malaysia have not even been counted yet!

Anonymous,  10 February 2011 at 18:36  

our debts are already huge..the schoolboy economists of Pemamdu is going to add another 120 billion to that soon enough.If thats not enough every Ministers seems to have billion dollars capex lined up as well.
If the futurist Idris Jala school boy dreams of higher growth turns out to be another MAS oil hedge story...we are doomed.And if the short sighted big bets the Govt is making with our money turns out to Proton,Perwaja etc we will never recover for a generation or two.
Lets be grown ups please.
Let real men put our house in order.Lets not play Pemandu,ETP,EPP vaporware when what is needed is the reality.

Please do it quickly cos time n money is running out fast.

umar,  10 February 2011 at 19:33  

in 2003 Bank Islam was squandered 700million through Labuan office offshore lending to a single Malaysian !
The MD retired. Labuan office reduced to a branch. The Bank announced that the culprit will brought to court. Till today, there is no mention of that case.Tabung Haji was asked to take up major share in the Bank.The Bank's logo and colour was changed to project a new image.
Where has all the money gone ?

Defense Ministry / LTAT / Boustead Holdings/ AFFIN BANK have no clear corporate governance. You can find
the same guy sitting in so many boards.Getting any contracts from MINDEF is surely an easy road to millions.Just look at Satang Holdings ;the directors are at each other's jugular vein.
Ask about Razak Baginda's role in MINDEF and his fees. Who has been our minister of defense for all these years ?
What transformation, Pemandu , NKRA,ETP...etc sure road to larceny.

saji 11 February 2011 at 00:32  

"Why can't defence procurements be straightforward, right the first time, and professionally managed end-to-end? Why so messy and mangled one?"

Comment:

Dato', I will support you all the way in term of implementation if you dare enough to tell your friend DSN to stop using Design and Build with contractor's input design construction contract arrangemant for all government's project and shift it to Management Contract arrangement.

Dato', if you know the advantages of Management Contract over the Design and Build Contract above then you yourself will able to answer all your question above.

Anonymous,  11 February 2011 at 11:40  

Dato,

As much as this is utter waste propagated for profit and selfish gain we should not forget the paramount security of our country - it's people's health!

People are the country's security, it's resources, its capital and its ultimate aim. And reasonably happy people makes for a happy country.

I fail to see how mundane the hype on expertise and creativity and innovation are if we don't come back and address the most fundamental issue - Mothers health and everybody's health! Malaysia Government excesses are now intolerable and beyond human decency. If the UMNO Melayu have lost all sense of decency it is showing in the most deplorable situation of maternal health and safety in Sarawak - a staggering example of the decay that has now become visibly unbearable. There may be hidden examples in Malaya left to be uncovered. The "good" Dr Mahathir now clouds every conceivable relevant human issue that we should now pay attention to.

We get this right, every other thing that needs doing should fall in place.

We have adequate, though not excessive, skills to address this. When are we going to "balik pangkal jalan"?

Anything else is further damning self serving hypocrisy.

Difficult to guess what other's reactions are if the excessively endowed and healthy First Lady of Malaysia or Mother of Health continues to strut out and exhibits her bleeding heart.

The report on Maternal Health can be read here -

SARAWAK’S HIDDEN HEALTH SCANDAL – MATERNAL DEATHS


PH Chin 11 February 2011 at 16:37  

Dato'

Thank God for Walla and you, the voices of the righteous in the midst of corrupted powers-that-be.

Keep up the expose so the 'rakyat' shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.

Anonymous,  11 February 2011 at 17:38  

Who is listening, assuming all said being true?

Anybody cares? I don't think so. The awareness is inadequate to change the status quo unless we all shift our energy against all these in the way thing s are happening in Egypt!

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