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Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi shifted the blame on its controversial purchase of RIV to the suppliers

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Instead of probing the widely suspected internal corruption, the Defence ministry today shifted the blame on its controversial purchase of Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) at above market price to the suppliers.

Its minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said investigation was now underway and stressed that legal action would be taken against those involved.

Saying his ministry was in the process of gathering evidences following a public rebuke by the Sultan of Johor on the bloated price for RIVs paid by the government, Zahid said suppliers would be taken to court.

“The ministry will not compromise with anyone. If misappropriation is involved in the purchase of the RIVs, we will take action,” he was quoted by Bernama as saying.

On September 8, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, who presented a unit of RIV to the Special Forces Regiment expressed his disappointment that military equipment was lacking in quality yet purchased at exorbitant prices. He pointed out that the RIV he bought was RM540,000 cheaper than the price paid by the ministry.

“Do not supply low quality equipment which are priced multiple times higher,” he reportedly said.

Zahid said his ministry would probe into the difference in prices and whether it was due to specification differences.

Unusually high prices paid for military equipment had led Pakatan Rakyat to call for the setting up of a Parliament Oversight Committee to review and monitor defence expenditure.

Last year, PR questioned the purchase of six littoral combatant ships (LCS) after the cost ballooned from by 50 percent from RM6 billion to RM9 billion. The Defence ministry was also told to explain the acquisition of 257 armoured personnel vehicles (APVs) costing RM7.55 billion last year.