KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The National Patriot Association (Patriot) is hopeful of answers to its long list of questions concerning dubious deals undertaken by the Defence Ministry (Mindef) after Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee announced it would be investigating a number of them.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Arshad Raji who heads the association for veteran security forces servicemen said the group has questioned since April 2018 Mindef’s land swap deals over 10 years when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was defence minister and decided to privatise over a thousand hectares of armed forces land.

“Patriot and the public eagerly await the outcome of the PAC’s investigation,” the retired brigadier-general said in a statement today.

He noted the special investigative committee on procurement, governance and finance chaired by former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang revealed losses exceeding RM500 million over 16 land swap projects involving 1,286 hectares, but said nothing has been disclosed publicly. 

Arshad urged the government to be transparent in its public procurement contracts, saying there was no need for fear if there was nothing to hide.

“Acknowledging and owning up to previous wrongs is not a weakness, rather, it shows strength and genuine intention of trying to solve problems,” he said.

“Of course, the culprits of past corruptible practices, no matter how high their office, must be brought to face the law,” he added.

Arshad pointed out that there were many questions of public interest that remained unknown, including the outcome of an investigation into the government’s purchase of two Scorpene submarines. 

“We were never told why the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) was coerced into spending RM555 million in the AES project. There is also the case of RM1 billion of the littoral combat ships project unaccounted for. 

“Investigations had proceeded for a few years now. What happened?” he asked.

Arshad said political leaders must remember they hold their office in trust, adding that it meant they were duty-bound to report corruptible acts perpetrated by their peers as keeping silence is as bad as committing corruption.