What Did Hishamuddin Do To Address The Problems Of LTAT During His Time?


The lowest-ever dividend of 2% announced by the Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) is disappointing but an unfortunate consequence of years of alleged mismanagement and irregularities.

The problems it faces are not a recent phenomenon, but rather the result of the omissions and malfeasance of the past.

What is needed are concrete measures to strengthen the LTAT and hence the welfare of our heroic armed forces personnel.

It is hence extremely disappointing that the Sembrong MP and former Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is playing politics by blaming the Pakatan Harapan Federal Government for the lower dividends.

He has inexplicably chosen to ignore the results of an audit by Ernst & Young which found, among other things, that LTAT’s earnings were affected by the overpayment of dividends in previous years. Indeed, its five-year asset returns from the financial years 2014 to 2018 (after excluding one-off gains) were lower than the declared dividend rates.

In effect, the LTAT had been paying dividends at higher rates than it could afford.
There’s no point for the previous administration’s defenders and enablers to crow about the supposed higher dividends of the past when they actually hurt the future of the LTAT as well as other funds.

The audit also found that LTAT had 88 condominium units worth RM45 million that had been unsold despite having been completed in 2015. Also, since 2014, LTAT was said to have become over-reliant on Boustead Holdings Bhd and its quoted subsidiaries (BHB Group). Indeed, it was alleged that LTAT’s exposure to BHB Group increased almost 50% from RM2.1 billion to RM3.1 billion.

The fact is that Hishammuddin was Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2018. These alleged irregularities and weaknesses—which significantly contributed to the LTAT’s current poor performance—happened under his watch as the Cabinet Minister tasked with administering of our Armed Forces.

What was he doing all those years?

Why had he done nothing to address the problems facing the LTAT?

And yet, he seeks to blame others for his own failures and shortcomings. What is worse is that he seeks to use the fate of Malaysia’s soldiers, sailors and airmen to give him political cover.

He should consider his own responsibility for the parlous state of the LTAT and the country as a whole before seeking to blame his successor, Mohamad Sabu.
In that period, Rafizi Ramli, the Pandan MP then had constantly warned the public about the problems facing the LTAT. He did so under great personal risk and cost.

This included exposing, in March 2016, a document classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), on the LTAT’s controversial dealings with the now-discredited 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The fact that the LTAT had in May 2018 withdrawn a lawsuit it had filed against Rafizi is proof that the concerns he had raised about the Board at the time were justified and indeed, vindicated.

The current management of the LTAT must continue the reforms it has proposed as well as work closely with the Federal Government to better ensure the wellbeing of our Armed Forces personnel.


Do Not Belittle The Role Of The Armed Forces

I am in complete agreement with the 13 August 2019 statement by the Deputy Minister of Defence, YB Senator Liew Chin Tong on the role of Malaysia’s Armed Forces.
As I have stressed on many occasions, the one and only job of Malaysia’s serving men and women should be to defend our country and its people.
It is also certainly not true, as some have allegedly claimed,
The statement by Koon Yew Yin that that our military personnel are “…doing nothing except eating and sleeping,” does not only belittle the role of our soldiers but is entirely untrue.
I take note of his statement of apology.
Proposals to use our military for political or extraneous purposes should be firmly rejected.
The country does not need unsolicited, hare-brained ideas on how to utilise its armed forces.
Rather, what is needed is wise policies and public support to maintain and upgrade their professionalism; as well as to ensure the welfare of the men and women who keep our nation safe.


Welcoming The Re-Opening Of Purchase Of Submarines

There have been media reports that the authorities have re-opened investigations into the controversial 2002 purchase of the two French Scorpene submarines.

This highly-welcome development vindicates years of work—not only by Pakatan Harapan figures—but also members of the media and civil society, who sought to expose the truth about the deals in the face of great adversity.

If the case has indeed been re-opened, the authorities must carry out the new investigations with all due dispatch and charge any party they believe is guilty of wrongdoing.

Moreover, the Pakatan Harapan government should recommit itself to ensuring greater transparency and accountability when it comes to defence and indeed, all forms of government procurement.

It should identify, publicise and implement measures to ensure that our taxpayer ringgits are not wasted and that our serving men and women are adequately equipped to defend our land.

The sorry, sordid saga of the Scorpene submarines should never be repeated again.


Hishamuddin’s Claims Born Out Of Desperation And Prejudice

Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein claimed that certain parties are using so-called ‘foreign powers’ against UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

This attack is merely born out of desperation and prejudice.

This is a serious allegation and should not be used merely to shore up vested interests.

We are not the ones closing down military bases and selling the land to foreign parties. We are not giving exclusive rights to foreign powers to develop important infrastructure.

I am confident that Malaysian voters will be able to judge for themselves who is really acting against the nation.


Najib’s meeting with Trump raises many questions

Prime Minister Najib Razak has met with US President Donald Trump.

The primary issue is what the trip has accomplished for the country’s interests.

It was reported by the White House that before his bilateral meeting with President Trump, Najib said that “…we want to help you in terms of strengthening the U.S.”

This apparently includes increasing the number of Boeing planes to be purchased by Malaysia Airlines, by the EPF investing “three to four additional billion dollars to support your (i.e. Trump) infrastructure redevelopment in the United States” and for Khazanah Nasional to also increase its investments in Silicon Valley high-tech companies.

Again, a number of questions arise from this. Why should Malaysia want to strengthen the US? What impact could we have in any case? At the same time, it is also very strange for us to be investing in US infrastructure while seeking investment for our own projects from China.

It is also significant that—although he quite rightly stated that Malaysia is “…committed to fight Daesh, IS, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf – you name it”—based on the abovementioned White House readout, the Palestinian and Rohingya issues were apparently not mentioned in this conference.

One cannot help but wonder whether an opportunity was missed for Najib – as a Southeast Asian, Muslim and developing world leader – to raise these issues while the eyes of the world was on him and President Trump.

Why – given his apparent championship of these issues – did he not speak out on these crises withTrump?

The Washington Post has also reported that the Prime Minister stayed in the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. How much did this stay cost the Malaysian taxpayer?

Moreover, it must be pointed out that President Trump still owns an interest in the hotel through a revocable trust. This arrangement has been criticised by US civil society and media, as it allegedly allows the President to draw money from his businesses.

The question then arises as to whether it was appropriate for the Malaysian delegation to have been housed in the hotel.
Najib and his administration need to answer these questions.

Hishamuddin should urge corruption investigation on 1MDB, LTAT and Scorpene

I read with interest the statement from Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein regarding his willingness to be investigated for claims of corruption against him.

This is a bold statement by the Minister which should be commended as such openness and accountability is rare in the current administration.

As the Defense Minister, it is pertinent that he extends such openness to clarify on some legacy issues attached to his portfolio and comment on scandals such as the billion ringgit Scorpene submarine scandal which was carried out during Prime Minister Najib Razak’s tenure as the Defense Minister.

That scandal has smeared our international reputation, along with 1MDB. Two executives relating to the Scorpene deal has been indicted by French authorities. 1MDB, which emerged during the tenure of Najib as Prime Minister and Finance Minister is attracting legal action in Switzerland, Singapore, the US and Australia.

1MDB has negatively impacted on our army veterans who had to contend with delayed gratuity payments due to LTAT’s exposure to 1MDB’s business. The rakyat suffers a double whammy as they are being squeezed by the economy.