Having read a lot of Malaysian Blogs lately, it comes as no surprise, when people start to think that sensational news printed in one of those popular blogs, Malaysia Today, are real facts. Really.
I say this because, what Malaysia Today prints, Malaysia Today does not have to proof. Really.
Take for example this posting here.
Let me digress a little. Rocky has been saying that Utusan Malaysia should not be sued, as freedom of Press means the freedom to write about issues in the spirit of journalism (Pardon me, Rocky, If I seemed to have misread your posting). And people started calling him names. Funny, though, cause not so long ago, I seem to remember him being the hailed the 'Captain of the Black Pearl'!
The point is this, the letter written by Kapt Dato Zahar Hashim is from his view as an Officer of the company bidding for the job, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd. What the letter did not mention was that the helicopters proposed by Mentari belonged to Kazan Helicopters, a Russian Company originally set up as a splinter of Russia's state-owned Rosoboronexport. Interestingly when Turkey bought helicopters from Kazan, it discovered that Kazan had no permits to deliver or overhaul military aircrafts and Kazan was also embroiled in allegations of corruption in their deals. Turkish Journalist, Lalle Sarii reported for Todays Zaman, a Turkish news site. Though the Russians are well known for their MIGs, the same cannot be said about their Helicopters. Although its hows that there are over 1940 helicopters used in Asia, majority of them were used in Korea. BUT this is not important. As these are only allegations and in retrospect, it was between Turkey and Russia.
But lets look at the hardware then. Illustrated here are the different hardware from Eurocopter and Kazan...shall I say Mentari-Kelowna.
OK, I am no Military expert, but lets just take a look at the two different choppers, and say if you were the Minister, which will you recommend?
Then let's take a look at reputation. Eurocopter is the direct result from Aerospatialle and Daimler Chrysler cooperation, two top names in Aviation, not to mention Aerospatialle's involvement in Rockets....but before you think I am 'selling' you Eurocopter, think again.
I am merely comparing both 'apples'. And lets look at Kazan, or should we look at Kelowna, or Mentari? Ok , unfair to even mention Kelowna or Mentari, lets say Kazan. Kazan's website was last updated in ..2007. Sorry, I tried extensively to get newer web documents, but no later than 2007 in Kazan's official website.
Then, lets look at choppers in service. Eurocopter wins handsdown. Howabout support services? Eurocopter has a regional office in Kuala Lumpur based out of Subang, and Kelowna (representing Kazan) based in Canada (Hamilton and Kelowna). Eurocopter is jointly owned and operated by a consortium of Aviation companies. Kelowna founded by two engineers.
Eurocopter develops, build and sells Helicopters. Kelowna services Helicopters. Kelowna's subsidiary operates a Canadian Government Military Service Contract.
Kapten Zahar raised the issue of saving RM1.4 Billion.
In a purchase like this, I am assuming that the Government would want something reliable and also reputable. Of course, its only an assumption, but I am only hazarding a guess, which can backfire. But did the good Kapten think at any time at all that he is peddling something outdated and inferior?
Since reading the letter, I have done a fair bit of armchair investigation. Coming across the Turkish 'Kazan' files only assured me that, if we needed to replace the helicopters, Eurocopter, will be my choice. But then again, this blogger is not an A list blogger, and certainly, this is only my opinion stemming from the letter which points that there were wrongdoing in the appointment of Eurocopter as the next vendor for rotary aircraft to the Malaysian Armed Forces.
In my humble opinion, choosing a Mercedes over a Cherry should not be questioned, if I am looking for a good machine with proven engineering record rather than a bargain from a representative!