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Penang chief minister says submarine purchase needed

PENANG chief minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has finally admitted that the Royal Malaysian Navy’s submarine can dive.

He also admitted that there was a need for the two submarines, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak.

Lim said this to the media shortly after he alighted from an RMN Super Lynx helicopter which had transported him after he had taken a dive with the KD Tun Razak.

“There is no doubting it now… it can dive. If we are talking about a submarine, then of course it can dive,” he said amid an endless bombardment of questions from reporters at the tarmac of the Langkawi International Airport yesterday.

Lim had tried repeatedly to evade questions on whether he was satisfied with the submarine’s capabilities to dive.

This was the main reason for Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi inviting Lim and several other opposition members of parliament aboard the submarine.

The opposition MPs had been kicking up a storm claiming the submarines could not dive and questioning the government’s procurement of the vessels.

Lim said the submarines’ purchase was a good move by the government and the navy.

“On the submarine (purchase) I feel that it is needed,” he said.

Lim described his experience diving 30m with the submarine as thrilling.

“This is my first submarine… it was exciting.”

Lim also commended the professionalism and commitment by the Armed Forces and navy personnel.

He said he had agreed to go aboard the KD Tun Razak based  Zahid’s invitation

Lim, however, said that there was still the matter of  the price of the submarines, which to him was another issue to be debated entirely.

Travelling along with Lim in the Super Lynx was his press secretary Wong Kim Fei.

His deputy chief ministers, Datuk Mansor Othman and P. Ramasamy, had accompanied him in an RMN Fennec helicopter.

KD Tun Razak had sailed from Porto Malai, where it had been berthed as part of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2011 exhibition (Lima ’11), earlier yesterday to an area deep enough for it to dive, some 45 nautical miles away.

It was accompanied by the RMN frigate KD Lekiu.

When Lim and his entourage arrived in Langkawi at 1.30pm, they were flown to the KD Lekiu then transferred aboard the submarine.

They were accompanied by RMN Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Datuk Jamil Othman.

Earlier yesterday, Zahid told reporters the government was forced to extend the invitation for the opposition MPs to board the submarine for transparency’s sake and to defend the good name of the armed forces, especially the navy.

“KD Tun Razak was supposed to be berthed for static display to the public during Lima ’11. We do not want to play the opposition’s political games, but we are forced to do so,” he said.

Zahid said even after the offer was made, there were blog postings which questioned the decision as having come too late.

He extended the offer to other opposition MPs to go to the submarines’ base in Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah, if they needed proof.

Zahid especially singled out Tony Pua, whom he said was the most vocal in criticising the submarines.

“Let Tony Pua follow the submarine from here to Teluk Sepanggar. It takes three days and three nights. Let him know just how difficult a submariner’s life is for three days and three nights,” he said.

Read more: No ‘dive’ doubts for Lim now – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/no-dive-doubts-for-lim-now-1.17382#ixzz1gZDJ8NV9
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