SEMPORNA, July 23 (Bernama) -- Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has warned certain quarters against running a smear campaign over alleged irregularities in the purchase of two submarines in 2002.
Commenting on a claim made by French lawyer William Bourdon that he would uncover more information on the purchase, Ahmad Zahid said the ministry was willing to be investigated in upholding the truth.
"The acquisition of submarines was transparent as I had mentioned in the Parliament. Please remember, any mistakes on their part, they will not get away scot-free," he told reporters after launching the Armed Forces' "Jiwa Murni" (community) programme in conjunction with "Ops Pasir" at Danawan island here Friday.
Bourdon, a human rights lawyer, who is on a four-day visit to the country until Sunday, gave a speech at a Suaram's fundraiser dubbed "Ops Scorpene" in Bayan Baru, Penang last night purportedly to fund an awareness campaign to pursue the case in French courts.
Suaram filed a case against French naval defence giant DCNS in 2009 over alleged irregularities in the Scorpene deal worth RM7.3 billion between Malaysia and France and it is being investigated by French authorities.
Ahmad described the campaign as a malicious attack on the government and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was the defence minister at the time when the purchase was made.
In another development, Ahmad Zahid said the ministry would beef up naval capabilities in Sabah waters and an allocation would be sought from the 10th Malaysia Plan in October.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said the Defence Ministry Media Awards Night would be held on Nov 18 in recognition of the media's contribution in defence coverage.
He said there would be 10 categories of awards, including best newspaper reporting, best magazine reporting and best new media journalism (blog) with a grand prize of RM5,000.
Further information on the awards can be obtained from the ministry's Communication Unit media relation officer Lt Kdr Rahimah Taib at 019-3851136 or 03-20715041.
"Over there, top secret documents are downgraded to secret after 10 years, later to confidential and unclassified. We don't have such a law here.
"When I was in military service, I was the only one who could downgrade the classification of top secret documents.
"So, if the documents were top secret 100 years ago, they still remain top secret until today,"