Opposition depending on half-truths, says minister

Most of the defence information the opposition shadow committee has is based on half-truths and information trawled from the Internet.

Defence Minister Dr Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, here for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aero-space Exhibition 2009, said the opposition was “struggling” to get information.

He was answering a question on whether the Defence Ministry would have some kind of programme to educate parliamentarians on national defence since they seemed to lack knowledge on the matter.

“They (the opposition) have shadow defence ministers. Three of them, one from each party. They were given the task to monitor all procurement and activities of the ministry.

“I’d say most of their information are half-truths,” said Zahid.

(The three shadow defence ministers are former Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mu-hammad Nizar Jamaluddin of Pas, Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and DAP’s Liew Chin Tong.)

Asked if they were being supplied with the information they need, he said they got some of it from the Internet.

He also said the ministry had not got any requests for information so far, and that if it did, everything, barring classified security details, would be released.

Meanwhile, Liew said a bipartisan approach on matters like defence was good for the country. “I welcome the spirit and if he (Ahmad Zahid) meant his words, it is good.”

Liew, who is Bukit Bendera member of parliament, said his requests for a defence white paper explaining the country’s policy was repeatedly rejected in the past.

However, he would now resubmit previously asked parliamentary questions and ask for a defence briefing from the ministry’s secretary-general.

He said the opposition’s strong criticism of the ministry was because nobody actually knew what’s going on.

Liew admitted that the Internet was one of the sources of information, apart from information from the ministry and reputable magazines on defence.

NST

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