Just before I went to sleep last night, I noticed there were some news claiming that French has finally made a move on the Scorpene case. And pro-opposition begin to trump the case as the end of PM Najib.
I told myself why not let it fester a bit more and see how it turns out.
And true enough, many took the bait. Even though the first agency to break the news, AFP, had since pulled the report.
The local alternative media lapped to the 'news' like a thirsty horse to the water (See 2).
Yet, when I had a look at French media, none of them had the news (See 9).
|Le Parisian, top paper in France. Nada.|
|Ouessant, next largest paper in France. Nada.|
All these despite a clarification carried by NST circa 2014 2015.
I don't blame them. First, defence issues are not their forte. Politics is.
So is international relationship.
Let's look back to March 2017. After more than 20 years lobbying to get Malaysia to buy their jets, they were at the cusp of their success to see the LOU signed at LIMA 2017.
But that didn't happen. PM Najib shelved the plan and cited the high cost as reason. (Some defence bloggers, myself included wrote against the procurement as operationalisation will be too expensive).
While it was shelved, French Dassault Aviation continued to lobby.
Concurrently, French increased the pressure by deciding to get all palm oil to require to make declaration on their sustainability, despite already having been part of RSPO. This increased hurdle was being seen as an attempt to twist our hand.
The next salvo came from Dato Mah Siew Keong, who protested against the French move. I believe he mentioned that if French go ahead with the move, he will talk to the PM to cancel the Rafale purchase.
And this week, Reuters citing unnamed source claimed that Malaysia will cancel the planned MRCA procurement to replace the MiG29. While Russian media agency placed Air Force Chief Gen Dato Affendi Buang in Russia, ostensibly to sign an agreement to refurbish our MiG29 to SMT level.
In fact, this move replicates the French move on selling of Mistral LPD to Egypt. To make Egypt agree to buy an empty shell, they created rumours that Malaysia planned to buy the ship.
With French economy being in a tough spot, sales of military equipment will help to improve their economy. It had been very bad that their new president had to cut their military expenditure by more than USD980 million. This in turn angered the military resulting in the Chief of Armed Forces resigning in protest.
You see, you're just a pawn in this big chess board with French trying to be a master player.
Foreign intervention is true. This is not the only one.
Once, I had the privilege to meet an old hand who had served this nation of ours more than half of his life, nearly being blown up at least once. He told of his presence at an event held by a certain political organisation. And during the event which was conducted by several foreigners, one of the foreigners asked him of his background, noting his fluent English. And when he mentioned his agency, the organisers immediately ended the session without giving reasons.
So would this even come out if Rafale was signed? ;)