In a literature survey on "Instances of Measures to Prevent Corruption in the Defence and Security Sector", Catalina Robledo Botero wrote, "Although there is considerable agreement on ends (efficient, non-corrupt and transparent public purchasing systems), little information is available on means, and in particular, on the effective and replicable strategies…"
Singapore fared poorly because no specific legislation regulates defence procurement. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen confirmed that the Government is in the final stages of buying the hottest military toy in town, the problem plagued F-35. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, has been grounded twice this year already for engine-related issues. Since the procurement is not legislated, Ng doesn't have to explain why a battle tested F-18 Hornet is sufficient. After all, the Malaysians used it effectively to suppress the Sulu Sultanate's army of 200 armed Filipinos, who invaded a town in the Lahad Datu district of Sabah on 9 February.
Obviously anxious to allay potential talk about being a big spender, Ng spinned a yarn about cheap holidays for his family in, of all places, Sabah, which is protected by cheaper fighter jets. He hyped on the best goreng pisang ever tasted because they use a special banana. Just like Peach Gardens use a special sauce for their expensive chye tow kuay. If you have to ask how much, you can't afford it.
Chan Chun Seng deflected the call for public accountability on military spending by pointing out Mindef supposedly has a zero tolerance policy towards corruption. This is coming from a professional soldier who downed his rifle for an opportunity to advance his income tax bracket. We assume, of course, Singapore generals are not paid million dollar salaries. The use of the "C" word is strategic. Anyone else mentioning the hot topic is usually slapped so fast into jail, and/or bankrupted for good measure, before he can shoot up his hand ("keechiu!").
|One of two F-35 fighter jets made an unscheduled landing in Lubbock, Texas, after a caution light came on in the cockpit.|