KUALA TERENGGANU: Two amphicoaches (amphibious buses), believed to have been purchased by the state government for several millions ringgit, have ‘vanished’, alleged three opposition lawmakers today.
They claimed the AmphiCoach GTS-1, were supposed to be purchased and built in Malta in 2014 and slated to be delivered a year later.
“But until today, there is no word or news of the said vehicles and we fear of some impropriety on the part of the state government,” said Batu Burok assemblyman
Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi after lodging a report at the district police headquarters.
He was accompanied by Bandar assemblyman Azan Ismail, who is also PKR’s Terengganu chairman, Kuala Terengganu member of parliament Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Shah, who is also Parti Amanah Negara’s Terengganu chairman, and Terengganu DAP chairman Ng Chai Hin.
Syed Azman said the state government, under previous Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, had revealed at the state assembly that the state government wanted to use the amphicoaches as a tourist attraction around the city, especially via Sungai Terengganu.
“The vehicle was also planned to ferry flood victims trapped in the interior and later to be extended for use at Tasik Kenyir as tourist attraction.
“A state delegation headed by the then state tourism and culture committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafie had paid a visit to the Malta facility in 2014 to seal the deal
for each vessel at 600,000 Euros, or about RM2.8 million,” said Syed Azman.
He added that the present Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman had on Dec 28, 2014 stated that the vehicles would arrive by 2015.
“Further to that, Mohd Jidin had on May 18, 2015 given an assurance that the vehicles will arrive the latest by August that year.
“But they never arrived until today,” said Syed Azman.
He called on the authorities to investigate the matter to determine what happened to the purchase, the amount paid and if there were any irregularities involved.
Syed Azman also highlighted that according to news reports, a downpayment of 50 per cent had been made to facilitate the vehicles’ purchase.
Meanwhile, state secretary Datuk Wan Nawawi Wan Ismail, in an immediate response, said only one vehicle was purchased.
He said delivery of the vehicle has been postponed as the engineers, during a test, found a hydraulic system failure in the German-built MAN engine, via the power transmission for the wheel and water jets.
He said the vehicle will probably be delivered by the middle of this year, pending completion of tactical specifications to meet the terms of purchase that also include certification and transportation, owing to the weather conditions in Malta.