KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has transferred six of its officers suspected of corruption, as its admiral pledges to weed out graft in his force.
This comes after the staffers from the RMN Lumut base, including a husband and wife with the rank of Leftenan-Komander, were arrested over alleged corrupt practices in procuring naval assets and parts.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which found the officers had been living luxurious lifestyles beyond their pay grade, also arrested nine civilians who were suppliers and contractors to the navy. The RMN officers were released without bail after 10 days in remand.
RMN chief Laksamana Tan Sri Abdul Aziz yesterday said though he was disappointed by the news, he was still standing by his men.
"Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, we have to be fair. But if investigations reveal that they were corrupt, then we will be hitting them very hard.
"The officers have been transferred out and we are working on strengthening the integrity of the navy. We are widening our whistle blowing policies.
"In fact, anyone who has information of wrongdoing in the navy can contact me directly. My handphone number is 019-264 8855. This is how serious we are about graft," he said.
Laksamana Abdul Aziz added that the navy would review the list of suppliers and blacklist those that had been found to have been involved in the scandal.
He said RMN's integrity council would now be meeting once a month to probe graft complaints, rather than every three months.
However, he clarified media reports that one of the suspected RMN officers owned two Ferraris, saying that the luxury cars belonged to a contractor and not a naval officer.
The naval officers, in their 30s to 50s, had allegedly made millions of ringgit in false transactions while procuring parts and assets from civilian suppliers.
The suspects could have been involved in these illegal activities for more than five years.