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Military 101: Missing F5E Fighter Jet Engine Poser

RMAF TUDM F-5E F5E Freedom Fighter

(F5E jet fighters are considered obsolete in the current 3rd and 4th generation jet age but it is still part of our air defence system – no one should forget about that!  Image source: Wikipedia)

I guess when one is digging through a pile of crap; it is only going to get nasty

As we know by know – RMAF’s F5E fighter jet engine has been missing and the Government is now doing massive damage control due to national (does threat to national security rings a bell?) and international implications (perhaps under illegal shipments of military hardware?).

The PM and the Defence Minister have repeatedly said that there is no cover-up and the police are “seriously” investigating. Good luck to them especially if those engines have left the country, the relevant paperwork have been destroyed and the real culprits have disappeared.

Then we have this: –

Not one but two jet-fighter engines, each worth RM50 million, were stolen from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besi.

Both engines served as power plants to the F5E Tiger II fighter and RF5E Tigereye reconnaissance jets.

(Source NST)

Looks like we did not lose 1 but 2 F5E fighter jet engines and we are seriously wondering whether this is just the tip of the iceberg?

Then it gets better with this

It was learnt that the engines were sold to arms dealers on the black market.

Intelligence reports suggested the engines were later transported to a US-sanctioned Middle Eastern country that was keen on developing its own fighter jet

With this, Malaysia would be a tempting choice for many of the US-controlled blacklist lists (perhaps one on who is assisting terrorists and rogue countries). Even though it is theft (and not a willing sale & purchase), Malaysia’s reputation has been grossly tarnished.

Malay Mail reports:-

The source said only Iran, which is one of the biggest users of the F5 interceptor aircraft and its unlicensed indigenously developed variant, would be the only buyer of a whole engine.

The US has maintained an arms embargo on Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The source said the US, which has been notified of the engine theft, would have found out about any delivery to Iran and would have imposed sanctions on Malaysia for violating the arms embargo.

The sources said as far as they knew, the US has not placed any restrictions on the sale of items, military or dual-purpose, on Malaysia.

Are we supposed to be happy that the US (and its allies) have yet to place any restrictions on Malaysia? What about our own standards of being accountable and following the internationally agreed norms?

What had happened to the strict control of our most prized assets? And when we learned about the theft, did we act swiftly to nab the offenders and get the stolen items back in one piece? Or did we take the usual casual way of doing things whilst the criminals were busy cleaning their tracks?

CheguBard lists out the chronology of events in his blog: –

  • 26Jun 2007 – enjin pertama dihantar keluar (the first engine shipped out)
  • 1November 2007 – enjin kedua dihantar keluar (the second engine shipped out)
  • Mei 2008 – enjin disedari hilang (it was realised that the engines were missing)
  • 4 Ogos 2008 – laporan polis dibuat (police report made)
  • 13 Mei 2009 – kertas siasatan dihantar kepada Peguam Negara (investigation papers sent to AG).
  • 25 Jun 2009 – kertas siasatan dipulangkan dengan arahan untuk lengkapkan siasatan (investigation papers sent back with instruction to complete the investigation)
  • 18 November 2009 – kertas siasatan dihantar semula (investigation papers re-sent)

Interesting timeline, isn’t it?

In 2007, when the first and second F5E engine was stolen, the Minister in charge of Defence is none other than our current Prime Minister. Is this why we did not hear about the stolen F5E engines until late 2009? Why the “cover-up” for the past 2 years?

Malaysian Insider says:-

But yet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claims there is no cover up.

He was then Defence Minister in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Cabinet. He should have recommended then for the theft to be announced to the public.

Najib has allowed the issue to be kept under wraps for more than a year. In the eyes of the public that sounds like a cover up. The fact that a police report was lodged does not mean there was no cover up.

Also if you note the time when it was discovered the F5E engines were missing and police reports were made, it took them more than 2 months before deciding to make a police report. Why the delay then? Was it because they had been caught with their pants down and they do not know what to do?

What about those in charge of the matters at RMAF? If you think they have been caught and court-marshalled for treason, think again.

Datuk A Kadir Jasin writes in his blog:-

Should we be happy and jump with joy at the news that a brigadier-general and 40 other armed forces personnel were sacked for alleged involvement in missing RMAF jet engines incident?

The New Straits Times headlined today that they were given the boot late last year after Air Force jet engines worth RM50 million went missing. Why alleged? What then is the “real” truth behind this dastardly, shameful, treacherous act?

Why only an internal inquiry? Why not a full-blown investigation and trial by a civil or military authority?

This is an act of treason. Why were they not court-martialed?

Can we feel more comfortable that the necessary people in the Government will now be shameful of this act of treason of missing F5E fighter jet engines and will now take stringent steps to avoid similar things from happening? Or it is going to be business as usual for the culprits?

If you remember, after the fatal or wasteful or embarrassing national crisis, we have come up with many commissions, recommendations, warnings but the thing is how much of the so-called recommendations that we have actually implemented? Why then the repeated incidents?

Read TV Smith’s “For Every Reaction, There Is No Action” – can we put a stop to the “tidak apa” kind of attitude after this?

Can we get back the jet engines? Or our good names back?

Read Also

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LKS – Nuri too dangerous now

14 thoughts on “Military 101: Missing F5E Fighter Jet Engine Poser”

  1. This thing about missing items in the RMAF, and the Armed Forces as a whole, is an ongoing thing and there seems to be a lack of effort by the people in authority and power (not just those in uniforms) about stopping them. Perhaps they are in cohort with the culprits, or they are themselves the culprit.

    Quite some years back we lost two very highly able generals when a Nuri helicopter crashed – investigations found that the aircraft had engine problems and was fitted with ‘questionable’ parts. A Brig Gen, some officers and men from the RMAF were sacked after that. There were few other crashes attributed to the same problems again involving Nuri helicopters and we lost few of our good men.

    Pilferage still occurs in the Armed Forces today (Army, Navy, Air Force and The Police Force) and there’s no sign that this is going to stop. We are losing a lot of RM millions due to this. Now, the recent loss of two F5E engines cases also received the same action – a Brig Jen, some officers and some men were sacked. This doesn’t help solve the problem. I am quite sure, the two Brig Gens that were sacked in the former and the latter cases, didn’t mind, well, they lost face alright but they are rich. Some of the sacked officers are in the business supplying parts and services to the RMAF! Can you beat that?

    If you look carefully around you, you’ll find many senior officers who had retired from the respective services mentioned above who are very very rich (I am not saying all, I said many). Some even proudly flaunt their ill-gotten wealth. One is quite frequently seen driving an open-top Red vintage MG along Bangsar Road whilst smoking a very expensive Havana cigar during weekends. Many are seen playing golf at top clubs in the country. Some are known to have married a second very young wife who are even younger than their youngest daughters and amongst the wives is a once-upon-a-time local actress.

    The MACC should start checking the wealth of all retired Generals, Marshalls, Admirals and Police Commissioners, especially those who were in charge of the ‘Supplies’ or ‘Logistics’ divisions of the said organisations other than their Chiefs, and I am sure they will find some of those big time ‘daylight robbers’ and after they (MACC without teeth) have done that, what would they do? I am quite sure, there will be no action because of the implications.

    When you have people scratching each others backs, at various levels, these things will continue. So how, when and where do we stop the rot? Yes, these people have committed treason and are clearly traitors and must be punished.

    I can’t imagine what would happen if the country is at war. I bet you none of our fighter aircraft; the Sukhois, Hawks, F 18s, etc. will be able to fly, not because our well-trained and committed fighter pilots, including that one very courageous woman fighter pilot, are scared but they just won’t be able to get their aircraft to take-off. I think, by the time the technicians manage to get the aircraft ready, the whole airbase and the rest of them around the country would have been bombed by the enemy aircraft, bombers, missiles and heavy artillery already. Hey, where’s that washer, I can’t find the spanner, and where’s that nut?

    Best regards.


  2. Let me tell you more.

    At the lowest level, soldiers (including a few officers) and cooks are stealing rations, meat, vegetables, onions, chilli, potatoes, etc. Then, army doctors, especially those who have wives who are also doctors running private clinics, are stealing drugs from the medical stores and then you have stationery, office equipment like computers and printers are stolen and taken home by people who have access to them.

    Yes, there are many thieves in the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and the Air Force) and you’d be surprised to know the things that are stolen from camps, barracks, bases, garrisons, cantonments, etc.

    I was never in the Police Force, Fire Brigade or any other uniformed groups in the country other than the Army and I believe, the same thing are happening there.

    Talking about war, whoever is or are planning our country’s defence should be aware that our enemies have superior, much superior, fire power and the way to fight them is, given our terrain, have as many heavy artillery guns and howitzers including anti-aircraft guns as possible. Not the ‘pea shooters’ type but those than can fire high explosive 155mm ammunition or bigger for at least 50 miles, if there are any. We also need surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-air missiles and never station our military hardware anywhere in Johore, if the attack is expected from the south and not nearer than 100 km from anywhere near our northern border, if the attack is expected from the north. Place infantry units in those areas instead. Those guns and missiles must be located between hills and mountains, where there are numerous, to use our country’s natural features as a defence so that enemy aircraft cannot target them. Needless to say, we must have a redundant, non-breakdownable, communication system. Of course, we need good men too.

    All the above that I have mentioned must be in place before any threat becomes imminent. If you want to put them only after the attack is coming, then it’ll be too late.

    Anyway, let’s pray and hope that this country will never be at war with anyone.

    Best regards.


    1. Well, hak55 – on part of stealing, these are allegations and we hope that the relevant authorities picked the big fish and the relevant services tighten their procedures and controls to stop such leakages. It may look a small thing but in the long run, it can be costly

      On the defence planning, I trust our top minds on our national defence know what they are doing. There are limitation on this – budget for defence (you know how the public is very sensitive on government spendings) and perception on global basis (are we on a defence race?)

  3. Dear BJ,

    Nice to hear your reply.

    Yes, what I said are actually more than allegations and it’s been going on for years, before I joined and after I left the Army. I joined the Army in 1971 and left in 1979 and it’s now 2009 and I am still receiving reports, though not official, that these things which are so-called allegations are still happening and yes, over the years, as you have correctly stated, it has cost us taxpayers a lot of money. I did take some action during my active service and did achieve some desired results but due to the lack of support, I did not get very far. Besides the Army, what about the Navy and the Air Force and the Police and the Bomba, etc.? Of course, if one dabbles into this, one gets only the small fish but do you think this thing should be ignored?

    On the second item: On defence planning, do you really think so? I am in no position to answer your question (are we on a defence race?) but if our immediate and not so immediate neighbours are beefing up their defences, for the last several years, we too ought to do something about it. Don’t you think so?

    I wish to add my two sen on corrupt practices in this country and it’s like this, from the worst: Politicians, Police, Customs, Bomba, City Councils, Town Councils, Land Office, District Offices, etc.

    Best regards.


    1. hak55 – well said. It is sad to note that Malaysia is getting nowhere with the battle on corruption and wrong doing. If you read the net today, there is a story about MACC asking PI Bala for a “formal” request before they can start the investigation.

      You have to read it twice to believe it! So, if MACC is acting as such, it is no wonder we have “leakages” in almost every department in the Government (as you have mentioned in your comments). Perhaps we should start with the small fishes and make our way to nab the bigger ones but is the relevant Govt agencies share the same enthusiasm?

      On the defence planning – I am all out for an upper hand against the potential aggressors but I know it is going to be a matter of cost. Interestingly Tun M mentioned something about this in his blog (

      We, Malaysians are not that far off when it comes to military technology (based on the recent LIMA exhibition) but at the same, we also need to make sure that whatever hardware that we have is maintained so that it can last (and not missing any parts e.g. jet engines) and upgraded so that it can meet future threats. Failing that, we then should look for newer military hardware.

  4. Dear BJ,

    On the country’s defence planning; I think I need to jump the gun here and assume that you aren’t really sure about what I mean. I hope this is o.k. with you.

    Yes, we always had and still have excellent brains amongst some of the officers we have in our Armed Forces especially those with the ranks of Majors and Lieutenant Colonels or equivalent in all the three services. Anything below major or equivalent would be too inexperienced and their knowledge would still be insufficient and officers above the rank of Lt Col or equivalent are, mostly, waiting to retire or they have already lost their determination to do things and they lack commitment. The other Lt Cols would be too busy working for themselves to get promoted to higher ranks and fight for, cleanly or using dirty ways, who gets the stars placed onto their shoulders first.

    In my short period of active service, I discovered that most, if not all, of the weapon systems and the other military hardware purchased in all the three services are not the ones specified by the users (yes, we, soldiers) but were purchased for the convenience of some people and many, if not all of these people, have zero knowledge about defence planning. (I am sure you know what I mean here and why it was done in such a way).

    There were many cases of equipment purchased worth millions of RMs which just couldn’t be used and they eventually had to be scrapped. Some people, of course, became very rich after that. So, the more frequent purchases were made, more people who would become very rich and some of the very lucky same people who were at the right place and at the right time would also become very very rich.

    Unfortunately, this is still happening now!

    Check it out my friend.

    So, what’s your say now?

    Best regards.


    1. hak55 – you are in a better position than I am since you were in the Armed Forces and you have seen what is really going on. It’s sad that sometimes people put their own personal interest ahead of the nation’s interest – as you mentioned “too busy getting promoted”.

      Just wonder when it will end…thanks for the inside revelation

  5. Dear BJ,

    Thanks but it will never end, that’s what life is all about – never perfect.

    To add credence to my claims, let’s ponder those past Armed Forces ‘under the carpet’ cases and issues. The ‘Panhard APC’ case, the ‘V 150 APC’ case, the ‘HK 5.56 mm rifle’ case, the ‘Mini Gredanades’ case, the ‘Styer rifles’ case, the ‘Skyhawk Fighter Bombers’ case, and many more. And I don’t understand why we must have two different makes of 155mm Howitzers in the service? Next to be categorised as ‘under the carpet’ issue is, yes. none other than the ‘F5E Fighter/Interceptor’ case.

    I notice that one of the preferred or very common solution the country’s leaders always resort to is to put things ‘under the carpet’ and create a ‘diversion’ or as some countries call it ‘faking’ which are both accepted as an effective political strategy and hope that the people will not talk about them anymore and the people are even expected to forget about them totally.

    Did you ever notice that Malaysia always pay much more than other countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and even the UK, when purchasing military hardware and for their spares, maintenance and replacements?

    Best regards.


  6. Dear BJ,

    You are so nice!

    You actually missed the point. The main reason is because money, a lot of it, needed to be paid to some people so that the chosen equipment can be approved for purchase. In short: CORRUPTION!


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