KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will use all avenues to prevent a war in Iraq which looks imminent with the United States planning to act on its own, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib said the US and its allies appeared bent on attacking Iraq with or without a second United Nations resolution.
He said even with many countries protesting against a war, they would not be able to stop the US “if the United States insisted on acting on its own.”
“The world is holding its breath for the time being. But in most minds (the war) will inevitably take place with that kind of attitude (by the United States),” he told reporters after launching the “Business Opportunities with the Defence Ministry” seminar organised by the Malay Chamber of Commerce here yesterday.
On Monday, US State of Secretary Colin Powell warned the Security Council that war on Iraq might be launched even before March 17 if it failed to pass the draft of the new resolution which fixed March 17 as the deadline for Iraq to disarm.
Najib said Malaysia still harboured hopes that the United States would not act unilaterally and that any action should be within the framework of the United Nations.
On the seminar, Najib urged bumiputra companies to expand their dealings with the ministry to include manufacturing or building products instead of just supplying.
“They can get involved in replacement of parts and sub-systems by producing the parts themselves, such as those for tanks,” he said, adding that a young bumiputra company won a contract because it produced its own flight simulators.
Najib urged bumiputra businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities as the ministry had the largest annual budget for development and acquisition.
He said the ministry’s 2003 Budget of RM1.444bil was insufficient to cover national security and the ministry would ask for more.
Of the total budget, RM753mil was for management of assets and buildings.
Najib also said that the ministry’s decision-makers looked for two qualities which were vital to the ministry – work quality and timeliness.
“If the company does not have a track record it will be judged on the likeliness that it would succeed,” he said, adding that those who had a good track record would be considered for other projects while those who did not perform would be terminated.
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