KUALA TERENGGANU: Jul 20, 2008 By R.S.N. MURALI
The state government has defended the purchase of 14 Mercedes E200 Kompressor cars at RM3.43mil for the use of its state executive councillors and senior officials.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the state government had planned to purchase the cars for a long time now to replace its Proton Perdana V6 Executive fleet in a move to cut cost.
“Please understand that the Proton Perdanas go through continuous long-distance journeys. It's costing us a lot of money due to high cost of maintenance.
“We are not saying that the national car is not good but in reality we are coughing up more money for maintaining the Proton Perdanas, particularly the gear boxes,” he said.
Ahmad cited the example of the Proton Perdana of state Commerce, Industry and Environment committee chairman Toh Chin Yaw, which has twice undergone expensive repairs to the tune of RM50,000 in the last 36 months.
"In the long run, Mercedes cars are cheaper to maintain and could also save us fuel costs.
“This is the state’s long-term plan – we are farsighted. The cars could also fetch a high market price when sold as second-hand cars.
"We had evaluated from all angles before deciding to buy the Mercedes E200 cars,” he added.
Ahmad also denied that the oil royalty money was used to buy the cars.
"In the first place we have yet to receive the oil royalty from the Federal Government.
“The funds to procure the cars were from our own coffers and has nothing to do with the oil royalty money,” he said.