The country's first submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, is attracting curiosity in the Dewan Rakyat, with a backbencher suggesting that members of parliament be allowed to take a ride inside the underwater craft.
The suggestion came from Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee (BN-Setiu), saying it would give them a clearer picture on the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines at the price of RM3.4 billion.
Addressing the issue today Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said only those with high resilience, like the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman crewmen, were able to endure a ride inside a moving submarine.
"Not everyone can handle the ride," he said when winding up the debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill 2010 for his ministry.
Ahmad Zahid, however, invited them to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima '09) on Dec 1-5 to see for themselves the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman.
"I can try to arrange for MPs to be allowed to enter the submarine but I cannot promise that they will be taken for an underwater sight-seeing because it's going to be quite a tough ride," he said.
The Scorpene, a conventional combat submarine that can operate in depths of 100 to 200 metres, is equipped with six torpedo tubes where guided missiles can be launched simultaneously.
The submarine, with a 20 nautical knot speed, also has anti-aircraft missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes.On the issue of armed forces' vehicles being used for activities such as sports, Ahmad Zahid said sports were part of activities of the armed forces.He said that the armed forces had declared either Wednesday or Friday afternoons as a sports day.