Minister Denies Tank Deal With Malaysian Firm

Defense Minister Tea Banh on Wednesday denied news reports that a deal with a Malaysian defense contractor to maintain, repair and overhaul Cambodia’s fleet of T-55 tanks was all but a sure thing.

Malaysian state news agency Bernama on Sunday quoted Amril Samsudin, the CEO of DRB Hicom Defense Technologies, as saying his firm was “finalizing” a five-year deal with Cambodia worth $50 million to $60 million.

“We are finalizing a deal with the Cambodian government for a new maintenance, repair and overhaul contract for T-55 tanks,” Mr. Amril reportedly said on the sidelines of a regional defense and security show in Kuala Lumpur.

Contacted Wednesday, General Banh said Cambodia was still in the process of selecting the right contractor for the job of maintaining its tanks and that DRB Hicom had not yet clinched the deal.

“We don’t do anything yet…. In reality, we don’t know who we will select,” Gen. Banh said before declining to comment further.

Cambodia has purchased several of the Russian-designed T-55 tanks but won’t say how many.

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