KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia will take action against air force personnel involved in the theft of a $14.5 million fighter jet engine sold to a South American company, according to reports on Sunday.

Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the company hired an agent to take the 50-million-ringgit engine out of the country from a military airbase, the Star newspaper and national news agency Bernama reported.

“The ministry will take legal action at the international level to charge the company involved,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama, without specifying the type of action or identifying the company.

“Stern action will also be taken against the Royal Malaysian Air Force staff involved for betraying the country,” the minister added.

Air force officers found the jet engine was missing late last year during a routine maintenance service, but the matter became public only after the English-language New Straits Times published a report on Saturday.

The newspaper also said police had arrested four individuals, including the buyer, the seller and air force personnel who assisted in stealing the engine, used as powerplant for a single-seat fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.—AFP

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