KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA said on Sunday it will ask Uruguay to return two US-made fighter-jet engines that were traced to the South American country after they were stolen from a Malaysian air force base.
The disappearance became a major embarrassment for the Malaysian government and led to allegations of corruption after news media reported the theft last year. The engines were reportedly taken from the air base in 2007.
Malaysian Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he would send a team of officials to Uruguay after a court there ruled that the two engines belonged to the Malaysian government, state media reported.
'We will be sending senior officers from the Malaysia Armed Forces and the Attorney-General's Chambers to Uruguay to retrieve the engines,' he told national news agency Bernama.
The minister denied that the two Northrop F-5E jet engines were worth 100 million ringgit (S$42.5 million), saying they were valued at only 2.45 million ringgit.
The two engines were reportedly sold on the black market to a South American company after being taken from an air base. A Malaysian air force sergeant and a businessman have been charged in connection the theft. Their trial is continuing.