KUALA KANGSAR, Apr 30 – Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz today urged the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to take legal action against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for lying about his allegations that his personal jet had been sabotaged.
He said Mahathir’s accusation was serious and should not be taken lightly as it jeopardised the image of the national aviation industry and the confidence of the world in the safety of the country’s transportation industry.
“The CAAM must use the law because Mahathir’s accusation is an irresponsible act by a former leader, made without any evidence. If there is an accusation that there was an act of sabotage on a plane, which was in a guarded area, it could jeopardise the world’s confidence in public transportation,” he said in a press conference held after officiating the Kota Lama Kanan Village Library near here today.
Mohamed Nazri who is the incumbent and BN candidate for the Padang Rengas parliamentary seat was commenting on a statement by VistaJet, an aircraft company, that there were no elements of sabotage on the private aircraft Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was set to travel in.
Mahathir claimed that the aircraft he was travelling in to go to Langkawi was damaged by certain parties. Mohamed Nazri said Mahathir’s accusation was serious as CAAM’s investigations found that it was untrue and he was clearly lying in order to get sympathy votes in the 14th general elections (GE14).
Meanwhile, in BENTONG, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Pakatan Harapan Chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was still welcomed to furnish the police with information if he still insisted that his chartered plane was sabotaged.
He said despite the preliminary report by CAAM released yesterday that there was no act of sabotage on the plane, the ministry would not mind conducting further investigations if Dr Mahathir could support his accusation with evidence.
“The plane had technical issues even before it took off from Singapore … because the tyre pressure was low even in Singapore, they brought the plane to Subang and tried to inflate the tyre … unfortunately, they couldn’t, and they had to change the tyre.
“But that day, they could not change the tyre on time, that was why the flight could not take off, it is just a technical issue, where they could not change the tyre on time, that’s why they had to take another flight,” he told reporters.
Liow who was met on his third day campaigning as the Barisan Nasional candidate to defend his Bentong Parliamentary seat here reiterated that the ministry considered the accusation a serious matter as it involved the safety of the plane and passengers.
On Saturday, CAAM chairman Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman was reported as saying that the aircraft was unable to fly due to air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel, which is a minor and routine technical fault.
Dr Mahathir had claimed on Friday that the plane he had boarded for the 14th General Election’ nomination day to Langkawi was sabotaged. He claimed that just before takeoff, the pilot announced that the plane had been damaged and immediate repairs could not be made.
In BERA, Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob described Dr Mahathir’s insistence that his plane was sabotaged merely as a drama because the incident had no basis.
Ismail Sabri said such dramas were not something new as Dr Mahathir has a record for not admitting his mistakes but would put the blame on others. “He will continue with his political gimmicks to get sympathy,” he told reporters after viewing the construction of the Kampung Seberang Guai bridge here today. — Bernama