Archived: Pakatan MPs want ‘U-turn’ deputy minister punished

Abdul Rahim BakriKUALA LUMPUR: Following Abdul Rahim Bakri’s ‘turn-back’ blunder, Pakatan Rakyat MPs today moved to refer the Deputy Defence Minister to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee for making a false statement to the Parliament.

“Which version (of his statement) is correct? The House should refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee as we do not want a repeat of such incidents in the future,” Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim was referring to Abdul Rahim’s U-turn on the reason why the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had not probed an unidentified aircraft signal which appeared on the military radar in the wee hours of March 8.

Abdul Rahim told Parliament on March 26 the air force had assumed the aircraft was not hostile and thought that the aircraft received a directive from the air traffic control in Subang to turn back.

But the next day, he released a brief statement admitting that his remarks were his own assumption and were not accurate.

However, Lim pointed out today that action should still be taken against the deputy minister as the “inaccurate” statement was still in the Parliament’s Hansard, despite Abdul Rahim rectifying his statement to the media.

But Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee refrained from making a decision, noting that Abdul Rahim should be allowed to clarify his statements to the House first.

He told the Dewan Rakyat that it would require time to look through the Hansard before the deputy minister is requested to appear before Parliament.

Flight MH370 went missing on a routine flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing, China, carrying 239 passengers and crew on March 8.

It had been established that the jetliner had done a turn back maneuver, which meant it had deviated from its original flight path and embarked upon a new route.

Many have pointed out that a telephone call from the military to the air traffic control on that morning could have averted the tragedy and saved lives and millions of ringgit used for search and rescue operations.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced two weeks ago that evidence showed the flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean, dashing all hopes of any survivors.

Search for the plane’s wreckage has entered Day 24, with no objects or debris related to the plane found yet.