KUALA KANGSAR: Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has urged the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to take legal action against Dr Mahathir Mohamad for lying in 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.
“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 our public transportation,” he said yesterday.
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 Mahathir was set to travel in.
Mahathir claimed that the aircraft in which he was to travel to Langkawi had been damaged by certain parties.
Nazri said Mahathir’s accusation was serious as CAAM’s investigations had found that it was untrue. He added that the former prime minister was clearly lying in order to get sympathy votes in the coming election.
Meanwhile, in Bentong, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Mahathir was still welcome to furnish the police with information if he continued to insist that his chartered plane had been sabotaged.
He said despite the preliminary report by CAAM released earlier that there was no act of sabotage on the plane, the ministry did not mind conducting further investigations if 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, that’s why they had to take another flight,” he told reporters.
On Saturday, CAAM chairman Azharuddin Abdul Rahman was reported as saying that the aircraft was unable to fly due to air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel, a minor and routine technical fault.
Mahathir had claimed on Friday that the plane which was meant to take him to Langkawi for nomination day had been sabotaged.
He said that just before takeoff, the pilot announced that the plane had been damaged and that immediate repairs could not be made.
In Bera, Umno Supreme Council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob described Mahathir’s insistence that his plane was sabotaged as drama, adding that the incident had no basis.
Sabri said such dramas were not new as Mahathir had a record for not admitting to his mistakes and putting the blame on others.
“He will continue with his political gimmicks to get sympathy,” he told reporters here yesterday.
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