Aviation Authority Chief Denies Dr M's Allegation About His Private Jet Being Sabotaged
"There was no indication, whatsoever, of any sabotage."
On 27 April, a day before nomination day, Dr Mahathir had claimed, after he was informed that his private jet had malfunctioned, that it may have been sabotaged. He and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah were scheduled to fly to Langkawi from Petaling Jaya's Subang Airport.
"It was lucky that we knew earlier or else the aircraft might have taken off and crashed," Dr Mahathir said, adding that he was forced to loan a separate jet in order to make the trip to Langkawi for a Pakatan Harapan high-tea event with the Chinese and Indian communities at the De Baron Resort, according to a report in Malaysiakini.
"I think this was planned by someone. It has never happened before. I've done this more than a thousand times and this is the first time something like this happened," he said.
According to Dr Mahathir, while he had warned Harapan leaders that certain parties might employ measures to obstruct opposition candidates from arriving at nomination centres, he did not expect to be a victim of this himself.
"Looks like they are going as far as wanting to bring down a plane and cause death. They are so scared that they are willing to kill someone in order to win.
"I believe the rakyat won’t be in favour of a leader that uses such ways to win elections," he claimed while adding that he won't be lodging a police report on the matter, as he believed such a move would prove futile, Malaysiakini reported.
A day later, Azharuddin A. Rahman, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), after an investigation that was completed within a day, denied Dr Mahathir's allegation of sabotage
The Aviation Authority chief said, CAAM, following a thorough investigation, has found that "there was no indication, whatsoever, of any sabotage". Azharuddin claimed that it was "a minor and routine technical fault" that prevent the jet from flying.
The Aviation Authority "conducted a thorough investigation, including a verification of the aircraft documentation, physical inspection of the aircraft, and interviews with the pilots and maintenance personnel of Tun Mahathir's private aircraft."
"The aircraft's documentation found that there is no recent reported defect except for air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel, which was logged on 27th April 2018," according to a media statement by Azharuddin.
The Aviation Authority chief stated that there was air leakage from the left-hand nose tyre of the jet. Azharuddin added that the tyre could not be replaced "due to the non-availability of spares."
While denying Dr M's allegation, Azharuddin issued a strongly worded criticism saying it could hurt Malaysia's aviation reputation
"Allegations of sabotage against an aircraft are extremely serious and could impact the reputation of Malaysian aviation and the country as a whole, especially in this sensitive general election period.
"It is morally wrong to make such wild and false allegations for the sake of political gain," his media statement read, which was published by NST Online.
In other news, on Nomination Day, several of Pakatan Harapan candidates' nomination papers were rejected by EC:
Other GE14 stories on SAYS: