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KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The failure of armed forces’ officers to show up for their flight at the last minute caused Putrajaya to shoulder losses of over RM375,000, the Auditor-General’s first report for 2014 showed.
According to the Auditor-General, the Malaysian Armed Forces spent over RM112 million to charter flights from airlines Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia to shuttle its personnel between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, but saw as many as 1,138 officers failing to appear between 2011 to September 2014.
“As many as 1,079 users could not be replaced, resulting in losses to the government amounting to RM375,262 (0.3 per cent) of the total payment of RM112,284,293 that were made to MAS and AirAsia.
“This absence caused problems to management and losses to the government because this cost will still be paid,” the report noted.
The report said the Armed Forces pays the fees for the chartered flights in full as soon as the invoice is received.
For 2014, the Malaysian Armed Forces was able to find 59 replacement passengers, while no such data was available for 2012 and 2013.
Reasons given for the failure to go on the flights range from going to the wrong terminal, late check-ins, cancelling flights without informing the armed forces, accidents and health issues.
In the Ministry of Defence’s replies to the Auditor-General dated February 12 and March 5, it said that its internal probe said 85 out of the 1,079 personnel were asked to pay surcharge totalling RM22,780, with 60 still under investigation.
Out of that figure, 11 were found to have valid reasons, while 14 others missed their flights due to the airlines’ errors.
The ministry also said a taskforce has been set up to ensure that feedback on the action taken against the remaining 909 personnel will be provided to the Financial Division and the National Audit Department before this July 30.
It also said MAS and AirAsia had agreed after a meeting on March 3 this year to not charge the Armed Forces if emergencies had resulted in failure to show up for flights.