Civil Aviation Authority: Probe shows no sabotage on Dr M’s plane

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives to submit his nomination papers in Pekan Kuah, Langkawi April 28, 2018. The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has refuted claim by Mahathir that his aircraft which was supposed to depart from the Subang airport yesterday was sabotaged. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives to submit his nomination papers in Pekan Kuah, Langkawi April 28, 2018. The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has refuted claim by Mahathir that his aircraft which was supposed to depart from the Subang airport yesterday was sabotaged. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has refuted claim by Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that his aircraft which was supposed to depart from the Subang airport yesterday was sabotaged.

CAAM Chairman Datuk Seri Azharuddin A Rahman, through a statement, said thorough investigations conducted by the authority found no indication whatsoever of any sabotage on the aircraft.

He said their investigations included a verification of the aircraft documentation, a physical inspection, and interviews with the pilots and maintenance personnel of the private plane.

Azharuddin explained the aircraft was unable to depart from the airport due to a minor and routine technical fault.

He said checks conducted by CAAM on the Bombardier Challenger CL60 today showed no major defects to the aircraft, except for air leakage from the front left nose wheel.

He said the leakage was logged only on April 27, the day of the supposed flight.

This comes as Dr Mahathir had claimed he was unable to travel from the Subang airport to Pulau Langkawi due to sabotage on his aircraft yesterday.

Reports quoted the opposition prime ministerial candidate claiming he had already boarded the plane in anticipation of taking off, but was told by the pilot of a leaking tyre. 

“CAAM was informed by maintenance personnel that they found the affected tyre pressure to be low.

“They serviced the tire, and on monitoring still found the pressure to be dropping at 2psi per minute,” he explained. 

Azharuddin elaborated saying personnel were unable to change the leaking tyre due to the lack of spare tyres.

“CAAM also performed an inspection of the affected left tyre, which matched and verified the reports of the aircraft’s maintenance personnel,” he added.

Azharuddin warned that allegations of sabotage against an aircraft were extremely serious and could impact the reputation of Malaysian aviation and the country, especially during the sensitive general election period.

“Sabotage against an aircraft is an extremely serious allegation, which we are duty bound to investigate thoroughly.

“It is morally wrong to make such wild and false allegations for the sake of political gain,” the statement read.

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