By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Aug 9: Minister of Works Baru Bian will be getting in touch with the Ministry of Defense to assist the family members of the two missing Sarawakian soldiers promptly.
He met the family members of L/Cpl Moses Logers and Cpl David Edmun Rapi at Kuching International Airport (KIA) upon arrival from Kuala Lumpur this morning.
They have requested for his assistance so to be able to get in touch with the Defense Ministry and get proper updates and communications from anyone from there.
“They came to me for help and assistance, to highlight this issue, and they really want, first, the search and rescue (SAR) operation to commence further immediately. Second, they would like to be there, at the SAR areas to assist if they can but they just want to know the development of the case,” he told a press conference at KIA.
“And third, if possible, they want to have an audience with the Defense Minister (Mohamad Sabu), his deputy or even the ministry’s officers, who probably would be able to brief them further of what is happening because they are in the dark,” he explained.
Baru also revealed that the family members had went to Pulau Perak on their own expenses on July 23, but was disappointed with the SAR efforts after seeing it with their own eyes.
“I was informed that they were reported missing on July 19. So the family members took the initiative to go to Perlis on July 23. They requested for permission to make their way to the Pulau Perak itself to participate and assist in search and rescue.
“On July 26 they were given permit to go and they chartered their own boat. That’s where I assisted them a bit in their chartering fees (for the boat),” he added.
The family members informed Baru that they were very disappointed because they did not see any evidence of search and rescue activities on the island with only 13 army personnel stationed there.
The cost of the chartered boat from Langkawi to Pulau Perak is about RM10,000 and took more than three hours one way, according to one of the family members.
“Secondly they tried their best to find out what really happened and they were not given the full picture or information whatsoever,” he added.
Baru also said the family members only managed to meet the commanding officer of the search and rescue operations at a roadside coffeeshop there, and not much information were given.
“So efforts to try to contact him after that was also very difficult. After they had come back (to Kuching), they heard that the search and rescue operation is now being halted unless there are new evidence.
“So today they came to see me again and this is very urgent to them because of the unsatisfactory ways, as far as they’re concerned, the authorities deal with the case,” he added.— DayakDaily