KUCHING, June 11: Smelling something fishy, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How wants Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to reveal details of the RM35 million project that involves the purchase of a fixed-wing plane to manage and monitor the state’s forest resources.
Speaking at a press conference here this afternoon, See, who is a lawyer and Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman, said the details should include the proposal by the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) and all that comes with buying the propeller-driven aircraft, such as the mission equipment, spare parts, warranties, technical support as well as training and implementation.
“It appears that there is a can of worms that comes with the purchase of this fixed-wing surveillance plane.
“By disclosing the details of this RM35 million project, the chief minister can uphold the integrity of his administration by weeding out suspected corrupt practices that are bleeding the state and nation,” he said.
See said since FDS was under the chief minister’s purview and that the public was concerned that the Federal Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) might have granted to Sarawak an excessively overpriced DA42M-NG Diamond surveillance plane, Abang Johari should immediately instruct the FDS to unveil its project proposal and the approval that was said to have been granted by the Finance Ministry in 2017.
See claimed the public were confused or overawed by the statements issued recently by former Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and FDS acting director Hamden Mohammad.
Two days ago, Wan Junaidi was reported to have said he was ready to give his full cooperation to the police regarding the matter. His statement came after See lodged a police report on the matter on June 9.
“I am ready to give and tell whatever I know in relation to the purchase of the Diamond aircraft and surveillance equipment that is added to the aircraft.
“I wish not to comment further and let the police do their work and investigation or research,” said Wan Junaidi.
Yesterday, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said the RM35 million was the cost for the overall project, which comprised the four-seater plane, mission equipment, spare parts, warranty, technical support as well as training and implementation for a period of five years.
Len Talif stressed that the RM35 million was not for the aircraft alone.
Recently, Hamden told DayakDaily that delivery of the plane to his office would be delayed because it was still undergoing technical testing by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
But in a statement yesterday, Mavcom denied having the plane for testing nor were they being in contact with FDS. Len, in his statement yesterday, rectified this by saying the plane was actually being vetted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).
See said: “I am appalled by the clarifications of Len not only with the twist that the RM35 million was with regards to the proposed project instead of the supposedly high-fidelity surveillance plane. I am even more stunned that Wan Junaidi and Hamden, who are parties to the matter, have little knowledge of what the RM35 million was used for, and they have to give even erroneous information with regards to the plane.
“The chief minister has said that integrity is one integral foundation of his administration when he announced the setting up of a Ministry of Integrity and Ombudsman in his office, a first in Malaysia.
“This is a fitting case to show that the chief minister is determined in upholding integrity of his state government … if he will instruct the FDS to publicise the details of this project.”
See also said he would be writing to the Finance Ministry to request for documents concerning the application and approval of the RM35 million project and the purchase of the plane. — DayakDaily