A former air force major has expressed “shock” that the government has chosen to spend on a new VVIP jet when the money could have been better spent on a badly needed Awacs (airborne warning and control system) surveillance planes.
“The revelation by Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli is very, very shocking and saddens me,” said former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) pilot Zaidi Ahmad.
He was referring to Rafizi’s claim that the government has purchased a RM465 million Airbus ACJ320 for what the Prime Minister’s Office this week claimed was for the use of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
Zaidi lamented that small countries such as Singapore has owned an Awacs aircraft since 1987, “While Malaysia that is many times larger than Singapore doesn’t even have one?”
The former major said had the government spent on an Awacs plane instead of another executive jet, the tragic disappearance of MAS Flight MH370 could have been averted.
He said the Awacs plane could have detected the MAS plane as it flew off radar over Malaysian airspace.
Zaidi has been a fierce critic of the government’s mishandling of the airplane’s disappearance at the early stages.
Last week he challenged Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to resign over the air force’s failure to detect the plane as it turned back from its Beijing route and headed across Malaysia’s northern airspace.
The ill-fated flight vanished off commercial radar in the early hours of March 8, 2014 as it entered Vietnam airspace.
However after an initial scramble to search the sea off south Vietnam, the Malaysian government admitted that an unidentified object had been detected flying towards Penang that fateful morning.
It was eventually confirmed the object was MH370 flying towards its till today undetermined final location somewhere in the south Indian Ocean.
Till today no one has been held accountable for the tragic oversight.