KUALA LUMPUR: The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has found no evidence of sabotage on a private plane that was to fly Dr Mahathir Mohamed from Subang in Selangor to Langkawi on Friday (Apr 27).
In a statement on Saturday, CAAM chairman Azharuddin Rahman said the Bombardier Challenger CL60 aircraft registered under Malta tail number 9H-VFD and operated by VistaJet Limited was unable to fly due to a minor and routine technical fault, namely air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel.
"Today we conducted a thorough investigation, including a verification of the aircraft documentation, physical inspection of the aircraft and interviews with the pilots and maintenance personnel of [Mahathir’s] private aircraft," he said.
“A check on the aircraft documentation found that there was no recent reported defect except for air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel which was logged on Apr 27 by a maintenance personnel. The tyre pressure was low and after inflating, the pressure was still dropping at 2 psi per minute,” the statement said, adding that the tyre could not be replaced due to the non-availability of a spare tyre.
"Allegations of sabotage against an aircraft are extremely serious and could impact the reputation of Malaysian aviation and the country as a whole," the statement added.
On Friday, CAAM was ordered to investigate Dr Mahathir's claims that his flight was cancelled just before takeoff after the pilot detected some damage and immediate repairs could not be made.
The former prime minister, who was to leave for Langkawi for the nomination day of the 14th General Election, claimed that the aircraft might have been sabotaged.