PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has maintained that there were deliberate attempts to stop him from flying to Langkawi before Nomination Day despite two aviation agencies denying that his plane was sabotaged.
On Sunday (April 29), the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and private jet charter firm VistaJet both released statements that there is no indication that Dr Mahathir's chartered plane was sabotaged.
CAAM chairman Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that the aircraft was unable to fly due to air leakage from the left-hand nose wheel, which is a minor and routine technical fault.
"The denial by the CAAM is not the result of a proper investigation, it is just a denial to say that what I've said is not true," Dr Mahathir responded in a statement on Monday (April 30).
According to Dr Mahathir, the leakage from the front wheel could pose a serious danger and the pilot informed him that it could not be repaired after attempting to do so.
Dr Mahathir said he then contacted three friends to lend their aircraft for his flight to Langkawi but his requests were denied.
"Normally they would lend me their aircraft. But this time they refused, and one of them indicated that he is under pressure not to lend me his aircraft," Dr Mahathir claimed, adding that neither CAAM nor VistaJet offered him an alternative aircraft.
"So combining the two facts - that the plane is damaged and cannot fly and I cannot get my friends to lend me their plane - it is logical to believe that there is a deliberate attempt to stop me from going to Langkawi," he added.
He said in the end, he was able to get to Langkawi in time for Nomination Day due to help from another friend who had chartered a plane to go to Singapore.
Adding that the front wheel leakage is a rare occurrence to happen at such an important time, Dr Mahathir claims that this is part of Barisan Nasional's attempts to stop Pakatan Harapan from winning the election.
"One of the tricks (for the ruling party to win) of course is to stop me from being nominated, and especially me, because I happen to be the leader of the Opposition, and if I am not nominated as a candidate, this will have a negative effect on Pakatan," he said.
Dr Mahathir claimed on Friday (March 27) that the plane he had boarded for a flight to Langkawi was sabotaged.
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