‘Decision to ground jets up to Armed Forces and RMAF’

MELAKA: Any decision to ground Hawk 108 jets following Tuesday’s crash in Penang will be determined by the Armed Forces and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chiefs, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

The Defence Minister said the decision must also be based on the finding of the special investigation board formed to probe the matter.

“It is not a decision that should be made by me. It must come from the Armed Forces and the RMAF.

“I believe that the Armed Forces and Air Force chief can update me on the need to use the Hawk 108 jets,” he told a press conference here, where he was accompanied by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

During the training flight incident at night in Butterworth, Kapt Mohamad Affendi Bustamy was killed while his co-pilot Mej Mohd Fareez Omar was injured.

Hishammuddin said the Hawk 108 jet squadron is still active.

“I did not receive any report related to the squadron itself. But for that particular Hawk 108 jet, we have to wait until the probe is completed,” he said.

In a separate statement, Hishammuddin added that he has ordered the Armed Forces and RMAF to update him and the public from time to time.

He has also instructed the Air Force deputy commander to visit Mej Fareez.

“Alhamdulillah, I am informed that Mej Fareez is in stable condition,” said Hishammuddin.

According to records, RMAF has eight Hawk 108s, on top of 16 Hawk 208 jets in its roster.

A total of nine Hawk fighter jets of the RMAF have crashed or been involved in emergency landings since 1996, including Tuesday’s crash.

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