KUALA LUMPUR: Where is the official government jet that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was to use to return to Malaysia from Hawaii?
That was the question posed by PKR Youth information chief Lee Chean Chung following speculation that the prime minister flew back to Malaysia on a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) transport plane bearing tail number M53-01.
Najib went to the United States via the government official aircraft with the tail number 9M-NAA, but cut short his holiday and returned to oversee flood relief operations two days ago after coming under fire as photographs of him playing golf with US President Barack Obama went viral.
A check on the flight tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed that the Airbus used by Najib and his entourage left Honolulu on Christmas Day and ended up in Indianapolis in the midwestern state of Indiana.
The plane has since been untrackable publicly on flight tracking website Flightradar24.
“I want to know why the official jet did not bring him back but instead a RMAF plane was used, which constitutes additional costs.
“How did the official jet travel eastwards and end up in Indianapolis? Who is using the jet?” Lee asked in a statement yesterday.
The Semambu assemblyman said the onus is on Najib to explain the use of the jet to the public to quell mounting speculation.
Astro Awani reported that Najib arrived at 1.40pm on Saturday in Kelantan’s Sultan Ismail Petra Airport and was immediately briefed by the National Security Council on the flood situation.
FlightRadar24.com had showed that the RMAF’s Boeing 777 jetliner departed from Subang airport at 5.34am on the same day and arrived in Hong Kong at 8.53am.
Two hours later, it left Hong Kong for Kota Baru and touched down at 1.40pm.
Flood relief workers are still hampered by logistics issues in the struggle to send food and water supplies to flood-hit areas in Kelantan and Terengganu.
It was reported that food and water supplies have been flown to Kota Baru by commercial and military flights, while Malaysians from other parts of the country have also contributed supplies via lorries to the flood-hit east coast states.
But aid workers said a lack of boats was hampering distribution to many villages cut off from Kota Baru.
It is understood that electricity cuts and flooded roads have also stopped banks from replenishing automatic teller machines and petrol companies from supplying fuel to the flood-hit villages. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 30, 2014.