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Dap Sabah maintains stand on helicopters December 17, 2011

Posted by wong jimmy in Abuse.
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The Borneo Post

KOTA KINABALU: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sabah maintains that the two helicopters bought by Sabah Air are useless as they are just sitting in the hangar and not benefiting the people of Sabah.

Its chairman, Jimmy Wong, said DAP Sabah was never wrong when it said the two expensive Eurocopter helicopters, AS355NP and EC145, were nothing but scrap iron.

“Sabah Air chairman Datuk Yusoff Kassim said DAP’s statement was an outrageous lie and an irresponsible accusation that tarnished the good name of Sabah Air while Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming criticised me for labelling the choppers as scrap iron.

“Sabah Air CEO Manu Sasidharan went at length to say about Sabah Air’s business in countries like Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Singapore among others. He also said a helicopter sitting in a hanger does not make it a scrap metal and being an aviation man all these years he finds it quite blasphemous.

“We would like to reemphasize that the two helicopters are scrap iron as until today they have not earned any revenue for the company. They are parked in the hanger and while the EC145 was put on show and demonstration at the Lima airshow in Langkawi for the seller, Eurocopter Malaysia Sdn Bhd, it was with a lease of just one Ringgit per day.

“How could Sabah Air save RM844,729.21 from this deal (as claimed)? This is called penny wise pound foolish. Eurocopters could have spent more if they have to bring in and then ship back their helicopters to their country of origin. Who are Yusoff, Pang and Manu trying to fool?” said Wong at a press conference here yesterday.

Wong had previously questioned the logic behind the purchase of the two aircrafts, which he claimed to be underused and a waste of public fund.

He had also questioned the capability of Sabah Air and its business officers as a business entity, attracting immediate reaction from its CEO and chairman as well as the Youth and Sports Minister Pang, who was previously the chairman of the company.

Manu in his response had offered to meet face-to-face with anyone who actually made the allegations minus the political issues, and discuss the technical side of Sabah Air’s operation.

For this, Jimmy said he was more than happy to meet Manu and suggested the latter provide the date, venue and time for the meeting.

On the Christmas joy ride offered by Sabah Air to him, he said he had accepted the invitation and hope it would not only be for him but the air service company would offer the same to the public to allow them to see for themselves that the two expensive machines were actually in good condition and could be used.

“Not only this will allow Sabahans to view these two magnificent flying machines but to check their suitability as claimed. It would be interesting to see if the houses around the present helicopter landing site, for example in Kampung Buayan in Moyog, can withstand the power of these machines during landing and takeoff,” he said.

On the Sabah Air’s financial situation, Wong said Yusoff, Pang and Manu could easily defend themselves by publishing the Sabah Air audited account for 2010, where it made RM1.6 million profit.

However, he said it must not be forgotten that Sabah Air still has accumulated losses of over RM3 million.

“We must focus on the subject matter which is the two new helicopters. We would specifically like to see the flying hours by these two helicopters, who use their services and the revenue generated. This will make it easier for the trio to justify the purchase of the two choppers.

“The three must also be reminded that the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 has stated that Sabah Air had incurred accumulated losses to the tune of more than RM4.7 million in 2009. The claim by Pang that the company made a profit during his chairmanship does not mean anything if the company continues to be in the red.

“Sabah Air is a losing entity unless otherwise proven. Yusoff who was formerly the permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry should be well versed with the financial situation of Sabah Air,” he said.

Wong went on to suggest that Yusoff should study the AG’s report diligently and find ways and means to turn the company around before it reached a point of no turning back.

He noted that there were five subsidiaries in Sabah Air and except for the travel agency, Intra-Travel, the rest are dormant.

He said DAP would enlighten the rakyat further on the performance of the company based on the latest available financial statements, and discuss about the other financial mismanagements of the company as highlighted in the Auditor General’s Report.

As the chairman, he said Yusoff should ensure Sabah Air was given contracts not only on the flying doctor and medivac services but also services required in the oil and gas industry.

He added that Sabah Air should be given priority to all contracts requiring their services in the Petronas oil and gas industry in Sabah, suggesting that the Chief Minister who is also the Finance Minister to give these contracts to Sabah Air.

“As the chairman, Yusoff should be pro-active and alert to the ever-changing dynamics in air transportation. The MAS-AirAsia merger and the slow decline of Firefly should spark excitement in Sabah Air. An opportunity is opening for Sabah Air to go big in the airline business. The Borneo, Philippines and Indonesian markets are big enough for Sabah Air as a start,” he said.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2011/12/16/dap-sabah-maintains-stand-on-helicopters/#ixzz1gkYuM2Qe

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