DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has urged a public inquiry into the tragic May 5 helicopter crash in Batang Lupar during the 11th Sarawak general election which caused the death of six people, including a deputy minister and another MP.
"The latest helicopter disaster should be the cause for a full inquiry into the safety of helicopter flights in the country, and the lessons to be learnt from the history of helicopter crashes in Malaysia, particularly in Sarawak on the rules covering helicopter flights," he said last night.
Speaking at the DAP post-mortem on the 11th Sarawak state polls in Kuala Lumpur, Lim said that the crash, which killed Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Noriah Kasnon and Kuala Kangsar MP Wan Mohammad Khair-ir Anua Wan Ahmad, was sad and tragic.
Four others, including the pilot were also killed. They were on the way from Betong to Kuching.
Lim hoped that a full public inquiry into the tragic Eurocopter A350 crash could determine the cause of the tragedy.
"I fully agree with the Bernama chairperson Azman Ujang that Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, does not have a good record on helicopter flights,” he said.
Azman estimated that there had been 15 helicopter crashes in over 15 years with the loss of 33 lives, including VIPs - and most noteworthy was another MP and the minister without portfolio, Jamaluddin Jarjis," Lim said.
He said that Azman estimated that some 80 helicopters were in service during the two-week Sarawak state election campaign, with most outsourced from the Philippines and Indonesia.
"Were all the helicopters air-worthy and the foreign pilots familiar with the local terrain and the peculiar weather patterns in Sarawak?" asked Lim.