Hornbill Unleashed

October 3, 2017

Baru: Sarawak chiefs deserved to fly business class to meet PM

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:03 AM

baru-bian-james-masing Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian has taken Deputy Chief Minister James Jemut Masing to task for arranging to transport 180 village chiefs from the state in an “undignified manner” on two military planes to meet Prime Minister Najib Razak in Putrajaya.

The Ba’Kelalan state assemblyman said if Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, was serious about rewarding the chiefs for their services, he should have arranged for them to make the journey on a more comfortable commercial plane.

“Surely they deserve to fly business class on a comfortable plane? It is the least the DCM could have done for them after all the sacrifices they made,” he said.

Yesterday, Masing had said he had no hidden agenda when he led the community leaders from Kanowit, Song, Kapit and Belaga to meet Najib.

They were flown on two Airbus A400M Atlas military planes from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur on Sept 27 for a luncheon with Najib at his Seri Perdana official residence the next day.

According to Airbus’ description of the A400M on its website, its large cargo can accommodate 116 fully equipped troops or paratroops, seated in four longitudinal rows.

It says the aircraft is designed to make troops feel comfortable over long distances, and rested and fresh for immediate action upon arrival, thanks to the low noise and vibration levels in the cargo hold as well as the optimised air conditioning system.

In a statement today, Baru claimed that Masing’s explanation that he could not afford to fly the chiefs commercially, and therefore used the military planes, smacked of abuse of power as government assets were allegedly used for political activities.

“Not only was that an abuse of power. It was also a misuse of military assets as this was not an emergency situation that required the use of the military aircraft,” he said.

Masing had said that one-third of the delegates were people from Kanowit who had fought the communists in the 1970s.

“That is the least the military can do as payback time to these people who fought the communists during the communist threat,” he had said.

“Sri Perdana is a place where the prime minister entertains heads of state of foreign countries. This shows that the prime minister is very grateful for their sacrifices in defending the country from the communist threat,” he added.

Masing also said they had asked the prime minister to bring more development to their areas, in particular to build more roads, during the visit.

Baru asked why people from other places who had fought the communists were not included.

“I know a few ex-Sarawak rangers in Long Semadoh who fought the communists. Why are they not similarly ‘rewarded’?”

He said if Masing was serious about rewarding them, he should ask for their pensions to be raised.

“That would be fair to all ex-servicemen and certainly that would be more useful to them.

“It is no secret that the ex-servicemen have been calling for their pensions to be raised as they cannot make ends meet on what they are receiving now,” he said.

Source : FMT Online


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