Wednesday 3 October 2012

Firm which maintains RMAF planes 'inept', audit finds

  • Aidila Razak
  • 6:33PM Oct 3, 2012
An official audit found that a company hired to conduct maintenance work for Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) airplanes is incompetent.

Debating the Budget in the Dewan Rakyat today, Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) said that such incompetence has led to up to 30 Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer airplanes being grounded.

“Cadets have not been able to undergo flight training for two months now as 30 PC-7 planes cannot be used. PC-7 planes are serviced by (the company).

“RMAF’s technical evaluation found that the company is sub-standard and does not meet their specifications... and the technical evaluation committee has instructed that the planes be sent overseas for servicing, as (the company)’s ability is doubtful,” he said.

According to a copy of the audit report distributed to the media later, the State Airworthiness Authority found that the “competency of technical personnel” of the company is “very doubtful and is in need of immediate action”.

The report dated Aug 24, 2012, however, does not state that the low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft need to be sent overseas for servicing or that the planes are grounded.

Malaysiakini is withholding the name of the company pending a response.

Personnel ‘failed’ tests

The audit team headed by RMAF Lt-Kol Ramli Jusoh found that the personnel were not properly certified according to regulations, with some having “failed” refresher tests, while equipment were not checked on a regular basis.

“In addition, (the company) did not provide report of investigation for unairworthy conditions to the Directorate-General of Technical Airworthiness (DGAT) as defined in the... regulations and procedure,” Ramli noted.

“Commitment must be given by the company to handle the non-conformances immediately to avoid unwanted things to happen to the planes which are serviced by this company because it can affect the technical worthiness of the plane,” he said.

According to Mahfuz, the company also handles the maintenance of other RMAF aircraft, including the VVIP carrier, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, Dassault Falcon, Fokker F-28 and Nuri (Sikorsky S-61A-4).

“(The company) is also a subsidiary of (another company) which services the Sukhoi jets... what happens if we go to war? What about the VVIP carrier, which carries the Agong? I want an explanation from the Defence Ministry,” he told the Dewan Rakyat. 

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