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‘RM35 mln total cost for overall Diamond aircraft project’

KUCHING: The cost of RM35 million is the total cost for overall Diamond aircraft project which consists of aircraft, mission equipment, spare parts, warranty, technical support, training and implementation for a period of five years, said Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh.

According to him, the cost of RM35 million was not borne by the Sarawak Government but by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).

Proposal for acquiring the technology was submitted by the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) to the MNRE under the 11th Malaysia Plan. The process of procurement was approved by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Federal Cabinet in 2017, Len Talif said in a press statement today.

He was responding to a statement by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How who wanted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe FDS purchase of a Diamond special mission aircraft for aerial surveillance and mapping for RM35 million.

Besides lodging a police report yesterday to call for an immediate investigation into the matter, See said said he would go to MACC tomorrow (June 11) to find out if a probe has been carried out on the purchase of the DA42M-NG Diamond plane and lodge a complaint if necessary.

Len Talif emphasised that Sarawak is the largest region in Malaysia covering a total area of 12.4 million hectares (ha), of which 63.7 per cent or 7.9 million ha are under forest cover as compared to Peninsular Malaysia (5.8 million ha).

Due to the vast and undulating landscape as well as difficult accessibility, the FDS has no choice but to leverage on the latest technology to manage and monitor Sarawak’s forest resources through the use of advance sensing technology such as satellite imaging and reconnaissance, airborne hyperspectral sensing, Radar and drone. This technology has been declassified for civilian use for the past decades and is not limited to the use of military and aviation, he explained.

Len Talif said the FDS will be the implementing agency of the project as they have the expertise and skill to operate the system.

Under this project, FDS will share its expertise and service with other Government agencies that require such knowledge throughout the country.

He also clarified that registration of the aircraft is currently being vetted by Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and not Malaysian Aviation Commission as reported by DayakDaily.

This project is not intended for any economic gain but mainly for research, management and monitoring of foresy and natural resources.

Len Talif said: Since YB See Chee How had indicated to lodge with the police and MACC, we will leave ut to the competent authorities to investigate the matter. We will be transparent and give full cooperation to the authorities’ concern.

Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT

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