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Cabinet Nod For Nuri Replacement
The deputy prime minister, who chaired the weekly cabinet meeting today, said he had informed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is currently on leave, and his cabinet colleagues on the need to speed up the replacement programme in the interest of the country.
"And they've given their approval," he told reporters here.
Najib, who is also Defence Minister, said the cabinet agreed that the procurement of the new helicopters be done through international open tender to be called in the next few months.
The cabinet decision was made in the wake of the Nuri helicopter crash at Genting Sempah, near Genting Highlands, on Friday which killed its six airforce crew members.
Najib said the Nuri replacement aircraft were likely to be delivered within the next three years and until then, the RMAF would continue using the US-made Nuri helicopters.
He added that the type and specifications of the new aircraft would be determined later.
"Hopefully we won't have to deal with another Nuri accident (pending the arrival of its replacement)," said Najib.
He said the Nuri was still safe to use and had proven effective in carrying out its daily tasks.
The wreckage of the helicopter was found five kilometres northwest of Genting Sempah at 1.24pm yesterday. It was reported missing at about 9.35am on Friday, 10 minutes after taking off for Kuantan from the RMAF air base in Sungai Besi here.