Legislator calls for investigation of MA-60 plane purchase

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A lawmakers called on the government here on Tuesday to investigate the purchase of Merpati Nusantara Airlines` MA-60.

"The purchase of MA-60 which is carried out under a compromised mechanism should be investigated. China has threatened to cancel its financing scheme on Indonesian 10,000 MW power plants projects if Merpati cancels its contract," Ecky Awal Muharram of the House Commission VI on trade and state firms, said here on Tuesday.

He said that parties involved in the controversial purchase of MA-60 must be investigated. Merpati is a state-owned company whose funding came from the people`s money.

A Merpati Nusantra Airlines` MA-60 crashed in Kaiman Bay, West Papua, on Saturday. It was the second accident befalling a MA-60 aircraft in Indonesia and the fifth in the world.

Following the accident, the question over its purchase is arising while this type of aircraft has no certification from the Europe Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

It only has certification from the Chinese aviation authority.

It was purchased under a Sub Loan Agrement (SLA) funding system where the loan was given to the government and would be repaid by Merpati.

The agreement was signed by the government with the Chinese Exim Bank repayable in 15 years by Merpati.

"This means that the government is the underwriter of the loan," Ecky said.

Ecky who is a lawmaker of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), questioned the government`s attitude towards the risk trend in MA-60 accidents which were categorically high in Indonesia and in other countries.

That`s why the purchase mechanism and system of the aircraft needed to be reviewed because it had the potential to disadvantage the state money and harm the safety of the people.