A Helicopter ‘Breached Lockdown Rules’ To Collect Someone’s Takeaway

Police want to know more about the elusive customer behind the order.

Aug 2 2021, 8:59am

Police in Malaysia want more information about the alleged chartering of a helicopter that flew from the capital Kuala Lumpur to another city to collect takeaway food orders — breaching pandemic control measures (and going viral on social media) in the process.

While its state of emergency has since been lifted, much of Malaysia remains on strict lockdown as it continues to see new coronavirus caseloads of up to 17,000 a day.

Interstate travel has been prohibited for months to curb the spread of the disease and several high-profile ruling party politicians and local statesmen have been caught and let off with low fines.

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But the helicopter trip was a new level of boldness, and an online outcry ensued last week after photos and videos showing the red chopper landing in an open field in the city of Ipoh were shared widely. Malaysian media later picked up on the debate and reported that the helicopter had collected 36 packets of rice from a local Ipoh eatery. 

An error occurred while retrieving the Tweet. It might have been deleted.
An error occurred while retrieving the Tweet. It might have been deleted.

Located in northwestern Malaysia, Ipoh is the state capital of Perak and is 110 miles away from Kuala Lumpur. The helicopter, media outlets noted, had technically violated interstate and interdistrict travel bans that were in place to prevent the surge of COVID-19 in the country.

Malaysia’s civil aviation authority confirmed the two-hour journey by the helicopter that was said to be operated by a private aircraft company. “We have recorded statements from the complainant, the food vendor, the owner of the helicopter, and all individuals involved in the complaint,” Perak police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said in a statement.

“Permission was given for helicopter maintenance and not for the purpose of picking up orders of nasi ganja.”

“Permission was given for helicopter maintenance and not for the purpose of picking up orders of nasi ganja.”

He was referring to the popular Malaysian mixed rice dish nasi kandar, sometimes referred to as “nasi ganja” because of its addictive curries and accompanying side dishes like chicken, fish and salted egg.

The owner of the helicopter told local media that “all papers were in order” and the flight was “legitimately organized.”

“I have nothing much to say except that it was a quick pick-up,” he told the Free Malaysia Today news portal, adding that he had appointed lawyers to handle the matter. 

Following the news, the owner of the food stall in Ipoh said that business had since picked up for him and that he was seeing large crowds of customers again. “I didn’t expect such good business again,” he told the New Straits Times newspaper. “I believe this is also my 'rezeki' [good fortune] after the news of the helicopter delivery was reported.”

But he did not address further details about the extravagant order and remained tight-lipped about the mystery customer, whose identity has not yet been revealed.

Follow Heather Chen on Twitter.

Tagged:

malaysia, worldnews, world coronavirus

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