Zam, are you “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”?

Former information minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin wondered in his blog what if the roles were reversed in the case of a Malay woman threatening an elderly Chinese man with a steering wheel lock following an accident, how would the “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs reacted if the person punished was a Chinese”.

He asked: “Wouldn’t they have considered the punishment to be racist since it was a small case?” he asked in his blog posting.

Zainuddin was commenting on the Kuantan Magistrate’s Court decision to fine Siti Fairah Asyikin Kamaruddin, also known as Kiki, RM5,000 and ordering her to engage in 240 hours of community service.

Kiki landed in trouble after a video of her threatening the senior citizen Sim Siak Heong went viral online.

It is shocking and the height of irresponsibility for a former Cabinet Minister to frame an issue on law-breaking through such racial and even racist lens.

Even more reprehensible and deplorable is his dismissal of “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs” as communal organisations utterly bereft of Malaysian nationalism or patriotism.

Zainuddin should first answer whether he is “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”, for it is only when he regards himself as in the former category that it is worthwhile, useful and productive to engage in any discussion with him pertaining to any subject whether concerning nation-building or fostering harmonious and congenial inter-racial and inter-religious relations in our plural nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians must be reminded of motto “United we stand, divided we fall” and should talk the language of unity, moderation, tolerance and justice and not the language of division, extremism, hatred and injustice

Parliament reached rare unanimity yesterday when MPs from both sides of the political divide united to unanimously adopt a motion in an emergency meeting to condemn the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 last Thursday in Ukraine as a heinous and barbaric crime against humanity, killing 298 passengers and crew on board.

The rare unity shown by Members of Parliament yesterday mirrored the unity of Malaysians transcending race, religion, region or politics shown by Malaysians in the past week at the second airline disaster and tragedy to hit the national airline, Malaysian Airlines and the nation in less than five months – the MH 370 disappearance disaster with 239 passengers/crew on board on March 8 and the MH 17 disaster on July 17.

While Malaysians unite in grief and sorrow, extending condolences, support, sympathy and solidarity with the bereaved families, relatives and friends of the 537 victims of the two air disasters, as well as encouragement and support to the MAS employees so that they will be not be demoralised, all Malaysians should pause and ponder why we are only capable of unity when there is disaster and catastrophe but not during ordinary times.

Under the shadow of the two air disasters in less than five months, with the country still reeling from the shock and trauma at being the epicentre of these two catastrophes with world-wide repercussions, Malaysians must be reminded afresh of the truth and power of the adage “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Phone Diplomacy in Ukraine Crisis Lifts Malaysian Leader’s Standing

New York Times
JULY 23, 2014

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Intervention on Flight 17 Pays Off

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — It was not an aide or a diplomat on the phone with pro-Russian rebels, trying to get them to relinquish the bodies and the “black boxes” from the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine — it was the leader of Malaysia himself.

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia played an unusual personal role, holding a series of cellphone conversations with a rebel leader and then coaching a Malaysian colonel on what to say as he passed through nearly a dozen rebel checkpoints on his way to the crash scene, according to a person who was with the prime minister much of the time.

Mr. Najib’s success has at least temporarily restored his standing at home, where his government was battered by accusations of incompetence after the disappearance in March of another Malaysia Airlines jet, Flight 370. The arrival of most of the bodies and the flight data recorders from Flight 17 at a Ukrainian military base on Tuesday brought an outpouring of relief and praise in Malaysia.

But Mr. Najib’s willingness to negotiate directly with Alexander Borodai, the rebel leader, has prompted disquiet outside the country about whether the prime minister had lent unwarranted legitimacy to a man the Ukrainian government has condemned as a terrorist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flight MH 17 – Some Questions & Answers

Sri Lanka Guardian
Ruwantissa Abeyratne
July 23, 2014

( July 23, 2014, Montreal, Sri Lanka Guardian) When the aircraft operating Flight MH 17 was shot down last week, I was vacationing in Melbourne. The ever vigilant media lost no time in tracking me down from my home in Montreal all the way to Australia within a few hours of the disaster with a list of questions. I thought I would share with the reader the questions that were put to me and my answers.

Q. Would the International Civil aviation Organization (ICAO) be able to issue warnings about a route related to potential dangers from violence/war? Would ICAO be able to issue warnings about a route related to potential dangers from violence/war?

A. ICAO has no mandate or competence to issue warnings based on political and war situations. This is entirely dependent on the State concerned which has the responsibility to issue what is called a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) which advises aircraft which airspace to traverse and which not to. If a pilot traverses many airspaces he/she has to consider all relevant NOTAMs .

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) prescribes in Articles 9 and 12 this principle of the right of States to prescribe where aircraft should go and should not, in accordance with requirements set by such States. Article 12 on rules of the air provides that where flights over the high seas are concerned the rules prescribed under the Chicago Convention shall prevail. Those rules are contained in Annex 2 to the Convention. Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysts say justice for MH17 victims will be very difficult

Tom Allard
Sydney Morning Herald
24th July 2014

The battle to bring to justice the perpetrators of the apparent missile attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 will be extremely difficult, not least because Russia is in a position to thwart any attempt to bring it or its citizens before any international or domestic court, analysts said.

The hurdles are immense even after Russia this week endorsed a strongly worded United Nations convention pledging its commitment to hold those responsible to account, analysts said on Wednesday.

Whoever was behind the downing of MH17 remains uncertain, although US intelligence officials believe the most likely scenario was pro-Russian separatists hit the plane by accident, mistaking it for a Ukrainian military transport plane.

There also has been speculation that Russia supplied the Buk-M1 surface to air missile system, also known as a SA-11, to the rebels and trained the separatists in how to use it.

Russia and the separatists deny the accusations, blaming Ukraine – which also has the SA-11 – for the downing of MH17. If an investigation finds Russia and the separatists culpable, it will be a massive challenge to bring the matter to a court, let alone get a conviction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine Says 2 Fighter Jets Are Shot Down as Clashes Intensify

New York Times
JULY 23, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Fighting intensified in the rebel-controlled region of Ukraine on Wednesday, with military officials reporting that two Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jets had been shot down near the village of Dmytrivka in the east.

Few details of the latest downings were available. But the news was reported as Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council in Kiev said the military operation to suppress the insurgents was advancing in the east, with government troops having retaken two cities in the Luhansk region as they continued an aggressive push from the north and west.

Officials said rebels had blown up a road bridge, a railroad bridge and train tracks in the city of Gorlivka, and they reported continued fierce fighting along a section of the border with Russia that remains porous. Ukrainian forces are increasingly desperate to seal that border to prevent resupplies of weapons or new fighters from entering Ukraine.

A Ukrainian military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said Russia had strengthened its troop presence along the border and cross-border gunfire had increased.

The reported downing of the two fighter jets was a serious blow to the Ukrainian military, which has limited air power. Read the rest of this entry »

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The danger of a former judge dressing up opinions as facts

23 July 2014

Want to know what has troubled the Malaysian judiciary all these years? Why it is the butt of jokes and why it has as much credibility as Datuk Ibrahim Ali?

Look no further than former chief justice (CJ) Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad (pic).

This is a man who shades the truth: who spews half-baked nonsense and tries to dress it up as fact. But most alarmingly, this is a man who is not averse to using his standing in society to divide Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Flight 17 prosecution faces major evidentiary and legal obstacles

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post
July 22 2014

Despite mounting evidence that Russian-backed separatists downed a commercial aircraft over Ukraine last week, Western diplomats and law enforcement officials face significant obstacles prosecuting the culprits, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that they have not yet identified the separatists who operated the missile system that apparently destroyed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, presenting investigators with their first and perhaps most daunting challenge.

But in a briefing with reporters, the officials continued to build the Obama administration’s case of Russian complicity in a shoot-down by separatists. The officials provided intelligence material on the path of the missile, voiceprint analysis of separatists discussing bringing down a plane, shrapnel markings on the aircraft, and material from social-media sites to back administration claims.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, also identified a Russian military installation as a training hub for the separatists and a conduit for weapons to be sent into eastern Ukraine.

Even if the perpetrators are identified, determining their motive and proving their guilt would pose evidentiary and legal challenges for which there is little precedent, according to experts in international law. Establishing a venue for a trial would almost certainly entail intense diplomatic wrangling. Moreover, as crimes scenes go, the area in eastern Ukraine where the plane’s wreckage fell is a prosecutor’s nightmare, amid reports of looting and tampering with evidence by separatists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cockpit of MH 17 found sawed in half at crash site in Ukraine

By Filip Warwick and Doug Stanglin
Detroit Free Press
July 22, 2014

HRABOVE, UKRAINE — International monitors who gained full access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine said Tuesday the Boeing 77’s cockpit inexplicably had been sawed in half while under the control of Russian-backed separates.

The monitors said large parts of the cockpit — and every part of the fuselage — were carried off. They said they are not sure why such vital pieces of evidence from the downed plane were tampered with.

Flight 17, carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members, crashed Thursday after being hit by what U.S. officials suspect was a surface-to-air missile launched from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

U.S. officials said Tuesday that intel suggests separatists shot down the plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and that no link to Russia was found.

The cockpit was found in a section of the crash site that had been immediately cordoned off during the first two days after the plane went down. Witnesses tell USA TODAY that this was also the area where the first bodies were removed.

The cockpit apparently was cut in half with diesel-powered saws. Read the rest of this entry »

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After Karpal’s sedition conviction, IGP Khalid wants my “scalp”, knock me out of Parliament and even jailed for sedition?

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, probably hopes to get the second scalp of a DAP leader to be jailed and be disqualified and knocked out of Parliament for conviction of sedition – targeting me after Karpal Singh’s most unwarranted conviction for sedition and RM4,000 fine which would have ejected Karpal from Parliament if he is still alive and his appeal against conviction or sentence had not been overturned.

I was surprised when I first learned that the Police was coming after me under the Sedition Act, although I was nonplussed as to what seditious statement I had made to warrant a police investigation against me under the Sedition Act – especially when the Police had been infamously passive and notoriously inactive when there had been a crescendo of seditious utterances and threats by extremist individuals and NGOs inciting racial and religious hatred, including May 13 threats about racial riots uttered at least thrice this year alone!

Malaysians must commend the Malaysian Police for having the outstanding qualities not to be found in other police forces in the world, i.e. its enormous ability to turn the blind eye to flagrant criminality right in their faces when committed by certain privileged groups of people but extraordinary ability to discern crime or sedition when they don’t exist when another targeted group of people is involved!

In a buka puasa event last night, Khalid announced that the police will record a statement from me for my recent comment on the fifth death anniversary of Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) that Beng Hock had been murdered and that the killers are still at large. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib commended for breakthrough with the handover of the two black boxes of MH 17 and the transportation of the remains of most of the 298 victims from Torez to Amsterdam

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is to be commended for the breakthrough with the handover of the two black boxes of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 which was shot down in Ukraine on Thursday night and the transportation of the remains of most of the 298 victims from Torez in rebel-controlled Eastern Ukraine to Ukraine-controlled Kharkiv and onwards to Amsterdam.

For four days, the international outrage over the heinous and senseless crime against humanity in the shooting down of a civilian airliner with 298 passengers and crew on board, including 80 children, had been further incensed and aggravated by the gruesome and insensitive disrespect shown to the remains of the MH 17 victims as well as the looting and contamination of the crash site.

But it is still to be seen whether international calls for full, independent and credible international investigation into the criminal downing of MH 17, as well as the United Nations Security Council unanimous resolution last night demanding investigators to be given immediate access to the crash site and calling for a ceasefire in the area, will be heeded by all the three parties to the Ukraine conflict – the Russian-backed separatists, Russia and the Ukraine government. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH17 black boxes handed over by pro-Russia rebels

Shaun Walker in Donetsk and Harriet Salem in Torez
The Guardian
Tuesday 22 July 2014

Malaysian officials receive flight recorders from downed plane in ceremony after 12 hours of negotiations

Four days after the Boeing 777 came crashing down into the fields of eastern Ukraine, the black box recorders from flight MH17 were finally handed over to the Malaysians at a surreal night-time ceremony in Donetsk.

Almost 12 hours after negotiations between the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and a Malaysian delegation began, a group of somewhat bewildered looking Malaysians were given the two black boxes – chunky devices which are in fact orange – by Alexander Borodai, the self-styled prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, in a late-night press conference guarded by dozens of Kalashnikov-wielding rebels, on the 11th floor of a government building in Donetsk that has been occupied by the rebels.

Before handing over the boxes, Borodai took the chance to insist again that the pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine had nothing to do with the downing of MH17, and blamed the Kiev government, which he said had “both the technical ability and the motive” to bring down the plane.

Colonel Mohamed Sakri, part of the Malaysian delegation, thanked “his excellency Mr Borodai” for agreeing to the transfer, which came after Borodai spoke personally to the Malaysian prime minister by telephone earlier in the day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Eight unanswered questions

By Faith Karimi
July 21, 2014

(CNN) — Amid the chaos and the grief, the politics and the finger pointing, we are no closer to answering some key questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The crash, which killed all 298 aboard, has turned a volatile Ukrainian region into a global problem.

Here are eight questions we don’t yet have the answers to.

1. Who shot down the plane?

Only a full investigation can settle that. This much we know: Flight MH17 was shot down using a surface-to-air missile in Ukrainian territory that’s controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

“We have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there, out into Russia, with at least one missing missile on it,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

But Russia has denied any involvement. So have the rebels, who accuse the Ukrainians of downing the plane — without offering proof. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pressure Grows on Putin as Forensics Experts Reach Crash Victims in Ukraine

New York Times
July 21, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Dutch forensics experts gained access on Monday to the remains of the victims from the downed Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine after days of standoffs over access to the site and growing pressure on President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to clear the way for a full international investigation.

European leaders threatened new sanctions on Russia as soon as Tuesday, suggesting they were increasingly open to the harder line being taken against Moscow by the United States, which has accused Russia of providing the surface-to-air missile system that brought down the jetliner, training rebels in how to use it, and perhaps even supplying experts who helped to fire it.

Mr. Putin issued a brief statement early on Monday saying that Russia would work to ensure that the conflict in eastern Ukraine moved from the battlefield to the negotiating table. He said that a robust international investigating team must have secure access to the crash site, but also accused unspecified nations of exploiting the disaster in pursuit of “mercenary political goals.”

The slow pace at which the bodies have been recovered and the destruction or removal of potential evidence of what happened has generated growing anger at the separatist rebels and at Mr. Putin.

Even as the Dutch experts arrived on Monday in the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine, where the bodies of the victims have been collected in refrigerated rail cars, the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, said that pro-Russian rebels who control the area were preventing the train from leaving. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH17: Obama gains over Putin as US pushes EU on sanctions

Terry Atlas and Jonathan Allen
Brisbane Times
July 21, 2014

Washington: President Barack Obama’s response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine reflects the conclusion of US officials that time, evidence, and world opinion are increasingly on his side as he takes on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Secretary of State John Kerry cited the tragedy on Sunday in an effort to prod Europeans into increasing sanctions against Russia, even at some peril to their own economies, in an effort to break Mr Putin’s support for pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists. “We are trying to encourage our European friends to realise this is a wake-up call,” Kerry said on Fox News Sunday, invoking a phrase used last week by Mr Obama.

US officials, some speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss administration strategy, said the shooting down of the civilian jetliner — blamed by the US on pro-Russian separatists armed by Russia — should ignite anti-Putin sentiment and push reluctant EU countries to catch up to the more stringent sanctions the US had imposed last week. Dutch and other European citizens were among the 298 passengers and crew that perished. Read the rest of this entry »

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Should Malaysia jet have flown over Ukraine?

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
July 21, 2014

(CNN) — Why was Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flying over war-torn eastern Ukraine?

“We, along with hundreds of other airlines, have flown that route safely for quite some time,” Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director for Malaysia Airlines, told CNN’s Saima Mohsin over the weekend. “Primarily we flew that route because we were advised that this was a safe corridor and there would be no incidents.”

Dunleavy said the plane, which was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, adjusted its altitude on its way across Europe under the direction of air traffic control.

Now, he said the airline is reassessing the route it uses for that flight. And since Thursday’s crash, commercial airlines that usually cross eastern Ukraine on their flights to Europe, Asia and elsewhere have been detouring away from the volatile region.

But far beyond Ukraine’s borders, analysts say the incident could pave the way for new guidelines for how close planes can fly to conflict zones. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bodies From Malaysia Airlines Flight Are Stuck in Ukraine, Held Hostage Over Distrust

New York Times
JULY 20, 2014

TOREZ, Ukraine — Three wrenching days after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the bodies of most of those aboard have ended up here, in a fly-infested railway station in a rough coal-mining town in eastern Ukraine.

For now, they are stuck, lying in five gray refrigerated train cars in this rebel-controlled war zone, hostages to high politics and mutual distrust.

The government in Kiev has accused the Russian-backed rebels who control the area of blocking access to the bodies and the crash site and delaying what is already a very painful process for the families of the dead.

The rebels insist they are cooperating, and say they want to turn the 247 bodies they had recovered as of Sunday over to international representatives. But they say those officials have not arrived; the rebels accuse the Ukrainian government of scaring the officials off, though European officials have disputed that claim.

Neither of the conflicting story lines fully reflects the chaos at the scene, where an incoherent recovery effort is being carried out by motley groups of mostly untrained people. On Sunday, they included miners straight from their shifts; local residents who arrive on run-down motorbikes; and poorly equipped emergency service workers who sleep in the field, amid the stench of decay, in sagging orange and blue tents. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines crash: How can we hold Putin to account?

By Charles Crawford
July 20th, 2014

The hours drift into days following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. Yet there is no difficulty in identifying those responsible for this outrage. Russian military intelligence (GRU) operatives and technicians are swarming over eastern Ukraine and probably much of the rest of the country, monitoring in real time what is happening. Some are Russian troops operating illegally in Ukraine. Others are Ukrainians (or motley mercenaries from Serbia and elsewhere) on the GRU payroll.

The cause of the attack on the plane will have been known immediately to the Russian side. Missiles capable of hitting aircraft at that altitude cannot be fired without complex codes and technical support. The Russians know everything about the attack, down to the serial number of the missile and the names and breakfast rations of the people who ordered the attack. The Russians also know exactly what links there are (if any) between the people who fired the missile and their own GRU command structures.

The Americans will know a lot of this, too. We may not like global IT surveillance, but it resolves situations like this. Washington is doubtless poring through myriad satellite images and thousands of conversations in Russian military slang to establish in minute detail what happened when the missile was fired and who ordered it. Likewise, the Ukrainians know plenty – they do not have the GRU’s resources, but they are highly motivated to follow what the “rebels” and “separatists” are doing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Separatists Said to Have Seized Control of Crash Victims’ Remains

New York Times
JULY 20, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Pro-Russian separatist militiamen have seized custody of the bodies of about 200 victims of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday, and rebels continued to limit access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine, blocking the work of experts even as hundreds of untrained local volunteers were picking through the wreckage with sticks.

World leaders have voiced a growing chorus of outrage over the delay in recovering remains of victims, and over the refusal by rebels to cede authority over the disaster site, where Flight 17, a Boeing 777 carrying 298 passengers and crew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed and burned on Thursday afternoon.

Ukrainian emergency responders, working under the watchful eyes of armed rebels, had recovered 196 bodies but were forced to turn them over to the separatists, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said at a briefing in Kiev on Sunday. Mr. Lysenko said officials believed that 38 of those bodies were taken to the morgue in Donetsk, a regional capital that is controlled by separatists.

Michael Bociurkiw, the leader of an observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that most of the bodies had been placed in three refrigerated railroad cars located in the town of Torez, not far from the crash site. He said that monitors were told that 167 bodies were in the cars, which were locked but under the control of rebels from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, one of the main separatist groups.

Monitors were permitted to make a brief inspection, Mr. Bociurkiw said, speaking by phone from eastern Ukraine, and the body bags all appeared to have tags on them. “We were escorted to the railway station by heavily armed guards of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” he said. “They are the ones in charge of that area.”

The chaos and potential mishandling of evidence at the crash site, near the village of Grabovo, and the uncertainty over when relatives would be able to reclaim the remains of their loved ones, added a frustrating and emotionally wrenching dimension to the looming geopolitical confrontation over Russia’s possible role in the downing of the aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the three MACC officers implicated in TBH’s death could be cleared of indiscipline by the MACC special investigation team without having to suffer any penalty whatsoever?

This forum on the fifth anniversary of the mysterious death, in fact murder, of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) premises in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 is held under the shadow of another great tragedy and injustice, the MH 17 disaster on 17th July where 298 innocent lives from some 10 nations were snuffed out in an instant when the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 jetliner was blown out of Ukraine airspace by a surface-to-air missile.

On that fateful Thursday night, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak promised that “no stone would be left unturned” to investigate the MH 17 tragedy and that the perpetrators of the crime against humanity must be swiftly brought to justice.

I had given full support to Najib’s statement calling on all Malaysians to stand united as one with the Prime Minister in seeking “swift justice” against the perpetrators of the heinous crime against humanity in causing the MH 17 tragedy.

As I said at the candlelight vigil and prayer for MH 17 a short while ago outside this hall, Malaysians have prided themselves of being blessed in a land without natural disasters like earthquakes, typhoons or volcanic eruptions, but we have recently been reminded that Malaysians are vulnerable to many man-made disasters – two of which hit Malaysia in the form of unprecedented air disasters MH 370 and MH 17 in less than five months, claiming 537 innocent lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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