Government’s denial syndrome in both MH370 disaster and ESSCOM crisis are biggest stumbling blocks in efforts to restore national and international confidence in the security and good governance in Malaysia

The government’s denial syndrome in both the MH370 disaster and ESSCOM crisis are the biggest stumbling blocks in efforts to restore national and international confidence in the security and good governance in Malaysia.

The Malaysiakini interview by the former Sabah Police Commissioner from 2002 to 2004, Ramli Yusuff describing the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) as “ridiculous” because of the duplication of the chain of command in ESSZONE is serious food for thought and basis for immediate decision by the Cabinet.

The ESSCOM director-general Datuk Mohamad Mentek’s boast during the first anniversary celebrations of ESSCOM on April 1 about the ESSCOM’s twin successes in combining the role of the four components in Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) – Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) and public agencies – and to stop abductions of foreign tourists have proved to be most premature following another abduction in five months and less than 24 hours of the ESSCOM’s first anniversary celebrations.

Recounting from his experiences as Sabah Police Commissioner about a decade ago, Ramli advocates that ESSCOM should be headed by the state police chief to avoid duplication of the chain of command and to ensure a better grip on security operational matters.

Ramli said it is ridiculous to have ESSCOM which creates a conflicting chain of command, and wants ESSCOM to be headed by the police or army, but he prefers the police because this is an internal security matter.

As ex-Sabah police commissioner, Ramli thinks that Mohamad Mentek is not suitable to be the ESSCOM director-general as he is from the Immigration Department and “doesn’t know operational matters”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mini-sub to dive again after aborting first MH370 search

By Greg Wood
AFP
15th April 2014

Perth (Australia) (AFP) – A mini-sub hunting missing Flight MH370 was set to sweep the Indian Ocean seabed again Tuesday after cutting short its first mission, as Malaysia vowed to reveal any ‘black box’ data found.

The unmanned submarine equipped with sonar gear was deployed Monday night from the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which has spearheaded the hunt for the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

But the dive by the Bluefin-21 detected nothing of interest before it automatically aborted the mission after breaching its maximum operating depth, the US Navy said in a statement.

The Australian agency coordinating the search said the Bluefin-21 “exceeded its operating depth limit of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) and its built-in safety feature returned it to the surface”.

The unmanned Autonomous Underwater Vehicle was undamaged and set for a second sonar sweep during the day, weather permitting, officials said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Search for Missing Jet Enters New Phase

By Rachel Pannett and Ross Kelly
Wall Street Journal
April 14, 2014

Authorities Deploy Underwater Vehicle to Examine Sea Floor; Six Days Since Last Pings Detected

SYDNEY—An unmanned submersible began searching the Indian Ocean seabed for wreckage from 3786.KU in Your Value Your Change Short position Flight 370 on Monday, as authorities gave up on fleeting hope of detecting any new signals from the missing jet’s black-box flight recorders.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is leading the multinational search, said a series of “ping” signals detected last week by a U.S. Navy black box detector remains the most promising lead in the search for the plane, which disappeared en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

But as the search entered its 38th day—more than a week beyond the estimated battery life of the black boxes’ emergency locator beacons, and six days after the last signal was detected—it makes sense to turn to the underwater Bluefin-21 vehicle, the former chief of Australia’s defense forces said.

“Aircraft wreckage needs to be visually identified before we can say with certainty that this is the final resting place of Flight 370,” he said. “I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage—it may not. However, this is the best lead we have and it must be pursued vigorously.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kit Siang, Pakatan trio to probe into effectiveness of Sabah maritime force

The Malaysian Insider
- April 15, 2014

Four opposition MPs are on a mission to find out if the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) is nothing but a white elephant, following the kidnapping of two foreign women from the Singamata Reef resort off Semporna on April 2.

It comes on the heels of a series of kidnappings from the eastern side of the state – which is a top tourist draw – even after the RM300 million security unit was set up last year following the Lahad Datu intrusion.

In November last year, Taiwanese Chang An Wei Chang was abducted in a raid at the Pom Pom island resort in Semporna, while Taiwanese businessman Li Min Hsu, 57, was killed, when gunmen opened fire during the attack.

Chang was released in December, 36 days after she was kidnapped, after negotiations with the kidnappers.

DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang and three other opposition MPs – Jimmy Wong (DAP – Kota Kinabalu), Stephen Wong (DAP – Sandakan) and retired First Admiral Mohamad Imran bin Abdul Hamid (PKR – Lumut) – are on a mission to find out what Putrajaya can do to ensure Esccom operates more effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

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Four-men PR fact-finding parliamentary visit to Semporna to find out whether ESSCOM is “toothless tiger” or “white elephant” and whether it should be closed down as being utterly ineffective

Together with the DAP Sabah Chairman and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Jimmy Wong Sze Phing, DAP Sabah Deputy Chairman and MP for Sandakan Stephen Wong Tien Fatt and the PKR MP for Lumut, First Admiral Mohamad Imran bin Abdul Hamid, I am visiting Semporna today for a fact-finding visit to ascertain what could be done by the Malaysian government to ensure greater ESSCOM effectiveness and greater security for Eastern Sabah.

This is the direct result of the month-long parliamentary meeting which ended last Thursday which had put the national spotlight on the effectiveness of ESSCOM and the security of Eastern Sabah.

In the last week of Parliament, the DAP MP for Sandakan Stephen Wong created parliamentary history when he succeeded in adjourning parliamentary proceedings to have a debate on a matter of “urgent, definite public importance” to highlight the ineffectiveness of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and its failure to be the guardian of security in Eastern Sabah following the second abduction of a tourist from China on April 2 – the second abduction in five months and less than 24 hours after the first anniversary celebrations of ESSCOM.

I had described the first ESSCOM anniversary celebrations on April 1 as an “April Fool’s joke” to the people of Sabah and Malaysia, as the ESSCOM Director-General Datuk Mohamad Mentek had boasted that ESSCOM had “succeeded in stopping the attempts by foreigners to enter Sabah illegally to commit criminal acts like the kidnapping of Taiwanese tourists in Pulau Pom-Pom on 15 November 2013”, but in less than 24 hours, there was a second abduction of a tourist from China and a hotel employee of Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna at about 10.30 pm on April 2!

Parliamentarians, whether from Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional, do not want ESSCOM to be an expensive April Fool’s Joke, costing over RM300 million to be a mere “toothless tiger” or worse a “white elephant” which could play no meaningful or effective role to ensure the security and safety of Eastern Sabah. Read the rest of this entry »

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The meltdown of Malaysian institutions

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
April 15, 2014

There was a time when Malaysia was known for its institutions – a civil service that facilitated rapid development from an agrarian economy to an industrialised one, a judiciary that was held in high esteem of the Commonwealth, and a military that defeated a communist insurgency.

Today, more than 50 years as a nation spanning from Perlis to Sabah, we see ineptitude and incompetency, a complete meltdown of Malaysian institutions.

The Attorney-General now farms out cases to an Umno lawyer; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) leads an organisation which does not act when a High Court rules; the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) suffers a credibility deficit; and the air force has not covered itself with any glory.

So who do Malaysians turn to in time of need?

Not any of the above, it appears. Sad but true. Read the rest of this entry »

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Western reporters outshine Chinese counterparts on MH370

By Li Xinran | April 15, 2014
Shanghai Daily

THE mysterious disappearance and search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 have dominated headlines, broadcast news and the internet since the huge aircraft vanished six weeks ago.

Coverage by domestic and international journalists has been intense, but too much reporting by Chinese mainland outlets did not demonstrate the depth and initiative of the reports by their foreign counterparts. Surely, they are capable of investigating and producing “scoops.”

But major stories about the flight, its pings, possible course and intriguing theories about the disappearance have been picked up and translated from CNN, the BBC, The AP, Reuters, AFP and other sources.

These overseas media went to great lengths to interview pilots, aviation, safety, satellite, meteorology, and oceanography experts, and many others.

It cannot be denied that Chinese media dispatched their journalists to the frontline immediately after the flight went missing. Shanghai-based Dragon TV and Oriental Morning Post sent their reporters to Malaysia and Vietnam respectively to trace the incident from the very beginning.

But many Chinese reporters naturally covered the press conferences and appear to focus most of their energy on the families of the Chinese passengers on board and their anger over insufficient information. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hishammuddin should stop his “cat-and-mouse” game on whether there would be Parliamentary Select Committee on MH370 as such vacillation further erodes trust and confidence even among Malaysians in government handling of MH370 disaster as highlighted by latest opinion poll

The Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should stop his “cat-and-mouse” game of “yes, no, yes, no” on whether there would be Parliamentary Select Committee on the MH370 disaster as such vacillation further erodes trust and confidence even among Malaysians in the government handling of the MH370 disaster as highlighted by the latest opinion poll.

In an opinion poll commissioned by The Malaysian Insider and conducted by Merdeka Center in the last week of last month from March 24 to 30, 54% of the 1,092 respondents from all the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia polled believed Putrajaya was not transparent in releasing information about Flight MH370 which vanished 38 days ago on March 8.

In response to the question whether they thought Putrajaya had been truthful or had been hiding anything about MH370, 54% of respondents felt Malaysia had been hiding information, 26% said the government had been truthful while 20% were unsure.

Chinese respondents were almost unanimous in giving the thumbs down to the BN federal government while the slight majority of Indian and Malay respondents, too, believed Putrajaya had been hiding information.

This time, respondents from both rural and urban areas were united in believing that Putrajaya has been less than forthcoming with information about MH370.

This second opinion poll shows that the level of trust and confidence even among Malaysians in government transparency and competence in the handling of the MHJ 370 disaster have progressively worsened since the beginning of the tragedy, as in a similar opinion survey in the first two weeks of the tragedy from March 8 to 20, 50% of Malaysians were unhappy with Putrajaya’s handling of the crisis. In other words, an increase from 50% unhappy with the government’s handling of the crisis in the first two weeks to 54 per cent in the third week.

The survey for the first two-weeks of the MH 370 disaster revealed that only 43% were satisfied with the way Putrajaya was dealing with the issue, which has fallen further to 26 per cent in the third week. Read the rest of this entry »

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More than 50% Malaysians feel Putrajaya hiding information on MH370, poll shows

by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
April 14, 2014

More than half of Malaysians polled last month believe that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government has been hiding information about flight MH370′s disappearance, according to a new survey by The Malaysian Insider.

Out of the 1,029 respondents polled in The Malaysian Insider survey carried out by the Merdeka Center, 54% said Putrajaya was not transparent in releasing information about flight MH370 which vanished on March 8.

In response to the question whether they thought Putrajaya had been truthful or had been hiding anything about MH370, 54% of respondents felt Malaysia had been hiding information, 26% said the government had been truthful while 20% were unsure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Steam gathers for RCI as search for MH370 black boxes narrows

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
April 13, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Putrajaya is close to setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after increasingly positive signs that the plane’s “black boxes” will be found, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

The acting transport minister also added that an international panel to determine on who has jurisdiction to extract data from the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders was gaining similar momentum.

“We are getting closer to the issue… we have been quite busy getting the ministerial committees, expert panels and getting the royal commission set up.

“That will be announced in the near future,” Hishammuddin, who is also defence minister, told a press conference after visiting the preparations for a defence exhibition at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Today’s remark was the most direct indication on Putrajaya’s expected choice to investigate the mystery of the plane that disappeared on March 8 with 239 on board, with calls for both a RCI and a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Missing plane MH370: Abbott says signal ‘rapidly fading’

BBC News
12 April 2014

Signals in remote seas thought to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are “rapidly fading” and finding the jet will be a “massive, massive task”, Australia’s PM says.

Tony Abbott said he was confident “pings” detected by search teams were from the aircraft’s black boxes.

But no new signals have been confirmed in the search area since Tuesday.

“No one should underestimate the difficulties of the task still ahead of us,” Mr Abbott warned.

Correspondents say Mr Abbott appeared to be couching his comments from Friday, in which he said he was “very confident” that signals heard by an Australian search ship were from the missing Boeing 777. Read the rest of this entry »

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Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Black box has fallen silent, admits Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Tomas Jivanda
The Independent
13 April 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is warning that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight is likely to be long after pings believed to be from locator beacons on the all-important black boxes fell silent, meaning the batteries have most probably died.

The last of four strong signals coming from 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the surface were heard on the 8 April. The batteries on the black boxes, which record flight data including conversations from the cockpit, only last a month, meaning the window has passed.

The pings already captured have however allowed the search area to be narrowed down to a 500-square-mile patch of the seabed – about the size of Los Angeles. Once officials are confident no more sounds will be heard, and the search area can be narrowed no further, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage across the vast area.

The Bluefin 21 submersible will take six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and will need about six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater zone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to convene emergency meeting of Parliament before May to set up Parliamentary Select Committee on MH 370 in view of the plethora of committees which Parliament had never been informed

The 37th day of the missing MH 370 tragedy has become darker today with another 24 hours of “silence” in the southern Indian Ocean, five days after the “most promising lead” in the search for the missing Boeing 777 plane as the Perth-based Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) announced that “there have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours”.

In Malaysia, confusion and contradictions continue to be very rife causing more grief and anguish to the families of the 239 passengers and crew, whether it be the conflicting reports about whether the RMAF had scrambled aircrafts after the missing MH370 in the early hours of March 8 or whether Flight MH370 co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid had purportedly made a call on board the plane near Penang after it mysteriously cut off communications with tower controllers.

There were surprise announcements like the one from the Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that Malaysia was sending two representatives from the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to be included in Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) which is coordinating the search and recovery effort for Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

Why only sending two Malaysian representatives to join the JACC after the SAR operation had shifted to the southern Indian Ocean based in Perth for nearly three weeks?

Does this mean that Malaysia was never represented at all in the higher councils of the search operation based in Perth for nearly three weeks?

Another surprise is the disclosure of a plethora of investigation committees, which neither Parliament nor the country had been properly informed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where’s the debris, asks aviation expert as search for MH370 enters 36th day

The Malaysian Insider
April 12, 2014

As searchers scour the Indian Ocean west of Australia for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an aviation expert told CNN today there should be debris on top of the water.

Jim Tilmon, a former American Airlines pilot and aviation analyst, told CNN that the chances of not having debris on top of the water were remote.

“The amount of flotsam left behind in the crash would most likely vary based on how MH370 hit the water,” Tilmon told CNN.

Since MH370 disappeared on March 8 shortly after departing from Kuala Lumpur, all the possible debris spotted from the air by satellites have turned out not to be from the aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three things we learned from: the Seremban child abduction

By Justin Ong
The Malay Mail Online
April 13, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — On Wednesday, S. Deepa’s joy of winning custody of her two children from estranged husband Izwan Abdullah, a Muslim convert, just days earlier turned to terror when he abducted their son from her Seremban home.

But that terror must have been eclipsed by the shock of learning that the police cannot — or will not? — do anything as the man was granted custody of the children by a shariah court last year.

At first glance, the matter had appeared less tangled than the convoluted custody battles that usually accompany child conversion cases, but it soon transpired that such matters inexorably become complicated when religion is involved.

Here are the three things we have learned from the case so far. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now Putrajaya wants longer jail sentence for Anwar

V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
April 13, 2014

Putrajaya looks to have turned the screws further on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after prosecutors filed a cross-appeal to enhance the five-year jail term against the opposition leader who was found guilty of sodomy last month.

His lawyer Karpal Singh said further Anwar’s appeal against the conviction and sentence appeared to be expedited for hearing in the Federal Court as the court registry had already sent him part of the appeal records.

“After going through the records, I found that the prosecution has appealed to enhance Anwar’s jail term,” Karpal told The Malaysian Insider.

This comes almost two weeks after Putrajaya had also cross-appealed against a lighter sentence imposed on Karpal who was found guilty of sedition.

On March 11, Karpal was fined RM4,000 but the prosecution filed a cross-appeal, urging the Court of Appeal to impose a stiffer penalty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Concerns remain but Chinese tourists say still fond of Malaysia

By Ho Kit Yen
The Malay Mail Online
April 13, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — The disappearance of flight MH370 and kidnappings near Semporna, Sabah, have not discouraged Chinese tourists from visiting Malaysia.

Sichuan native Xiao Huan, 25, who arrived here on April 4, admitted she had initially wanted to cancel her trip here because of the MH370 incident. She had booked the trip in December last year.

“I was worried about boarding the flight. I didn’t cancel in the end because we had paid for it,” said Xiao.

Xiao admitted Malaysia Airlines (MAS) could have handled the plane’s disappearance better in the early stages.

“There seemed to be so much confusion when the news broke. I heard the flight landed in Nanning, China, initially. But that was found to be untrue,” she said.

Her husband, Li Xin, 25, said Chinese nationals just want to know what happened to the flight. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 and the black box of the mind

Josh Cohen
The Guardian
12 April 2014

Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen on the flight recorder as a potent image of our helpless relationship to the world and to ourselves

Occasionally, perhaps when you feel most inured to the traumatic images that assail us daily on the TV screen or in the papers, you see something that tears you out of your glassy indifference. That, at least, was the effect on me of the pictures of the families of the flight MH370 passengers, eyes knitted in prayer, mouths flung open in rage.

Imagine howling. The phrase, spoken by Claudio in Measure for Measure, came to mind as my eyes fell on their faces and shut tightly, as though reflexively shamed by the indecency of looking at them. But why, when we stare with such casual composure at all manner of grief and suffering, should these images induce such particular and intense aversion?

“Imagine howling”: the phrase is the culmination of Claudio’s febrile vision of death, with its “fiery floods” and “thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice”. But the speech is describing less his impending death, than the current torment of trying, and not being able to imagine it: “Ay, but to die, and go we know not where.” In other words, it is the living who suffer the torments of death, the irremediable ignorance of not knowing where we will be going.

It is this ignorance that makes the plight of the MH370 families so unbearable to contemplate. The confirmed knowledge that a loved one is dead enables the bereaved to begin what Freud called the work of mourning: the slow and painful acknowledgment that the person lost has been removed irrevocably from our world. We cannot know where they have gone, but we can at least know they are not here and that they won’t be coming back.

The families of the Malaysian Airlines flight have, at time of writing, no such grim consolation. Read the rest of this entry »

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#MH370: Tragic Flights of Fancy

By Kyle Sanders and Brad “RenderMan” Haines, Combat Pilot and Hacker
Re-Code
April 10, 2014

The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been tragic — and the grief of the families involved cannot be overstated. But adding to that sadness and bewilderment, another tragedy has taken place: An array of wild speculation and fallacious reporting of the event by news and popular media outlets around the world.

Perhaps the long search for evidence of the aircraft’s fate has paid off. Perhaps not. In any case, now is a good time to look back at the coverage that has displayed a disheartening lack of respect for the families of the passengers and crew, whose grief demanded — and was too often denied — the consideration of due diligence in reporting. Here are some perspectives on just a few of the fallacious stories that surfaced during these recent difficult weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid Abu Bakar should step down as IGP if he is not prepared to uphold the law in the Seremban child abduction case and enforce High Court order giving custody to the mother

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar should step down as Inspector-General of Police if he is not prepared to uphold the law in the Seremban child abduction case and enforce the High Court order giving custody to the mother.

The failure and refusal of the Inspector-General of Police to uphold the law and to ignore the Seremban child abduction case is the height of irresponsibility for the top policeman in the country, despite the fact that a police report has been lodged by the mother S Deepa that her son was snatched by her estranged Muslim convert husband although she had won a custody through the civil court.

It is reported that her husband Izwan Abdullah has also obtained a similar order from the Syariah Court.

I agree with the former de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that the IGP was mistaken in thinking syariah law allowed a Muslim convert to abduct his child after losing custody to the mother and that the father was clearly wrong to have taken his son without his estranged wife’s permission as the High Court has given her custody of their two children. Read the rest of this entry »

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