Archive for March, 2014

US lawmakers are kept informed and placed in the loop of US investigations into missing MH370 while Malaysian legislators are kept completely in the dark about the latest developments of the MH370 disaster

This is the 24th day in the fourth week of the multi-national sea and air search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, with today’s search outcome by a total of 10 aircraft and 10 ships from Australia, Malaysia, US, China, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea as empty-handed and fruitless as the earlier 23 days.

Except there is now an element of desperation as the search is in a race against time, with only about two weeks left to find the aircraft’s pair of black boxes before they stop emitting locator pings.

The boxes, designed to ‘ping’ for at least 30 days, contain sounds recorded in the cockpit and data on the plane’s performance and flight path that could help answer why it diverted sharply west from its overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8th March.

What has made the new search area 1,100 km north east of the old site in the southern Indian Ocean frustrating is that it contained a higher volume of ocean trash that may be mistaken for wreckage.
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An open letter to Dr M

By Ice Cream Seller | MARCH 30, 2014
The Malaysian Insider

Dear Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,

We refer to your recent testing of the waters to see if you would be welcomed back to take over from our missing prime minister.

Thank you, but most of us are once bitten twice shy and have no stomach for another spell of your tenure.

You say you want to curb the Internet because it contributes to social problems and a rise in the crime index.

Actually, our social problems stem from many sources. Dumping of newborn babies is not something picked up from the Net. Incest and rape were already prevalent. Khalwat and zina thrived well before the age of the Net. Drug abuse was there, too.

Thanks to the Internet, these are brought to our awareness and not censored by your pliant media. Not to mention the numerous scandals of your and subsequent administrations
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I fully agree with establishment of RCI into the May 13 riots in 1969

Yesterday, I called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 29-year-old Memali Incident, especially as the protagonists like former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam, former Inspector-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, former Acting Inspector-General of Police,Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Amin bin Osman, the then Information Minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim, Deputy Home Minister at the time, Tan Sri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, the then UMNO Secretary-General Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, the OCPD Baling during the Memali incident, Tunku Muszaffar Shah and a follower of Ibrahim Libya who is now Senator Muhamad Yusof Husin from Baling, Kedah are still alive and can testify on the avoidable tragedy which cost the lives of 18 people, including four policemen.

I made this call following the revelation by Musa in a public discussion organised by the Kelantan State Government Kota Bahru four nights ago that Mahathir was in Malaysia during the bloody Memali incident on Nov. 19, 1985 when police forces killed Ibrahim Libya and his followers in a clash which resulted in 18 casualties, including four policemen.

Musa’s revelation has come as a shocker as close to three decades, it was reported and believed that Musa took charge of the operations as Home Minister in 1985 because Mahathir was in China for a visit.

Musa said in Kota Bahru: “In fact, two three days after that (Memali) he was still in KL.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia must stop mediocrity rot

– Lok Wing Kong
The Malaysian Insider
March 30, 2014

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said that in 30 years, Malaysia will be on a par with Singapore.

He is totally wrong in that Malaysia will never be able to catch up with Singapore. Why? It is simple. Singapore practise hyper meritocracy while Malaysia practises mediocrity.

The two countries are moving forward at different speeds. They can only be getting further apart over time.

World Bank senior economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said that the low quality of Malaysia’s education was more alarming than its household debts.

The writer cannot agree with him more as the policy of mediocrity is at play. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Credible leads’ are not hard facts in MH370 quest

By Mark Odell in London
Financial Times
March 28, 2014

The sudden switch in focus across hundreds of kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean in the hunt for flight MH370 underlines just how little real information investigators have at their disposal.

The favourite phrase of officials is “the most credible lead”, of which they have had a few during the past week as the families of those aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight – and a fascinated global audience – wait for answers. But it reveals how much of the search is still down to trial and error.

“The information is very, very confused at the moment,” says Matthew Greaves, head of the safety and accident centre at Cranfield University in the UK. “They [the international investigation team] are trying to be as open as possible but some of the information they are releasing is wrong and they are having to correct it.”

After numerous “credible leads” of debris in parts of the southern Indian Ocean this week, in an area spanning 1.6m sq km, the search abruptly shifted 1,100km northeast on Friday after data appeared to help investigators get a fix on the speed of the aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 search: Captain Mark Matthews’ paints pessimistic assessment of black box search

Tom Allard
Sydney Morning Herald
March 30, 2014

Finding the black box flight recorder of the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is simply ”untenable” as things stand at the moment, the US Navy officer who will lead the search has conceded.

The deeply pessimistic assessment from Captain Mark Matthews came as the Royal Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield was being loaded with a ”pinger” locator and an underwater drone critical to recovering the black box .

However, ADV Ocean Shield will not arrive in the 319,000 square kilometre search area for three to four days, while the beacon on the black box could have only four days of battery power left.

”It all depends on how effective we are at reducing the search area,” said Captain Matthews, a search-and-recovery expert who was involved in the two-year search to find the black box of Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.

”Right now, the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which is an untenable amount of time to search.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on all MPs to reach a parliamentary consensus that regardless of whether “black boxes” are retrieved or not, a parliamentary select committee on MH370 disaster will start preparations and investigations six weeks after March 8

The fourth week and 23rd day of the longest and largest-ever multinational sea-and-air search for the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 Boeing 777 which appeared to have vanished into the air on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and the second day of a new search area 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) west of Perth have all proved to be fruitless with items scooped from the sea by Chinese and Australian ships turned out to be fishing material or rubbish.

The multi-national SAR mission is in a race against time, as the “black boxes” – the flight recorders which pick up cockpit conversations as well as flight data – emit pings for 30 days after becoming immersed in water, i.e. by April 7.

The MH370 “black boxes” may last at least 10 more days and perhaps a few weeks longer, depending on water temperature and other factors.

The “black boxes” are designed to withstand depths of 20,000 feet and may work in even deeper water, the range of the pings is a mile.

Cases where recorders were retrieved from the ocean include TWA Flight 800 in 1996, EgyptAir Flight 990 in 1999, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in 2000 and Air France 447 in 2009.

However, without a signal from the boxes, it will be a daunting task to find the “black boxes” of MH370 when its debris have still to be found – a much more impossible task than the challenge faced by the search teams for Air France 447, which went down midway across the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Although debris was found within days of the Air France 447 crash and the flight path was known, it took investigators another two years to retrieve the recorders from the bottom of the sea. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 search draws blank as Australia brings in ex-military chief

The Malay Mail/AFP
March 30, 2014

PERTH, March 30 — A new search area failed to yield an immediate breakthrough in the hunt for ill-fated Flight MH370 today, as Australia appointed its former military chief to help coordinate the operation in the Indian Ocean.

Debris spotted by aircraft and then picked up by ships combing the new search zone proved not to be from the Malaysian Airlines’ Boeing 777, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

“It appeared to be fishing equipment and just rubbish on the (ocean’s) surface,” an AMSA spokesman told AFP.

As the hunt resumed 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) west of Perth, Australia said former defence force chief Angus Houston would head a new unit to help in the search, which involves the militaries of seven nations — Australia, China, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Frustrated’ China mulls building 50 satellites following failure to find MH370, says daily

The Malaysian Insider

March 30, 2014

Frustrated over the failure to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Beijing is mulling the setting up a global monitoring network, the South China Morning Post reported today.

The Hong Kong daily reported that Beijing was considering building more than 50 orbiting probes so that it could monitor the entire planet.

Chinese researchers said if China were to increase its network of surveillance and observation satellites, it would be on a par or larger than the United States.

The report said Beijing has been frustrated by the failure to locate MH370 despite 21 days of search operations.

Professor Chi Tianhe told SCMP that if China had a global monitoring network today, the 26 nations involved in the search operations for the missing Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) would not be searching in the dark.

“We would have a much greater chance of finding MH370 and tracing it to its final position,” said Chi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth.

“The plan is being drafted to expand our regional monitoring capability to global coverage,” Chi told SCMP. Read the rest of this entry »

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In epic MH370 hunt, experts say cost could exceed RM130.9m

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
March 30, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The on-going search for Malaysia Airline flight MH370 is likely to exceed the US$40 million (RM130.9 million) spent to recover the remains of the Air France flight AF447 jet, experts have said.

Scientists from China — whose people make up two-thirds of the 239 people on board the passenger plane missing for 22 days now — speculate that a prolonged search could see the bill hit 10 times higher than that forked out for AF447, the South Morning China Post (SCMP) has reported.

The English-language Hong Kong daily reported France and Brazil had poured out over US$40 million to retrieve the flight recorder from the French plane that crashed en route to Rio de Janeiro from Paris, using sophisticated technology like underwater robots to scour the seabed in search for the wreckage. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for RCI into the 29-year Memali incident, especially as the protagonists like Mahathir and Musa Hitam are still alive and can testify on the tragedy which cost the lives of 18 people (including four policemen)

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Tun Musa Hitam, laid bare one of the nation’s longest-kept secrets when he revealed that the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was in Malaysia during the bloody Memali incident on Nov. 19, 1985 when police forces killed Ibrahim Libya and his followers in a clash which resulted in 18 casualties, including four policemen.

Musa’s revelation at a public discussion organised by Kelantan State Government held in Kota Bahru three nights ago came as a shocker as close to three decades, it was reported and believed that Musa took charge of the operations as Home Minister in 1985 because Mahathir was in China for a visit.

However, Musa said in Kota Bahru that Mahathir was in Kuala Lumpur when the bloodshed took place, adding: “In fact, two three days after that he was still in KL.”
In his response, Mahathir said he could not remember if he was in the country during the Memali incident and that he would have to check into his records to verify if Musa’s claim was true.

It is just incredulous and completely unbelievable that a person credited with an elephantine memory could not remember such an important detail in an incident, which together with two other incidents, must rank as his three “blackest and darkest” episodes in his 22-year premiership, especially as the Memali tragedy claimed 18 lives, which included four policemen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Missing Malaysian Flight MH370: Search will be biggest, most expensive ever – salvage expert

Joe Krishnan
The Independent
29 March 2014

Some small and as yet unidentified objects were said to have been recovered from the Indian Ocean on Saturday but experts have warned that salvaging MH370 in some of the world’s deepest and most turbulent waters will not be easy.

David Mearns, owner of Blue Water Recoveries in West Sussex and one of the world’s most experienced deep-sea shipwreck salvagers, described the efforts that would be undertaken to recover the plane that disappeared with 239 people on board on 8 March.

He said that the seabed some 1,800km (1,100 miles) from Perth, Western Australia, may not be “precisely mapped out” which could rule out many systems for recovering any parts of the Boeing 777 that may have sunk. He said the operation would be divided into two phases: recovery and salvage.

“Only a small number of systems have the technology to search that far,” he said. “A handful of companies will have the equipment and necessary expertise within their teams to do this.” Read the rest of this entry »

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In MH370, unity for the country not the same as for the government

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
March 29, 2014

It must be said, time and again, that there is a difference between government and country. A huge difference. And asking people to unite for the country is absolutely different from asking people to unite
for the government.

More so in the days and weeks after flight MH370 and the 239 people on board vanished without a trace. Many have asked to pray for the passengers and the plane, to unite for the flight and for the country.

That doesn’t mean that criticising the incompetence of the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or the inaccurate presumption of the Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri is unpatriotic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: New hope for clues to MH370′s fate as ships scour more hospitable search area

by Tom Allard, Adrian Beattie
Sydney Morning Herald
March 30, 2014

Aircraft scoured 252,000 square km on Saturday, almost the entire search zone, but the hunt was unsuccessful.

While numerous objects were sighted by surveillance planes and some recovered by vessels on the scene, AMSA reported that none of the debris that was closely scrutinized was from the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

A flotilla of ships searched for more objects identified by military aircraft as possible wreckage of MH370 as an ever-expanding multinational effort to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet stepped up a gear.

Late on Saturday, a Chinese surveillance plane reported it found three more objects – white, red and orange – in the new search waters, Chinese state media reported.

As new aircraft, ships and a team of navy divers prepared to join the search, the head of New Zealand’s Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, said the debris first sighted by its P3 Orion aircraft on Friday was between half a metre and one metre in size. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flight 370, a mysterious ‘one-off,’ spurs calls to modernize tracking technology

By Joel Achenbach, Scott Higham and Ashley Halsey III
Washington Post
March 29, 2014

The bizarre tale of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 comes at a time when flying is safer than ever. Nervous fliers squeeze the armrests for dear life, but most passengers have no problem nodding off as their jetliner cruises seven miles above the Earth. They have internalized the statistical truth that the most dangerous part of an airplane trip is the drive to the airport.

Yet disasters still happen, including this one. Officially declared a plane crash at sea with no survivors, the event remains so deeply mysterious that it seems premature to refer to the people aboard as deceased.

Viewed in the broad context of aviation safety, this weird case actually fits snugly within a recent pattern: Airline disasters now tend to be unprecedented in nature — what investigators call “one-offs.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese ship steams to possible MH370 debris

AlJazeera
29 March 2014

A Chinese ship is steaming towards a search area in the southern Indian Ocean after one of the country’s military aircraft spotted three suspicious objects that could be related to the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that the Chinese military plane Ilyushin IL-76 had sighted three white, red and orange floating objects from an altitude of 300m on Saturday.

The Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the search, said late on Friday that five international aircraft had spotted “multiple objects of various colours”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Timeline of Malaysian Air’s Missing Flight 370

By J. Kyle O’Donnell Mar 28, 2014 2:25 PM GMT+0800
Bloomberg

The disappearance of Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS)’s Flight 370 has galvanized a multinational search, spawned theories ranging from an accident to air piracy and repeatedly dashed hopes that a resolution was at hand.

Below is a timeline of the events that began with the jet’s departure from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing:

March 8:

12:41 a.m.: Flight 370 takes off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew members on board.

1:07 a.m.: Last transmission from the Boeing Co. 777-200ER via an onboard text-and-data messaging system known by the acronym Acars.

1:19 a.m.: Last communication from the cockpit. Initial investigation says copilot said, “alright, good night” as the last words. Plane leaves Malaysian airspace, heading across the Gulf of Thailand toward Vietnam.

1:21 a.m.: Radar transponder is switched off.

1:37 a.m.: Next Acars transmission is due, and never comes.

2:15 a.m.: Malaysian military radar spots an aircraft on the west side of Peninsular Malaysia that isn’t using its transponder. This development won’t be publicly known until about a week later. The radar target is Flight 370, heading away from its planned route.

6:30 a.m.: Flight 370 is scheduled to arrive in Beijing.

7:39 a.m.: China’s Xinhua news agency sends a flash bulletin saying contact had been lost with Flight 370. Chinese passengers make up about two-thirds of the people on board the plane.

8:11 a.m.: Last satellite signal sent from the plane, known as a “handshake,” is detected. This development won’t be known for about a week.

8:19 a.m.: Evidence of a “partial handshake” between the aircraft and the ground station eight minutes after the last complete communication. This information was released March 25.

9:15 a.m.: No response from the aircraft when the ground station sent the next message, indicating the plane was no longer logged on to the network.

Initial search efforts focus on the Gulf of Thailand, where twin oil slicks stir concern that they signal a crash on the plane’s known route. The discovery that two passengers were traveling on stolen passports triggers speculation that terrorism may have been involved.

March 9: Vietnamese searchers find objects in the Gulf of Thailand only to conclude later that they’re unrelated to Flight 370. Representatives for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing travel to Malaysia to assist with the investigation. Speculation arises that the plane deviated from its route.
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Three events in last 24 hours brought some semi-light and “hope against hope”, however tenuous and unsubstantial, all is not yet lost for the 239 aboard MH 370 as long as no wreckage has been found

Three events in the last 24 hours have brought some semi-light and “hope against hope”, however tenuous and unsubstantial, in the long, bleak and agonizing 21-day ordeal of the aggrieved that all is not yet lost for the 239 passengers and crew aboard Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH 370 Boeing 777-200 as long as no wreckage has been found.

The first is the statement by the satellite company Inmarsat, distancing itself from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s definitive conclusion on the 17th day of the missing MH370 that the Malaysian Airlines flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors and the announcement of the end of the search-and-rescue (SAR) operation.

Inmarsat spokesperson Jonathan Sinnatt has been quoted in the international media as saying that Inmarsat had only provided the information and it was for the Malaysian government to draw its own conclusions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s How They’ll Piece Together What Happened to Flight MH370

By Jordan Golson
Wired
03.28.14

The southern Indian Ocean is a vast, desolate and hostile place churned by relentless currents and vicious storms. It is rarely traversed by air or sea, and anything lost there may never be found. That includes Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

But those scouring a remote swath of ocean west of Australia received tantalizing clues this week, including new radar data about the plane’s velocity. The data, gleaned from radar between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, suggests MH370 was traveling faster than previously believed, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. That means it would have run out of fuel sooner. The agency called this new information “the most credible lead to where debris may be located.” 1

The new lead prompted a sudden change in focus to an area 685 miles northeast of where everyone had been searching. They’d spent much of the week scouring an area 1,600 miles west of Perth, Australia, after satellite images taken Sunday by Airbus Defence and Space and Monday by Thailand’s Geo-Informatics Space Technology Development Agency revealed what might be a debris field.

The shift to yet another area underscores just how perplexing the search has been, and how investigators have been frustrated in their quest for answers. None of the aircraft or ships in the region have found anything of note, and the photos may reveal nothing more than whitecaps or the flotsam so often found at sea.

With little else to go on, investigators have so far relied upon the scant satellite and radar communication the plane had after going dark 90 minutes into its March 8 flight to Beijing with 239 people aboard. Finding a debris field would be akin to a homicide detective locating a body, allowing investigators to begin piecing together, literally and figuratively, what happened.

“Until they find debris,” said Dr. Vernon Grose, a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, “they’re spending all that money on this, and it’s totally useless.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Can flight MH370 lead to political change?

The Malaysian Insider
March 29, 2014

Will Malaysians have the appetite for a political witch hunt after the flight MH370 crisis?

A writer contributing to Al Jazeera website says that right now many are emotionally exhausted with the affair and by the time all the questions have been answered and murkiness cleared, it could be business as usual in Malaysia.

“Once the dust settles on this tragedy, could the lessons learnt act as a catalyst for the political shake up, or even awakening, that Malaysia so urgently needs?

“Will the Malaysian people demand a more answerable government from now on – and more importantly will the ruling elite deliver?” freelance writer Zarina Banu wrote in Al Jazeera this week.

She pointed out the clumsy and conflicting communications over flight MH370, which was carrying 239 people on board when it disappeared en route to Beijing on March 8. No physical wreckage or debris has yet to be found.

But she said Malaysians were split about the way the leadership has managed these catastrophic events – a fissure that mirrors a virtual 50-50 political divide between the government and the opposition. Read the rest of this entry »

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