Archive for March 11th, 2014

Legal limbo hampers probe into missing MAS jet

Siva Govindasamy, Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher, Reuters
Malaysiakini
Mar 11, 2014

Investigators trying to solve the disappearance without trace of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner face an extremely rare challenge that could hinder their efforts: they lack the powers of a formal air safety investigation.

Four days after Flight MH370 went missing in mid-air with 239 people on board, no nation has stepped forward to initiate and lead an official probe, leaving a formal leadership vacuum that industry experts say appears unprecedented.

Malaysian officials are conducting their own informal investigations, in cooperation with other governments and foreign agencies, but they lack the legal powers that would come with a formal international probe under UN-sanctioned rules.

Those powers include the legal rights to take testimony from all witnesses and other parties, the right to have exclusive control over the release of information and the ability to centralise a vast amount of fragmentary evidence.

A senior official familiar with the preliminary Malaysian probe said Malaysian authorities could not yet convene a formal investigation due to a lack of evidence on where – namely, in which national jurisdiction – the Boeing 777-200ER jet crashed.

He said this was not hampering their work, that preliminary investigations had begun and that they were working with their neighbours, US officials and the jet’s maker Boeing. Read the rest of this entry »

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As leads fail to pan out, search for MH370 stretches from Sumatra to Hong Kong

The Malaysian Insider
March 11, 2014

Searchers are scouring more than 500,000 square nautical miles from the shores of Sumatra to Hong Kong to look for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 today as lead after lead failed to pan out over the past three days since the passenger jet vanished.

The flotilla of naval ships and some three dozen aircraft will comb both sea and the jungle-clad Malaysian-Thai border for the lost Boeing 777-200ER jet with 239 people onboard.

One thing the search and rescue team know is that the twin-engine aircraft is not in the air as it had only 7½ hours of fuel left when it vanished 40 minutes into the six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday.

The teams trying to find the passenger jet, which has a 61m wingspan, will scour data for radar signatures while seeking to detect pinging from black boxes as the search for visible wreckage proves elusive, Bloomberg reported last night.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said yesterday that none of the debris found were linked to the plane while an oil slick close the flight path proved to be bunker fuel, not jet fuel.

American experts said the first 72 hours was crucial for anyone to survive a plane crash but authorities are hopeful as nothing has turned up to suggest MH370 has met a watery end. Read the rest of this entry »

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Former NST editor laments ‘lax’ security at KLIA, blaming ‘third world mentality’

The Malaysian Insider
March 10, 2014

Has Malaysia paid a high price with its Third World standards and attitude towards security and asset management issues, was the question posed by a veteran newsman when commenting on the missing Malaysia Airlines Beijing-bound flight MH370.

Former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said that while waiting for news on the missing MH370, it cannot be denied that the control and security checks at Malaysian airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport can be said to be “relaxed” compared with those in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

He noted that even the mammoth Dubai airport had tighter control and security checks.

“Have we paid a high price for the attitude and third-world mentality towards security and asset management?

“Is this the repercussion for the corruption, abuse of power and negligence which have reportedly happened repeatedly in KLIA?” he asked in his latest blog posting, adding his voice to the growing criticism over poor airport security at the country’s main gateway. Read the rest of this entry »

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A nation responds to loss of MH370

by Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
March 10, 2014

COMMENT The loss of MH370 will be a defining moment in the country’s history. While attention rightly focuses on comforting families, finding the plane and what has caused this tragedy, the event has shown the depth of caring among Malaysians.

Across faiths, ethnic groups and borders, Malaysians have reached out to each other and to friends. Pride has been put aside in accepting international help and social media on the whole has shared more messages of hope than division. In the shared sadness of loss, the tragedy had revealed and reinforced a strong sense of community.

The image of an interfaith prayer led by former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was perhaps the most powerful moment over the weekend, as it reflected what had been happening in society itself as Malaysians from all walks of life reached across their differences for those affected by the missing plane. It did not matter what word was being used, as the sentiment was the same.

Crises like these reveal character. They tell us who can handle pressure, test leaders and what are the real priorities. The character that was revealed is a society that cares for each other.

Despite all of the anger and stupidity surrounding recent events – from red paint throwing to unjust legal decisions – the ties among Malaysians are strong and resilient.

The silent majority of people who go about their lives, take planes, go on vacation and work, came out this weekend in the phone calls made to each other, recollections of classmates and on Facebook. This same silent majority is the one who is fed up with politicians abusing power and attacking each other, and wants more emphasis on solving the country’s problems and more dignity in political engagement.

They put Malaysia, its citizens and visitors first. If anything, this is a silver lining of the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction: A travesty of justice

– Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
The Malaysian Insider
March 10, 2014

I refer to “Judicial process and timing in Anwar’s case implies persecution not prosecution, says Bar Council”, The Malaysian Insider, March 9 concerning the latest conviction of the Malaysian opposition leader.

I overwhelmingly concur with the charge of the Malaysian Bar Council that “the charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted”.

It is undeniable that because of the grave fear and extreme paranoia of the powers that be to the natural and charismatic power and genuine popularity of Anwar to the Malaysian public, they have used all the resources and arsenal of the government even to the point of compromising the integrity and independence of the courts.

Why? For the simple reason that they do not want Anwar to win in Kajang and subsequently be the Selangor menteri besar.

I am wondering, is it all worth it? Yes, they successfully blocked Anwar from contesting in the coming by-election. In fact, he is in danger once again of going back to prison, yet do they know the repercussions and consequences of what they did? Read the rest of this entry »

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Caucasian Names … Asian Faces … No, They’re Blacks! What’s Going On?

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
11.3.2014

The Government is being hit by criticism again, and this time not just from Malaysians but foreigners as well.

Its handling of the case of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 bound for China from Kuala Lumpur is appalling. Instead of answering questions, it is provoking people to ask even more. Is it being cagey to cover up its own embarrassment for carelessly allowing the two men using stolen passports to board the plane? Or perhaps even more?

At a press conference held last Sunday, a New York Times reporter asked the Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, what the Malaysian authorities saw on a CCTV recording of the two impostors and the D-G replied he couldn’t disclose this because of “security reasons”. Was it really just that?

As it turned out, we were told the next day that although the stolen passports carried Italian and Austrian names, the impostors looked Asian!

It even prompted Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to hit out at immigration officers in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for what appears a stupid blunder. “I am still puzzled how come (immigration officers) cannot think, an Italian and Austrian (passengers) but with Asian facial features,” he reportedly said.

Frankly, I was surprised he said that because it only made his own side, i.e. the Government, look awful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Timeline: The search for MH370

Malaysiakini/Reuters
Mar 10, 2014

Here is a timeline of events in the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner which vanished from radar screens on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on Saturday:

Saturday, March 8

- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Flight departs at 12.21am (1421 GMT Friday), and is due to land in Beijing at 6.30am (2230 GMT) the same day. On board the Boeing 777-200ER are 227 passengers and 12 crew.

- Airline loses contact with plane between 1-2 hours after takeoff. No distress signal and weather is clear at the time.

- Missing plane last has contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

- Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam says plane failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while flying over sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.

- Flight tracking website flightaware.com shows plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from website’s tracking records a minute later while still climbing. Read the rest of this entry »

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