Jeswan Kaur| March 20, 2014
Free Malaysia Today
Grieving families, especially from China, are furious with the Malaysian government for its refusal to be forthcoming with information.
Even in the face of a heartbreaking crisis, the Malaysian government could not let go of its insatiable hunger for politicking.
The nation is left speechless and at a loss wondering why and how the national carrier Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 plane, said to be one of the safest in the world, has disappeared.
It is day 13 since the MH370 Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight has gone missing. International experts complementing Malaysia’s search and rescue efforts are baffled as to what became of the plane which was ferrying 239 people including the cabin crew.
Still, the Malaysian government refuses to get its act right. On Tuesday night, Defense Minister and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein briefed politicians from the ruling BN coalition on the missing aircraft.
For reasons best known to him, Hishammuddin, who is also Umno’s vice-president, ignored politicians from the opposition camp. BN’s nemesis, Pakatan Rakyat was visibly upset at being left out.
Trying to conceal his reasons for discriminating against Pakatan politicians, Hishammuddin, who has since the MH370 ordeal been the face behind the government briefings on the missing plane tragedy, reacted in the most irresponsible manner, claiming that the Pakatan politicians had not asked to be briefed.
A catastrophe has occurred and the Acting Transport Minister has the time to make wisecracks and downplay the existence of his fellow opposition politicians.
Hishammuddin told reporters in Putrajaya that there was nothing to hide concerning the missing jetliner.
“We are transparent to the world. Why should we hide anything from the Malaysian parliament?” he said.
If that was indeed the case, why the ‘cloak and dagger’ briefing exclusive for the BN politicians?
Malaysia’s unity and stability had long suffered a blow in the face of boiling racial tensions. And now, even in the face of the missing Boeing 777 adversity, the Malaysian government continues to undermine its reputation, this time internationally.
Looks like Pakatan is not alone in its rebuke against Hishammuddin and the Najib-administration.
Grieving families, especially those of the Chinese passengers, are furious with the Malaysian government for its refusal to be forthcoming with information.
Exasperated with the Malaysian government’s poor handling of the ordeal, these families issued an ultimatum. Either the Malaysian government came clean about the missing plane or they would go on a hunger strike.
Beijing has been critical of Malaysia’s sharing of information, with state media and its netizens expressing anger at the handling of the incident by Kuala Lumpur.
“Now we have no news, and everyone is understandably worried. The relatives say they will go to the (Malaysian) embassy to find the ambassador,” said Wen Wancheng, whose son was aboard the missing flight.
“The Malaysian ambassador should be presenting himself here. But he’s not,” Wen had said, updating reporters after a regular meeting between Malaysia Airlines officials and family members at a hotel in Beijing.
The world watches with bated breath as to how the mystery of the March 8 missing jetliner will come to an end.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government struggles to extricate itself from the pressure cooker stress it is currently facing, from its failure to be honest and lead an ‘organised’ search and rescue mission to being sensitive to the agony and anxiety plaguing families and relatives onboard the missing plane.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.