Archive for April 1st, 2014

Flight MH370 Malaysian officials struggle with credibility after changing last words heard from lost aircraft

Chris Brummitt and Gillian Wong, Associated Press | April 1, 2014 10:19 AM ET
National Post

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — It may mean little to investigators that the last words air traffic controllers heard from the lost jetliner were “Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero,” rather than “All right, good night.” But to Malaysian officials whose credibility has been questioned almost from the beginning, it means a great deal.

Malaysian officials said more than two weeks ago that “All right, good night,” were the last words, and that the co-pilot uttered them. They changed the account late Monday and said they are still investigating who it was that spoke. The discrepancy added to the confusion and frustration families of the missing already felt more than three weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared.

“This sort of mistake hits at the heart of trust in their communications. If Malaysia is changing what the pilot said, people start thinking, ‘What are they going to change next?” said Hamish McLean, an expert in risk and crisis communication at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.

“Information is in a crisis is absolutely critical. When we are dealing with such a small amount of information its needs to be handled very carefully,” he said.

Authorities have been forced on the defensive by the criticism, the most forceful of which has come from a group of Chinese relatives who accuse them of lying about — or even involvement in — the plane’s disappearance. In part responding to domestic political criticism, defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein has taken to retweeting supportive comments on Twitter. He has twice in recent days proclaimed that “history would judge us well” over the handling of the crisis. Read the rest of this entry »


Not even China could run MH370 gauntlet unscathed, FT says

The Malay Mail Online
April 1, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Malaysia may be grappling with the crisis of flight MH370 but international rebuke, particularly from China, over its handling is not fully deserved, the Financial Times said.

In a commentary here, the business daily’s Singapore-based senior editor Jeremy Grant suggested that even China — Malaysia’s biggest critic since the Boeing 777-200ER’s mysterious disappearance on March 8 — would not likely have fared better.

He reminded China of its previous debacles in the face of public crises, such as the melamine-contaminated milk scandal in 2008 that had turned into a public relations nightmare for the republic.

In another fiasco, the Chinese authorities were accused of muzzling the media and attempting to cover-up the tragic high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, which killed 38 people and injured 192.

Despite its previous performance, China is now putting Malaysia under the spotlight over similar accusations. Read the rest of this entry »


UK satellite firm swats off suspicions over MH370 briefing snub

The Malay Mail Online
April 1, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Commercial satellite firm Inmarsat has dismissed allegations of “evasiveness” in its absence from technical briefings on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, saying existing rules precluded its active participation in place of British authorities.

The firm whose satellite provided the crucial information of the plane’s calculated position came in for accusations of furtiveness after a “Malaysian official” was reported as saying that it had declined an invitation to join a “high-level” briefing organised by the Malaysian government for families of Chinese passengers from MH370 in Beijing.

Speaking to UK newspaper The Guardian, Inmarsat vice-president for external affairs Chris McLaughlin denied they had turned down the invitation, saying that it was not the private firm’s place to be invited to begin with.

“We haven’t been invited. Why would we? The Air Accident Investigation Branch are the proper people to speak. Inmarsat is a technical adviser to the AAIB.

“That is not us being evasive, that is the Chicago convention protocol,” McLaughlin told the UK daily.

The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation regulates rules regarding aviation and establishes how air accident investigations are conducted. Read the rest of this entry »


Correction of the last words from the cockpit of MH370 – why it is even more imperative for an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on MH 370 before Parliament adjourns on April 10!

The 25th day of the missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) MH370 starts with another emotional roller-coaster not only for the loved ones of the 239 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777 airliner, but for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, territory or politics.

This is the medley of shame, sadness and anger felt by most Malaysians when they learn of the correction issued by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) just before midnight confirming that MH370’s last radio communication was “Good night Malaysian 370” and not “All right, good night” as earlier reported.

The Chinese broadcaster CCTV had on Sunday reported that the last words from the cockpit of MH370 before it disappeared from civilian radar were actually “Good night, Malaysian 370”, and not “all right, good night” as the Department of Civil Aviation had previously claimed.

The final sign off, said as the plane left Malaysian airspace and was about to enter that of Vietnam at 1.19 am on March 8, is much more formal than the words that were originally reported.

I believe I share the feelings of the overwhelming number of Malaysians when I cringe at the DCA’s clarification, feeling shame, sadness and even anger that we have made another mistake which should not have occurred, as it reflects most adversely on the competence of our system of governance and therefore on our national pride.

The past 25 days have exposed at least half-dozen mistakes and weaknesses, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Opposition angry Hishammuddin will not be around for MH370 briefing

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
April 01, 2014

Pakatan Rakyat MPs are seething at Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s decision to attend the Asean Defence Ministers meeting in Hawaii, instead of briefing them tonight on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Describing it as the “height of irresponsibility and an utter contempt of parliament”, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said they wanted Hishammuddin to brief them, and not his officers.

“This is proof that the Barisan Nasional government is not serious, especially on the roles that MPs can play on this matter,” Lim said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby today. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Subang ATC now reveal initial response when MH370 went missing?

The Malaysian Insider
April 01, 2014

Aviation industry experts now want Malaysia’s air traffic controllers to reveal their response when flight MH370 vanished early March 8, after the authorities finally said last night that the plane’s pilots said “Good night Malaysian three seven zero” and not “All right, good night”.

The change in the conversation transcript is the latest in a series of changes in information about the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) which disappeared with 239 people while en route to Beijing 24 days ago.

“Subang air traffic control (ATC) has not said what it did when the plane vanished after it signed off from Malaysian airspace. Did they launch an immediate search and rescue?

“If the lack of military response is anything, it raises a lot of questions about the ATC’s standard operating procedure (SOP),” an aviation expert told The Malaysian Insider, citing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations require immediate alerts to relevant search and rescue units. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Poor coordination wasted time in Indian Ocean hunt for MH370

The Malay Mail Online
April 1, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Searchers wasted three days looking for MH370 wreckage in the wrong part of the Indian Ocean because of poor coordinating among countries working on locating the missing aircraft, the Wall Street Journal wrote today.

Citing opinions from those familiar with the probe, the business paper said the international team of experts involved in investigations have all been performing their roles but are working separately from one another, each in their own area of expertise.

One person, according to WSJ, said that although investigators have been dutifully sharing information with their international partners in the Malaysian-led probe, “Malaysian officials didn’t feel it was their role to ensure that foreign experts were sharing refined data among themselves”.

“They don’t have the necessary structure for inter-agency coordination. It has exposed their lack of preparation to deal with such a disaster,” the paper quoted James Keith, former US ambassador to Malaysia, as saying previously.

Last Friday, the search for MH370 abruptly shifted to an area 1,100 kilometres northeast of where search planes and ships were initially looking for the missing jetliner’s wreckage in the Indian Ocean, far southwest of Perth, Australia. Read the rest of this entry »