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.
In denying that Malaysia was a month late in setting up three ministerial committees to handle the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crisis, Hishammuddin said the committees were merely aimed at coordinating activities related to MH370 but key bodies were already in place since the aircraft went missing on March 8.
He said experts group had been set up in the early part like the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) from the UK, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) from the US, the CACC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) from China, BEA (Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses) from France, as well as Inmarsat.
Hishammuddin said: “So I don’t understand what they (critics) are trying to get at. The ministerial committees that were set up is to coordinate whatever we are doing, simple as that.”
I do not understand what Hishammuddin is trying to say, except that the government had set up various experts groups which neither Parliament nor the public whether in families of 239 passengers and crew on board, concerned people in Malaysia or internationally knew anything about, as Hishammuddin seems to have taken the position that all inquiries should wait and be held in abeyance until the discovery of the aircraft’s black box.
What are these “key bodies” which had been established and operational into various aspects of the MH 370 disaster?
From today’s media, we learn for the first time that the Malaysian government has set up a Multi-Economic Impact Committee to minimise the backlash of the MH 3780 tragedy to the country’s tourism, trade and investments links with China.
The other reason for the establishment of the committee is the kidnapping of a China tourist in Sabah.
The committee to monitor immediate and long-term reactions as a result of the MH 370 tragedy and the Semporna kidnapping, comprise representatives from the ministries of finance, international trade and industry and tourism, would also formulate strategies to protect Malaysia’s close ties with China.
All these dribs and drabs of information are most unsatisfactory and among the causes of the crisis of trust and confidence in the government’s crisis management of the MH 370 tragedy.
I call on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to summon an emergency meeting of Parliament before May to set up an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on MH 370 with a comprehensive terms of reference which will go a long way to allay the widespreade unhappiness over the government’s handling of the MH 370 tragedy, felt not only by the families of the 239 passengers and crew, Malaysians but also the international community.
The Malaysian government must send a clear and unmistakable message that it is prepared for a full-scale investigations into all aspects of the MH 370 disaster and has nothing to hide – not only accepting the principle that Hishammuddin should not be involved in the investigation phase of the MH 370 tragedy but to support an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on MH 370 tragedy which will initiate global inter-parliamentary co-operation and investigations into the MH 370 tragedy which is not only a national but an international disaster.