Archive for March 17th, 2014

India troops seeking jet rest at island base as Malaysia silent

The Malay Mail Online
March 17, 2014

PORT BLAIR (India), March 17 — As the sun set over Port Blair in the Andaman Sea during the past week, runway lights glowed to guide Indian aircraft searching for the missing Malaysian passenger jet back to land.

For the past two days, however, the headquarters of India’s search operations for the plane in the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been quiet as officials await new coordinates from Malaysia. Many of the 2,000 military officers stationed on the islands stayed home to celebrate the holiday of Holi, which marks the start of spring, by smearing coloured powder on each other’s faces.

“Our hands are tied until the Malaysians come back to us with coordinates,” Harmit Singh, spokesman for the Indian military in Port Blair, said today. “Until then, we just sit, wait and try to enjoy Holi.”

Indian officials had deployed ships and long-range aircraft from the island chain to search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 across 250,000 square kilometres (96,500 square miles), an area about the size of the UK Shifting the search further into the Indian Ocean may prove much more difficult.

“The Indian Ocean is daunting,” V.S.R. Murthy, the coast guard’s commander for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said in an interview on March 15. “There is a massive amount of sea that will need to be searched, which will require many more planes, ships.” Read the rest of this entry »


MH370 throws spotlight on Malaysia’s air force and radar capabilities

March 17, 2014

Even before all question on the lost Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 has been answered, a debate has already started on the state of readiness of the Malaysian air force and the privatisation of military and civilian radar services.

DAP Raub MP Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz today questioned the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) for not checking an aircraft that flew mysteriously across the Malay peninsula the morning that the MAS Boeing 777-200ER disappeared.

The mysterious flight has now been identified as the Beijing-bound flight MH370, which was carrying 239 on board when it vanished from radar screens at 1.30am on March 8. It remains missing.

“At the time that whatever radar captured an intrusion into our space by an unidentified plane, why did TUDM not do anything. Where were our 18 Sukhois, our MIG and all that,” he asked in his popular blog today, referring to the air force by its Bahasa acronym.

The former Umno politician pointed out the Indian military said the response to an unidentified plane in the country’s airspace would be an immediate scramble of its fighter jets to intercept.

“That is how we confirm whether the object is hostile or not – not by waiting for people in the flying object to say – hello general, we are evil people with evil intentions. Read the rest of this entry »


Denying BN deposit in Kajang by-election an “impossibly tall order” but there is no other more appropriate occasion than Kajang by-election for voters to forfeit BN of election deposit

(Speech at the DAPSY Ceramah for the Kajang by-election held at the Sungei Chua BasketBall Court, Kajang on Sunday, 16th March 2014 at 9.30 pm)

When I first suggested at the fifth Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam the previous Saturday (8th March) that the Kajang voters should do the impossible in the by-election by making the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate lose deposit, I had said that this was a “very tall order” but the occasion warranted going for such an extraordinary result.

I want to repeat my call tonight to the Kajang voters in the by-election to perform the impossible to make the Barisan Nasional candidate lose the deposit on polling day on March 23.

I would describe this not just a “very tall order” but an “impossibly tall order”, which is not going to be easily achieved as it would need a super-herculean effort by the Kajang voters on polling day.

There are some 40,000 voters in Kajang state assembly seat. In the 13GE in May last year, the voter turnout for the constituency, comprising 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%, was as high as 87.9%. Read the rest of this entry »

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No facts to blame pilots of MH370 yet, says report

The Malaysian Insider
March 17, 2014

The investigation into the lost Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 has yet to throw up a persuasive fact that the pilots could have deliberately taken the Boeing 777-200ER to an unknown destination, the Daily Beast reported today.

In an article headlined “The baseless rush to blame the pilots of Flight 370”, the online portal’s journalist Clive Irving noted that “what little evidence there is has been contaminated by the performance of the Malaysian authorities”.

“They resemble a bunch of dumb cops blundering over a crime scene, arguing over what it reveals and what it does not and competing for attention.

“In a sadly familiar ploy of the pursued, the prime minister himself was put up to float a theory so far lacking in any persuasive facts: the pilots did it. Dead men have no defense,” he wrote today in the online portal.

US intelligence officials and the Malaysian government have said that someone in the cockpit had deliberately changed the flight’s course after it vanished from radar screens early March 8 when the passenger jet with 239 people on board was bound for Beijing.

It never arrived and is still missing for the past 10 days. Read the rest of this entry »


Final MH370 radio contact made after data link killed

The Malay Mail Online
March 17, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Investigators initially took the words “Good night” — the last words sent from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 — to mean all had then been well aboard the plane.

But a revelation now shows that the final transmission was made after someone onboard disabled the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) that conveyed the plane’s health to MAS is raising questions about who was in control of the Beijing-bound plane that is missing along with its 239 passengers.

The chronology indicates that the person who last contacted Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC) was aware that the critical communications system was no longer functional at the time, the Guardian reported yesterday.

Moments after the ACARS link was lost, the plane’s transponder was switched off at 1.22am on March 8, rendering it invisible to commercial radar as it turned around off the coast of Kelantan and made its way back—as military radar has confirmed—across the peninsula and into the Straits of Malacca.

The sequence is reinforcing the hypothesis that MH370 went missing due to possible hijacking, after the Malaysian government said on Saturday that it was all but certain that the plane was diverted from its flight path to Beijing through “deliberate action”.

The government said it was now directing its investigation towards the two pilots, 10 crew members and 227 passengers onboard the flight. Read the rest of this entry »