Archive for March 24th, 2014

Hisham agrees to PSC plan, but cabinet to decide

Ram Anand
Mar 24, 2014

MH370 Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein today agreed with proposals for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the disappearence of the missing Flight MH370, but said the onus was on cabinet to decide on the matter.

“I agree that both sides (opposition and government) be together in this issue,” he said during his winding-up speech for the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address at the Dewan Rakyat today.

“Not only at the Malaysian level, but on a global level we must show togetherness. But I alone cannot make a decision. As the responsible minister, I will bring this up to the cabinet for a decision,” Hishammuddin said.

He said this in response to a question from Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Gelang Patah) over the proposal for a PSC on the missing plane, which was made by Anthony Loke (DAP-Seremban) last week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tears of grief and ambulance calls in Beijing when families told of MH370 crash

The Malay Mail Online
March 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Distraught, the Chinese families of those on board MH370 left a briefing by Malaysia Airlines in Beijing in “profound grief” after hearing that the ill-fated jetliner had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

“Awful scene. Chinese families leaving briefing room, wailing,” tweeted CNN correspondent Pauline Chiou, shortly after the tragic news was delivered, both in Malaysia and in Beijing.

The Chinese made up a bulk of the passengers on board flight MH370, a total of 153 of the 239 people, including 12 crew members and two infants.

“It’s just awful… it is profound, profound grief,” said Chiou in a broadcast on CNN.

“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just an awful, awful scene,” she said.

Chiou said a screaming woman was seen being taken away on a stretcher towards a waiting ambulance van. Behind her, another person, believed to be the woman’s relative, followed the stretcher to the vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 lost beyond reasonable doubt, says MAS

by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
March 24, 2014

Satellite data showed that flight MH370 flew into the southern Indian Ocean, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today, as Malaysia Airlines said the flight is lost “beyond reasonable doubt”.

“Flight MH370 flew into the southern Indian Ocean,” the Prime Minister said in Kuala Lumpur tonight.

In a statement to relatives of the 239 people on board the flight, MAS said: “We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived … We must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

Najib said families of the passengers and crew had been briefed of the latest development. Read the rest of this entry »

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No Muslim tried to leave religion over past decade, minister says

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
March 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 24 — Not one Muslim applied to convert out of their faiths in the Shariah Courts over the past decade, a minister said today, laying to rest previous claims of apostasy repeatedly made by religious hardliners.

To the contrary, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said 4,520 individuals embraced Islam in just four years between 2008 and 2012, according to the Federal Territories Religious Department’s (Jawi) records.

“So far, there were no Muslims, including new converts, who left the religion, based on the lack of applications to convert out of Islam in the Shariah courts,” Jamil said in a written reply to Kampar MP Dr Ko Chung Sen in Parliament here.

Ko had requested the number of non-Muslims who converted into Islam in the last ten years, and the number of Muslims who converted out in the same period.

However, Jamil said there were applications by those who were mistakenly registered as Muslims, particularly those in Sabah and Sarawak, who had asked to switch religions.

He said those registered as Muslims by mistake usually have names that sound like Muslims’ names. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who is holding up satellite info in MH370 search?

The Malay Mail Online
March 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Satellite data allowed the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that once spanned 30 million sq km to be whittled down to 68,000 sq km, but open questions exist over why authorities took so long to make this discovery.

The current search area some 2,500km southwest of Perth in Western Australia was calculated by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Australia using data provided by commercial satellite firm Inmarsat, according to a Washington Post report yesterday.

But the data between Inmarsat and the missing Boeing 777-200ER is the same that allowed Malaysian authorities to announce on March 15 that the plane could be in one of two corridors: a northern arc from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in central Asia, or a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

The latter corridor is where Australia said satellite images of debris possibly related to MH370 was found. Since then, China and France have provided additional data of other sightings in the area.

“Why it took the experts in Canberra and Washington so long to get their heads together is another open question, and not one that be entirely explained by Malaysian foot-dragging,” the Washington Post said in its report yesterday Read the rest of this entry »

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What happened on March 8 still haunts personnel on duty

Sunday Star
Sunday March 23, 2014

PETALING JAYA: A sense of responsibility for the missing MH370 has taken a toll on Air Traffic Controllers on duty the morning the plane disappeared on March 8.

There were 40 personnel on duty during the shift, including the Radar Controller, Flight Planner and Flight Data officers, who were directing the aircraft before handing over responsibility to their Vietnamese counterparts.

A senior Department of Civil Aviation officer told The Star some of those on duty can’t help but dwell on what happened to the plane.

“They have come to talk to me and kept asking why, why why, this had happened,” said the officer. “Despite assuring them they had carried out their duties, some can’t let go of the incident.”

He said all emergency protocol was followed immediately after MH370 disappeared off the radar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kajang by-election result – MCA crushed while UMNO losing ground in Malay electorate

PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is to be congratulated for a sterling result in the Kajang by-election yesterday.

Despite a massive 16.3% in reduction in the voter turn-out from 88.4 per cent in the 13th general elections last May to 72.1% yesterday, Azizah has established two results in the by-election: MCA remain crushed while UMNO is losing ground in the Malay electorate.

The new MCA national leadership deserves commendation that they can see winning at most 25% of the Chinese votes in Kajang as a “surge in support” among the Chinese voters.

If winning at most 25% of the Chinese votes is not a political phenomenon of the MCA remaining “crushed”, then there is a new definition of the word.

In fact, MCA leaders are demonstrating that they are the new “Ah Q” at the most superlative in the Malaysian political landscape!

There can be no doubt that if the turnout of the Chinese voters had not dropped by a massive 20%, exceeding 3,000 voters, the BN/MCA candidate would have lost by a bigger majority than the 6,824-vote majority last year.

This is especially the case when Azizah’s breakthrough among the Malay electorate is taken into account, raising the estimated Malay voter support from 35% last year to some 44% in the by-election yesterday.

The message in yesterday’s Kajang by-election is that Pakatan Rakyat stands for the future of Malaysian politics, while MCA and Barisan Nasional represent the past.

(Media Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 24th March 2014)


After running out of fuel, plane likely glided a hundred kilometres more, says expert

The Malaysian Insider
March 21, 2014

Yet another speculation – if indeed it turned out that debris spotted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority are that of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – is that the aircraft had run out of fuel and continued to glide before it finally made its descent into the ocean.

An aviation professional, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, said newer aeroplanes would continue to glide, even after their fuel reserves had been exhausted.

“All the aeroplanes glide.

“They’ll go 10 (kilometres) along for every one down,” said Professor Jason Middleton from the University of New South Wales’ School of Aviation.

This is of course supposing that the whole crew and passengers on the flight had become unconscious due to a mechanical failure which caused low cabin pressure, resulting in the plane turning into a ‘ghost flight’ for several hours. Read the rest of this entry »


Clueless politicians and rivalry make search for MH370 even harder, says academic

The Malaysian Insider
March 24, 2014

With the world’s eyes following every move it made in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian authorities could have done better in devising a comprehensive major emergency response mechanism, said an opinion piece published today in China’s Global Times.

The opinion piece written by Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said that at times conflicting statements issued by various Malaysian authorities, ranging from transport to the military, had only caused confusion and further grief.

Oh was also a former political secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“This negative perception of Malaysian handling of the present incident may be caused by two features in Malaysia’s political environment that are alien to most Chinese,” Oh said in the piece titled “Malaysia’s political rivalries bedevil search for lost MH370 flight”. Read the rest of this entry »


Australia ‘clutching’ at MH370 leads after new data

The Malay Mail Online/AFP
March 24, 2014

PERTH, March 24 — Australia said today that French satellite data indicating floating objects possibly related to missing Flight MH370 were outside the current search zone, while admitting to “clutching” at every piece of new information.

Malaysian authorities yesterday received details from France indicating floating objects in the area of the southern Indian Ocean being scoured for the missing Malaysian jet which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The information was passed to Australian authorities who are coordinating the hunt for the plane, now focused on a remote stretch of ocean 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.

But Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the latest potential sighting of debris was about 850 kilometres north of where aircraft and ships have been looking since Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Routine Flight, Till Both Routine and Flight Vanish

New York Times
MARCH 22, 2014

The night sky was clear above the clouds, and the last glimmer of a setting half-moon had faded when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, cruising at 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Thailand, approached the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace on its usual route to Beijing. What happened next should have been routine for a twice-daily milk run between two of Asia’s most important cities. Air traffic controllers outside Kuala Lumpur usually hand the jet off to their counterparts in Ho Chi Minh City as the flight turns northeast toward the Chinese capital.

But in those early hours of March 8, pilots flying nearby heard an unusual crescendo of chatter on the radio frequencies used by radar control in Vietnam and Malaysia. Air traffic personnel in both countries were trying and failing to reach the plane.

“Any stations in contact with Malaysian 370, please relay.”

Vietnamese and Malaysian controllers asked one aircraft after another to radio the jet. Pilots listened as one plane after another tried and heard only static.

“Malaysian 370, this is Malaysian 88.”

“Malaysian 370, this is Malaysian 52.”

People familiar with the calls, describing them for the first time, said they were calm, even laconic. The pilots trying to reach the airliner had no reason to believe it had suffered anything more than an ordinary radio malfunction. Read the rest of this entry »