Archive for April 15th, 2014

Mini-sub to dive again after aborting first MH370 search

By Greg Wood
15th April 2014

Perth (Australia) (AFP) – A mini-sub hunting missing Flight MH370 was set to sweep the Indian Ocean seabed again Tuesday after cutting short its first mission, as Malaysia vowed to reveal any ‘black box’ data found.

The unmanned submarine equipped with sonar gear was deployed Monday night from the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which has spearheaded the hunt for the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

But the dive by the Bluefin-21 detected nothing of interest before it automatically aborted the mission after breaching its maximum operating depth, the US Navy said in a statement.

The Australian agency coordinating the search said the Bluefin-21 “exceeded its operating depth limit of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) and its built-in safety feature returned it to the surface”.

The unmanned Autonomous Underwater Vehicle was undamaged and set for a second sonar sweep during the day, weather permitting, officials said. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Search for Missing Jet Enters New Phase

By Rachel Pannett and Ross Kelly
Wall Street Journal
April 14, 2014

Authorities Deploy Underwater Vehicle to Examine Sea Floor; Six Days Since Last Pings Detected

SYDNEY—An unmanned submersible began searching the Indian Ocean seabed for wreckage from 3786.KU in Your Value Your Change Short position Flight 370 on Monday, as authorities gave up on fleeting hope of detecting any new signals from the missing jet’s black-box flight recorders.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is leading the multinational search, said a series of “ping” signals detected last week by a U.S. Navy black box detector remains the most promising lead in the search for the plane, which disappeared en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

But as the search entered its 38th day—more than a week beyond the estimated battery life of the black boxes’ emergency locator beacons, and six days after the last signal was detected—it makes sense to turn to the underwater Bluefin-21 vehicle, the former chief of Australia’s defense forces said.

“Aircraft wreckage needs to be visually identified before we can say with certainty that this is the final resting place of Flight 370,” he said. “I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage—it may not. However, this is the best lead we have and it must be pursued vigorously.” Read the rest of this entry »


Kit Siang, Pakatan trio to probe into effectiveness of Sabah maritime force

The Malaysian Insider
– April 15, 2014

Four opposition MPs are on a mission to find out if the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) is nothing but a white elephant, following the kidnapping of two foreign women from the Singamata Reef resort off Semporna on April 2.

It comes on the heels of a series of kidnappings from the eastern side of the state – which is a top tourist draw – even after the RM300 million security unit was set up last year following the Lahad Datu intrusion.

In November last year, Taiwanese Chang An Wei Chang was abducted in a raid at the Pom Pom island resort in Semporna, while Taiwanese businessman Li Min Hsu, 57, was killed, when gunmen opened fire during the attack.

Chang was released in December, 36 days after she was kidnapped, after negotiations with the kidnappers.

DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang and three other opposition MPs – Jimmy Wong (DAP – Kota Kinabalu), Stephen Wong (DAP – Sandakan) and retired First Admiral Mohamad Imran bin Abdul Hamid (PKR – Lumut) – are on a mission to find out what Putrajaya can do to ensure Esccom operates more effectively. Read the rest of this entry »


Four-men PR fact-finding parliamentary visit to Semporna to find out whether ESSCOM is “toothless tiger” or “white elephant” and whether it should be closed down as being utterly ineffective

Together with the DAP Sabah Chairman and MP for Kota Kinabalu, Jimmy Wong Sze Phing, DAP Sabah Deputy Chairman and MP for Sandakan Stephen Wong Tien Fatt and the PKR MP for Lumut, First Admiral Mohamad Imran bin Abdul Hamid, I am visiting Semporna today for a fact-finding visit to ascertain what could be done by the Malaysian government to ensure greater ESSCOM effectiveness and greater security for Eastern Sabah.

This is the direct result of the month-long parliamentary meeting which ended last Thursday which had put the national spotlight on the effectiveness of ESSCOM and the security of Eastern Sabah.

In the last week of Parliament, the DAP MP for Sandakan Stephen Wong created parliamentary history when he succeeded in adjourning parliamentary proceedings to have a debate on a matter of “urgent, definite public importance” to highlight the ineffectiveness of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and its failure to be the guardian of security in Eastern Sabah following the second abduction of a tourist from China on April 2 – the second abduction in five months and less than 24 hours after the first anniversary celebrations of ESSCOM.

I had described the first ESSCOM anniversary celebrations on April 1 as an “April Fool’s joke” to the people of Sabah and Malaysia, as the ESSCOM Director-General Datuk Mohamad Mentek had boasted that ESSCOM had “succeeded in stopping the attempts by foreigners to enter Sabah illegally to commit criminal acts like the kidnapping of Taiwanese tourists in Pulau Pom-Pom on 15 November 2013”, but in less than 24 hours, there was a second abduction of a tourist from China and a hotel employee of Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna at about 10.30 pm on April 2!

Parliamentarians, whether from Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional, do not want ESSCOM to be an expensive April Fool’s Joke, costing over RM300 million to be a mere “toothless tiger” or worse a “white elephant” which could play no meaningful or effective role to ensure the security and safety of Eastern Sabah. Read the rest of this entry »


The meltdown of Malaysian institutions

April 15, 2014

There was a time when Malaysia was known for its institutions – a civil service that facilitated rapid development from an agrarian economy to an industrialised one, a judiciary that was held in high esteem of the Commonwealth, and a military that defeated a communist insurgency.

Today, more than 50 years as a nation spanning from Perlis to Sabah, we see ineptitude and incompetency, a complete meltdown of Malaysian institutions.

The Attorney-General now farms out cases to an Umno lawyer; the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) leads an organisation which does not act when a High Court rules; the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) suffers a credibility deficit; and the air force has not covered itself with any glory.

So who do Malaysians turn to in time of need?

Not any of the above, it appears. Sad but true. Read the rest of this entry »


Western reporters outshine Chinese counterparts on MH370

By Li Xinran | April 15, 2014
Shanghai Daily

THE mysterious disappearance and search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 have dominated headlines, broadcast news and the internet since the huge aircraft vanished six weeks ago.

Coverage by domestic and international journalists has been intense, but too much reporting by Chinese mainland outlets did not demonstrate the depth and initiative of the reports by their foreign counterparts. Surely, they are capable of investigating and producing “scoops.”

But major stories about the flight, its pings, possible course and intriguing theories about the disappearance have been picked up and translated from CNN, the BBC, The AP, Reuters, AFP and other sources.

These overseas media went to great lengths to interview pilots, aviation, safety, satellite, meteorology, and oceanography experts, and many others.

It cannot be denied that Chinese media dispatched their journalists to the frontline immediately after the flight went missing. Shanghai-based Dragon TV and Oriental Morning Post sent their reporters to Malaysia and Vietnam respectively to trace the incident from the very beginning.

But many Chinese reporters naturally covered the press conferences and appear to focus most of their energy on the families of the Chinese passengers on board and their anger over insufficient information. Read the rest of this entry »