Parliament to discuss MH17, also needs to look into MH370

20 July 2014

Malaysian lawmakers from both sides of the political divide will have a chance this coming Wednesday to discuss and condemn the missile attack that blew flight MH17 with 298 people on board out of the sky last Thursday.

It is heartening that the politicians are leaving aside their quarrel to unite against what is essentially a massacre of innocent people over the Ukrainian war zone. But what about flight MH370?

While Malaysia focuses on the second tragedy for the country and flag carrier Malaysia Airlines in four months, are we forgetting about the first one that still remains a mystery until today.

We would be remiss as a country if we file away MH370 to some distant memory just because there is no trace of the Boeing 777-200ER and the 239 people on board.

It is clear why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Putrajaya are prepared to have a parliamentary session on MH17 – because this is a military strike and there would be no blame apportioned on either MAS or the government – notwithstanding the toxic comments that keep linking both to the crash.

So it is safe for the government to be magnanimous and call for an emergency parliamentary meeting that has been welcomed by the opposition.

The cynics will say that there is only upside for a rah-rah session, condemning terrorism, etc., but the world has to go along to make sure the perpetrators face justice.

Governing is not about only riding the upside, but assuring everyone that the country is in safe, secure and most importantly, responsible hands. And this means doing the right thing all the time.

More so at this juncture in Malaysia where we Malaysians seem to be pummelled by bad news every other day. Aside from the twin air tragedies, there have been incursions and kidnappings in Sabah, and not to mention the surge in right-wing rhetoric and real concerns about the quality and integrity of the leadership in Putrajaya.

An honest and transparent Parliament session/inquiry on MH370 will no doubt be messier and uglier than a session on MH17 with questions asked about the government’s early response to the missing passenger jet.

Also, there is the missing answers to questions about the military’s response or non-response the morning MH370 vanished into thin air without a trace.

A parliamentary session or even a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on MH370 will be the impetus to once and for all clear up some of the fog surrounding the “unprecedented aviation mystery”.

It will also provide some comfort for the families of those on board MH370, who have spent the last four months or so still wondering if their kin are dead or alive, or will ever be found.

Putrajaya’s reluctance to submit themselves to scrutiny only makes them seem more culpable and suggests that they too know that they could have done much more to detect the Boeing 777 in the early hours after it went missing.

It would appear it is easier to discuss the Boeing 777-200ER registration number 9M-MRD that carried 298 people because it is now the world’s biggest crime scene.

Putrajaya must do justice to both MH370 and MH17. The MPs cannot discuss one without referring to the other. The total of 510 passengers and 27 crew on board both passenger jets deserve that much.

As much as the lawmakers examine, debate and condemn what happened 10,000 metres above ground in Ukraine last Thursday, they should also do the same for the March 8 incident over the South China Sea, the Malay peninsula, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean.

Our hearts are as broken as the families of those on board MH370 and MH17. The least we can do is to look into the circumstances of what happened to MH370 as much as we do for MH17.

Anything less is as great a tragedy as of both aviation incidents.

Anything less is an injustice to Malaysia Airlines and those on board MH370 and MH17. – July 20, 2014.

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