Ending The Year 2014 On A Positive Note!

2014 najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas in 2014. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

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MH370: Interpol Hits Back at Malaysia

mh370

(It is not the first time the Malaysian authorities had some differences with Interpol. This is from the Wikipedia – Journalist Hamza Kashgari, who in February 2012 fled his home country of Saudi Arabia to avoid prosecution for apostasy, and was subsequently arrested in Malaysia. The Royal Malaysian Police initially asserted that they had arrested Kashgari because they had received an Interpol Red Notice request to do so. However, Interpol stated that no such notice had been issued, and the Malaysian police retracted their claim. Image source: http://www.intelligence-sec.com)

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Snippets – 28 March 2014

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(Only in Malaysia this happens on a regular basis and it is not a laughing matter. After all this country is best of the best when it comes to corruption free Government and corruption fighting agencies, eh?. Cartoon source: http://johnnyongcartoons.blogspot.com/)

Whilst we are largely pre-occupied with MH370 tragedy and have been keeping up our hopes for some kind of closure, some Malaysian politicians have been having some strange itchiness and have been trying to outdo each other in making themselves looking like an ass in public. Hmmm, is this the real reason why that old man, if given a chance, wanted to censor the internet?

World’s Most Corruption Free Country: Malaysia

It’s very obvious that some people in the country still living in a cocoon (perhaps high on coconut water). It must be one hard cocoon that they are living in as evident from this:-

Malaysia antara negara terbersih daripada perbuatan rasuah, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Shahidan menafikan dakwaan Malaysia sebuah negara yang kerap mengamalkan rasuah dan menegaskan dakwaan tersebut tidak wajar dikeluarkan kerana akan memberi kesan kepada pihak lain. Beliau berkata, Malaysia juga mempunyai sebuah agensi memerangi rasuah yang terbaik di dunia iaitu Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).

(Source)

Translated in simple English – Malaysia is one of the most corrupt FREE country in the world and has one of the best corruption fighting agency in the world (referring to MACC). Ok, I will wait for you to re-read the statement (mind you, it is coming from a seasoned Minister) and wait for the hard cold reality to hit you. I know, something is not right, right? Done that? Ok great. Now I will wait for you to laugh your heart out.

That is what happened to me when I first read this statement. I was speechless. I was in shock. I do not know which version of Malaysia that Shahidan is talking about (obviously exists in a galaxy far, far away) but it surely cannot be the same Malaysia that most of us are living in. The Malaysia that we live in has been ranked as one of the most corrupt nations by Ernst & Young. That is not a big revelation! We all know that for a long time now and we also know that MACC (the so-called best of the best) is toothless (can’t blame them) when it comes to nabbing those in political power when it comes to corruption (otherwise we would have seen certain Chief Minister behind bars a long time ago).

Deputy Minister Assumed RMAF Assumed Crap

One of the sourest point in the search for MH370 is the failure for RMAF to correctly identify and intercept MH370 when it deviated from it’s original flight path. If this been done, we could have identify MH370 immediately and would not have wasted valuable time, resources and assets over the South China Sea for days.

Then the Deputy Minister of Defence revealed that RMAF assumed that the plane had turned back because the air traffic control had ordered them back. The part of RMAF “assumed” did not go well with many people – after all, we expect the military to be more precise and professional especially of those monitoring the air space above Malaysia. We expect them to be on high alert and track things out of the ordinary. We expect them to pick up the phone and give DCA a call. With all that technology and expensive military hardware, we had never expect them to work on assumption basis. That is why we were pissed off when the Minister said RMAF had assumed this and that.

Then we had a 180 degree turn:-

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri today admitted he assumed that the Subang air traffic control had asked lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to turn back, adding his assumption was not accurate.

“In relation to my statement in the debate for the Royal Address yesterday, in which I said MH370 did a turn back probably because it received instructions from air traffic control, I want to clarify that it was just my assumption and one of the possibilities that could have happened.

“After making checks, I would like to stress that my assumption is not accurate,” Abdul Rahim said in a terse two-paragraph statement in Kuala Lumpur today.

(Source)

Now the joker turns around and say that it was he who made the assumption and not RMAF. Didn’t he check the facts before he opened his mouth in the Parliament? Did he misled the MPs then with unverified facts and wild assumptions? Doesn’t this borders to lying?

If this is not the case, then what would be the real reason for RMAF not scrambling their jets to intercept the rouge plane? Even if they claimed that DCA did not inform them of the missing plane, wouldn’t that make an even more compelling case for RMAF to scramble and intercept the plane? Someone obviously had slept on the job and it is very unsettling to know that we may have huge holes in our defence system. We still want to know what really happened otherwise we may find ourselves with another plane deviated from its flight path.

44 Firearms Lost – A Small Matter Only

It may sound like they had only lost 44 soiled underwear so we have “nothing” to worry but it is not the case:-

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is satisfied with the explanations given by police over its loss of assets, including 44 firearms highlighted in the 2012 Auditor General’s Report, said its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

“The amount is quite small and does not justify further investigation,” he said, adding the loss of assets in any organisation is normal and this included the police force. “We have to accept there will be some losses when the police are on duty, but in terms of the overall firearms, the number of losses is quite small.

“It’s not significant. In audit terms, it’s not significant for us to warrant further investigation,” he told reporters after chairing the PAC meeting today.

(Source)

Well, I don’t know about you but for me, what is important is not the number of items lost but rather what was lost. If the police had lost say 44 key-chains, it is nothing to shout about. But if you consider that the item lost is a firearm, then even a lost of 1 is a big issue. The police had lost 44 firearms. It could armed a small army to its teeth. It could be used for armed robberies and assassinations. It is significant and it does warrant further investigation. At end of the day, heads must roll and that is what we expect PAC to do. We don’t expect PAC to trivialize the 44 firearms lost and then sweep it under the carpet. Sigh, I sure hope PAC did not buy into the “fallen into the sea” crappy explanation and decided to close the issue. The outcome is very disappointing.

Too many newspapers will confuse Malaysians

Well, too much of something is not good for anyone – I agree but making the same case on newspapers and news is simply dumb (especially at this age of the internet):-

The Home Ministry had rejected FZ Daily and Malaysiakini’s application for publishing permits to protect the public from the confusion of having access to “too much news”.

“The (number of) newspaper publications with approved publishing permits is sufficient considering the number of readers in the country,” Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a parliamentary written reply Tuesday.

(Source)

When the case was taken to the court, the High Court judge ruled that the Home Ministry’s rejection was “improper and irrational”. And the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision and thus reconfirming that the rejection was indeed “improper and irrational”. So telling off that having too many newspapers is a bad thing does test one’s logic. At the end of the day, it is all depends on the selling the right news (not the crappy & racial ones from you-know-which-newspaper) and having sizable readership to continue to run the newspaper. No one dies from having too much news. No one goes crazy from reading too many news. And at times (in Malaysia, make it “most of the time”), it makes more sense for one to actually read both side of the story and come out with the right conclusion.

At the end of the day, knowing what Malaysiakini published on the internet, it is nothing but a political laced decision to simply silence the critics and keep the truth on the wrongdoings from surfacing.

And to rub salt on the wound, here we go again – all knowing, charitable and most gracious, whiter than angel politicians wanting to protect the feeble, weak, dumb public from the great danger. If we need any kind of protection, there will be only one – protect us from dumb politicians and their propaganda. We all know why Zahid is shitting in his pants over the application for permit to publish by Malaysiakini. We are not as dumb as he wants us to be.

Well, anyway have a great weekend ahead. Let’s just hope by chance, some of the politicians would start using their brains and we’ll finally hear more intelligent statements from next week onwards.

MH370: Time to Reassess the Shortcomings

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(Substitute the chill beer, wine and other liquors on a board with locally made, sugar high cendol and a plane is guaranteed not to crash into the sea – so says a joker in Malaysia. Perhaps he is right but then again this is not the right time and the place to say these things. Some people just don’t get it, do they? Image source: http://www.infoway.co)

The fate of the missing plane has somehow been determined – more or less. We can only say our deepest condolences to the families of the crew and passengers of MH370 and hope they would find some kind of closure and peace over the lost of their loved ones. MH370 will be remembered.

Despite this affirmation after 4 weeks into the incident, this however does not mean it would be the end – we still have the daunting task of finding the MH370’s black box. As one Australian commander had said, it is not an issue of finding the needle in a haystack but rather it is an issue of finding the haystack first. And once this is found (no doubt will be with great difficulty), we will still a long way to go before we can determine with surgical certainty on what had really happened to MH370. It’s our solemn duty to ensure that we get down to the actual reason for the MH370 deviating from its original flight path and ending up in the Indian Ocean. It’s strange that a plane that was heading north ended up deep south for no good reason.

Having said this, we should not also lose sight of the existing weaknesses that need to be addressed to avoid a similar incident in the near future. And over the last few weeks, other than the need to relook into how we can improve on crisis management, there have been calls to relook into beef up the security and control at airports:-

Has Malaysia paid a high price with its Third World standards and attitude towards security and asset management issues, was the question posed by a veteran newsman when commenting on the missing Malaysia Airlines Beijing-bound flight MH370.

Former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said that while waiting for news on the missing MH370, it cannot be denied that the control and security checks at Malaysian airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport can be said to be “relaxed” compared with those in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Is this the repercussion for the corruption, abuse of power and negligence which have reportedly happened repeatedly in KLIA?” he asked in his latest blog posting, adding his voice to the growing criticism over poor airport security at the country’s main gateway.

(Source)

As angry as Kadir Jasin may be, one cannot dismiss the fact that the 2 Iranians had easy ride out from KLIA on fake passports and this does raises some serious questions on the security and controls in our airports. Even if the 2 Iranians had come in legitimately (using Iranian passport), then why no red flags raised when they exited on fake passports? Why didn’t the system showed the Immigration officers that no one had entered using the fake passport (for them to exit with the same passport)? Is because our immigration system does not keep track of passports details coming in and out OR is it because some one had been careless and failed to check this important fact?

MACC seemed to have an answer:-

“However, we did find that the Iranians managed to slip through due to the policy of speeding up the clearance of foreign visitors. “We recommend that the government gives more weight to security to prevent such instances instead of giving priority to customer oriented service,” he said during a briefing session on “Is MACC Credible?” at Wisma Bernama, here Monday.

He added that it was quite impossible for Immigration to check all passports against Interpol’s system which lists more than 40 million missing passports in a short time.

(Source)

Unfortunately, it is not a good answer as this also means criminals, terrorists and other parasites of the society have an easy way in and out of the country. And in MH370, we were dealing with Iranians. What about the string of the so-called Nigerian students who come to this country for nothing but scams and drug peddling? It seems to be on the rise too. When we going to ban these parasite “students” outright from coming to this country and contributing to the crime statistics? When another plane goes missing? When there have been a massive shootout in public over a failed drug deals?

And then there is an issue of the failure of the Malaysian military to properly track and intercept a commercial plane that had deviated from its flight path. This issue has been a big question for many people.

The Time reports:-

The world wants to know how a rogue Boeing 777 can fly at will over Malaysia without military jets being scrambled. “Clearly they had let an unidentified aircraft pass through Malaysian sovereign territory without bothering to identify it; not something they were happy to admit,” writes aviation consultant David Learmount, who had previously decried “a chaotic lack of coordination between the Malaysian agencies.”

The Malaysian military spotted the missing jet passing through three military radars over the country’s far northeast, before it headed out over the Strait of Malacca. But despite its erratic behaviour, the American-made F-18s and F-5 fighters on alert at Butterworth Air Force base sat idle. Had the jets been scrambled, the world would have been saved a massive and extraordinary search operation.

“There was clearly a significant failure of response on behalf of the Malaysian Air Force. There’s no real way around it and you might imagine heads would roll for that,” says Anthony Davis, Bangkok-based analyst for defence-and-security-intelligence firm IHS-Jane.

(Source)

And this:-

According to the NYT report, a four-person air force crew based in Butterworth watching for intrusions into the country’s airspace either did not notice or failed to report a blip on their defensive radar and air traffic radar that was moving steadily across the country from east to west, heading right towards them.

Even the crews at two other radar installations at Kota Baru did not designate the blip as an unknown intruder, while the jetliner continued to fly across the country without anyone watching or alerting a superior or the national defence command, despite the fact that the radar contact’s flight path did not correspond to any filed flight plan.

And as a result, combat aircraft never scrambled to investigate.

(Source)

Once again, the question is whether it is a failure of the system or the people behind the system? And it cast a dark shadow on the integrity of our air defence system and tracking of what flying in and out of the country (never say that Malaysia is immune to attacks like the 9/11, not after we had the Sulu intrusion in the past).

Then RMAF responded with this:-

In revealing this today, Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said the air force decided to ignore the radar signal because the aircraft was categorised as non-hostile in nature.

“We thought the aircraft was non-hostile, we assumed it was a directive of the control tower that had directed the plane to turn back,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Many have pointed out that a telephone call from the military to the air traffic control on that morning could have alerted the tragedy, saved lives and millions of ringgit used for the search and rescue operations. The civilian air traffic control was also faulted for not raising the alarm when the aircraft went missing off its radar.

(Source)

Now that is out in the open, it is unsettling to know that the military assume things (some commentators mentioned being lazy) when they detect something out of the ordinary. And there seems to be a massive breakdown of escalations when the DCA failed to contact the plane.

Moving on, here’s one to turn your stomach around and puke in disguise:-

Amid the frantic search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, a pro-government Islamic talk-show host has drawn up a list of lessons to be learnt from this saga, including the advice that female flight attendants be allowed to don the hijab. Ridhuan, in the Sinar Harian column, also urged Malaysia Airlines not to imitate Western values and suggested the airline stopped serving liquor on its flights.

“Those who ask for liquor are those who are used to drinking. Distract them with more nutritious local food like cendol and such,” said Ridhuan, referring to the sweet coconut milk dessert.

(Source)

Frankly speaking, I don’t know whether this supersedes the Bomoh coconut clown show at KLIA in this crisis but thing for sure, it by far most, this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian. Then again, there’s nothing new from this Chinese who tries too hard to be a Malay.

One would just hope that the foreign media does not pick up this little bit of insult and turn it around for another round of laughter at the expense of the missing crew, passengers and the country as whole. It is dangerous too as he now implies that the plane had crashed only because the airline had served liquors and female flight attendants not wearing to the “right” uniform. Has he forgotten that the iconic current uniform itself is a modern manifestation of the baju kebaya, itself is part of the Malay traditional dress? On the case of liquor, no one is forcing anyone in the plane to take them – it is just part of the service. Just fly Emirates (the largest airline in the Middle East) and you will know.

Didn’t I say that this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian, did I? The joker is barking on the wrong side of the tree.

Let’s focus on what is more important in respect to the tragedy and have some courtesy and due respect to all those who had perish in this tragedy and hope we make amend on shortcomings without any delays so that the nation will not face another tragedy at this scale.

MH370: The Transport Minister

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The case of a missing plane is no laughing matter but then again, seeing this image on Facebook reminds me of the need for Malaysian politicians who intending to be Ministers and Deputy Ministers to have the right qualifications, knowledge and attitude when the shit does hit the fan.

They should never handle a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics. I am sure that Hishammuddin Hussein, when he took over the portfolio on a temporary basis (after MCA had declined to take up any Government post), would not have expected for a plane to go missing under his watch. No one did. Todate, he has been doing his duty rather well and as expected of a Transport Minister except for that time when he screwed up things by not inviting the Pakatan MPs for a briefing on MH370 and then coming up with the usual dumb excuse.

Hope this will be a good lesson to all..

Image source: http://fakemalaysianews.com/

MH370: The Conspiracies

Let’s run through the latest updates on MH370 for the past 1 week. It does not look great but then again, perhaps no news at all could be good news . There’s still hope.

Searchformissingflightgetshelpfromorbit_5324f761442bd_w1500

(Summing up the status on MH370 as at today – click on the image to enlarge it. Infographic source: http://visual.ly/still-flying-after-seven-hours)

When we first heard about the missing plane, we were anxious, very worried and feared for the worse. We were practically glued to the TV for days waiting for any positive news. One week down the line, we were still hopeful despite the search & rescue team not finding any clues or wreck of the plane. But the reality is that the longer the plane could not be found, any chances of finding survivors was getting slimmer too. We have been hearing contradictory statements and very few positive updates. The earlier rumored turn about have now been confirmed and the search for the plane have moved from the South China Sea to now the west side of Malaysia and the vast Indian Ocean.

And now, it is entering into the 2nd week, things seems to be going from bad to worse:-

Authorities have said that someone on board deliberately disabled the plane’s Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, at 1:07 a.m. March 8, with the transponder — which identifies it to commercial radar systems — getting shut down about 14 minutes later.

(Source)

The Government now had confirmed that the plane had indeed turned (earlier it was suspected but was not confirmed) around and may have headed towards one of the 2 possible air corridors. Added to this is the notion that someone had deliberately switched off the transponder. Another security hole at KLIA? The Government is keeping their silence on the notion of the plane may be been hijacked but have not ruled out any possibilities. If it was deliberately turnoff and the plane had not crashed, all signs seems to point to a hijack.

The search & rescue now focuses on the 2 possible air corridors whilst a parallel investigation is on-going on the crew and passengers (they should also investigate the Immigration officers who failed to detect 2 Iranian imposters). And assuming that the plane did not fly off to another country using one of the two air corridors, the Indian Ocean is one huge place to search (it’s possible that we would never find the wreck if it had crashed into the sea). Almost immediately India and Pakistan had come on air, denying that the plane pass through its airspace:-

Indian military authorities have dismissed the possibility that the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, which mysteriously disappeared eight days ago en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, could have flown over India on its way to Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan in Central Asia, the Times of India reported.

“If the jetliner had tried to cross the Indian mainland, our primary radars (which bounce radio signals off targets) would have picked it up despite its transponders being switched off (secondary radars beam signals that request information from a plane’s transponders),” said a top Indian Air Force (IAF) officer. “The five Airports Authority of India radars at Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Mumbai are integrated with IAF’s air defence network. The possibility is far-fetched,” said an officer.

(Source)

One cannot underestimate the overwhelming web of radars and detection system that India and Pakistan had deployed in, what one had said, one of the potential flashpoint in the world. But if it has indeed had flew undetected, no one is coming forward admitting the shortcoming of their radars. Many too dismissed that it is not possible for the plane to use the northern corridor for a simple fact – there were too many radar installation & tracking system in many countries that could detect the missing plane. It is not easy for a Boeing 777 to simply slip by undetected by so many countries. So was the case until I read this:-

The major roadblock to this theory has been the insistence from India and Pakistan that their radar network showed no such unidentified aircraft entering or traversing their airspace. It would seem highly unlikely given such information that a Boeing 777 could indeed slip through undetected.

It is my belief that MH370 likely flew in the shadow of SIA68 through India and Afghanistan airspace. As MH370 was flying “dark” without transponder / ADS-B output, SIA68 would have had no knowledge that MH370 was anywhere around and as it entered Indian airspace, it would have shown up as one single blip on the radar with only the transponder information of SIA68 lighting up ATC and military radar screens.

(Source)

Well, that is one theory that may explained that MH370 may have slip into the northern corridor undetected by the Indians and Pakistanis. That it tail-gated another Boeing 777 and presented itself invisible to the web of radars. Another theory on how it could have gone missing is this – by an AWACS jamming the detection:-

What could make a plane disappear from civilian radar while at 36,000 feet yet still be visible on military radar? ONE THING, and it looks like a UFO (as some have speculated) only it’s attached to a Boeing jet – the antenna on a U.S. Air Force AWACS plane. The fact that this missing jet vanished from civilian radar yet remained visible on more robust military radars proves well enough for me that this indeed was an AWACS hijacking, just like we saw on 9/11 where AWACS planes were seen on video observing if not controlling the crashes into the twin towers.

Once the plane flew far enough West, AWACS was obviously enough to jam both civilian and military radars, probably because they entered a zone where the angle of both incoming signals allowed for their simultaneous cancellation. That is where the plane finally “vanished” forever, an hour after the “official” vanishing act.

(Source)

And now, the issue of fire on board have resurfaced:-

For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent.

It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations. There is no point speculating further until more evidence surfaces, but in the meantime it serves no purpose to malign pilots who well may have been in a struggle to save this aircraft from a fire or other serious mechanical issue.

Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. There is no doubt in my mind. That’s the reason for the turn and direct route. A hijacking would not have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi. It probably would have weaved around a bit until the hijackers decided where they were taking it.

(Source)

These are just some of the speculations circulating on the internet (including this) on what might have happened to the plane (read here for more theories). We still have a missing plane to search for and so far, there has not been any concrete leads.

missing-plane-online

(The possible 2 routes of the missing plane but one have admit that it is one big area to search. We only have less than 2 weeks before the black box batteries runs out. Image source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

There is a growing talk on the internet that there has been indeed an hijack and the Malaysian Government knows what had really happened to MH370 but they are buying time to negotiate for the safe return of the passengers from some secret location. This is a bit far fetched, if you ask me. Even if it was kept in secret by the Malaysian Government, things would have leaked and the foreign press would have reported by now. So, I don’t think there is any negotiations going on in the back ground.

Someone also raised the connection between the pilot and his support for Anwar and that he may have committed suicide when he learned that the court had found Anwar guilty. This was absolutely a nonsense and at the most, a very sickening hit below the belt attempt at Anwar (a very typical line of thought by some politicians – if you don’t support us, then you must be the enemy).

Whilst the search continues, the incident of MH370 reveal the glaring shortcomings with the Malaysian Government dealing with a missing plane. I have covered the point on crisis management last week and the foreign press already had a field day on this (from day one). It also questioned on the capability of RMAF in detecting plane that had deviated from its flight path and the failure to scramble the jets to intercept the plane. If that had been done, we would have known whether MH370 indeed turned about to the west much earlier:-

This aspect of the flight raises other questions. Even without its transponder the plane was clearly seen, though not identified, by Malaysian military radar. Yet nothing was done about it. No aircraft was scrambled to see what this mystery object was. In its long hours of flight to the west of Malaysia, was it seen by other military radar, such as India’s, or if it flew north-west, by Thailand or even China. It is difficult to believe any of these countries, seeing an unidentified aircraft approaching or entering their airspace, would not have done something to find out what it was.

(Source)

Whilst this may be disputed by those are familiar with the workings of the military SOP and use of military radar, one must remember that anything that touches on military radar and strategy, also touches on national security and I don’t think any military commanders out there would approve a free for all information to be circulated openly in the media. Who knows what really took place. Perhaps it was known that the unidentified plane was indeed MH370 but they needed time and clearance to inform others. Perhaps RMAF did sent interceptors to check on the plane but they could not identify the plane as MH370. We will never know. One would just hope that the Government will think hard again on the weaknesses of the present air surveillance over Malaysia and take immediate actions to address the shortcomings.

There is only have less than 2 weeks before the black box battery runs out. Time indeed running out for the crew and the passengers. Meantime, the comedy in Malaysia continues. At time when the whole of Malaysia is united in praying for the return of the crew and the passengers and being hopeful on the missing MH370, some politicians on the other hand have proven time again that they are still stuck to their 3rd world way of thinking – that Government knows the best, can be highly secretive and can dismiss any questions & oppositions at their whims & fancy:-

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh today claimed that Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has bypassed Pakatan Rakyat MPs in his invitation for parliamentarians to attend briefing on the missing MH370 tomorrow. “What he is doing clearly goes against the Parliament convention. It is parliamentary briefing, yet were are not invited. “This is very unbecoming of a minister who is also an Umno vice president,” she said when debating the motion of thanks on royal address in Parliament today,

(Source)

The Acting Transport Minister’s response to this was rather dumb that he did not invite the Opposition MPs because they never ask for it. It is no wonder that Business Week in the beginning of the crisis mentioned that the Malaysian Government is “handling a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics”. Some things will never change, don’t they?

MH370: The Side Show

It is going to be a week since MH370 went missing and yet, we have not lost hope…

Whilst the whole world is anxiously waiting for any positive news for the missing MH370 and the relatives, friends and the Government of the missing passengers have strongly expressed their dissatisfaction with the sometimes contradictory and lack of information coming out from Malaysia, they are unfortunately had to deal with this:-

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ibRh5v9v0Hc]

One cannot dismiss the power of bomohs / shamans / astrologers in any society (even in India) – I know some of them are quite good in what they do. With MH370 still missing, there’s no harm trying but there is a proper place and time for everything. The last thing we need is to have someone doing weird charms & ceremonies in the public and in front of a group of “hungry for news” reporters. It does not take too long before it goes viral on the internet and Malaysia ends up becoming a laughing stock of the world.

Don’t these people realise that it seriously undermines the authorities’ credibility in the crisis and Malaysia’s good name. It already took some considerable beatings todate. It also mocks the serious effort by the authorities and the search & rescue teams combing the vast ocean for any evidence of the missing plane (why waste time and effort when you can do the same with 2 coconuts). It has led to a number of spoofs too.

Obama

P.s. There was a photo of Obama watching the circus on TV circulated in social media but this was confirmed to be a fake. But does it really matters if it is a fake or not when the world had watch and read about it and had a good laugh?

MH370: Lesson in Crisis Management

Frankly speaking, the last thing we need now is a missing plane…

flight-mh370

(I had to pinch myself when I first heard about the missing plane. I flew MAS on a regular basis and I prefer flying on a Boeing 777 than Airbus. Having a missing plane was something that all Malaysian did not expect to hear on a Saturday morning. The disappearance remains a mystery and a multi country search to date have revealed nothing to date. Image source: http://engtechmag.wordpress.com)

There was another trip scheduled up North last weekend for some religious function. However we did not go alone this time around. We hooked up with my brother in law and his family at our usual stop at the R&R. It was still early in the morning on Saturday and we had a good breakfast to kick-start the day. We then drove in a convoy with my usual “Speedy Gonzales” brother in law in tow and keeping within my speed limits (after all, driving within the speed limit on the highway is more relaxing, safe and fuel efficient than being a speed demon on the highway).

We reached our destination rather early in the morning and my brother in law then overtook me at the toll plaza but then when we reached the house, he was no where to be seen. I called him on his phone but the line was engaged. After a while, I saw him driving up to the car porch, visibly shaken and very upset. He then told me about the MH370 that had gone missing and he knew the crew rather well (you see, he works with MAS). We then spent the whole day glued to the TV seeking the latest news for the missing MH370 (with me gladly forgoing sleeping in the hotel for any positive news on the missing MH370) and him busy with sms-es, whatapps and calls with his colleagues and friends, all for the latest news on the missing plane.

And that is the time, we got a rude wake up call on Malaysian style of crisis management. Whilst foreign news channels already putting up the missing plane as breaking news and providing more insights (CCCTV even had assembled some experts panelist in the newsroom), the local channels – TV1, TV2 and TV3 are still in the lala land and showing programs that has nothing to do with missing plane (one even had cartoon on the air). Thankfully this boo-boo did not last long (perhaps thanks to the criticisms in social medias on how the local news were sleeping on the biggest news of the year) and now we have Astro Awani providing all round news coverage on MH370.

Then as more reports – both official, unofficial and of course, an avalanche of speculations poured in widening the mystery over the missing plane, the level of crisis management by the Malaysians authorities becomes more apparent. It did not go unnoticed in the foreign media. One even mentioned:-

“They’re handling a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics,”

(Source)

But you cannot blame Malaysia for this. Well, think about it – with relatively very few natural disasters (except for the annual flash floods where crisis management is nothing to shout about – just see what happened during the flooding in Kuantan) and man made disasters (like the Highway Tower tragedy), Malaysia actually have a very few reasons to beef up its crisis management structure and readiness.

Even with this incident of a missing plane – it is still feels like one is in a bad dream. My brother in law said the same thing when he first heard the news. There was no reason to believe that a MAS plane could go missing. There were no initial terrorist threats, the aircraft maintenance level is high and the flight crew is very competent. So the initial fumble up by the Malaysian authorities in dealing with this crisis is highly understandable and slowly but surely, once reality had kicked in, you can see a proper coordination and updates coming through on the incident. In my opinion, the current Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman is doing a fine job handling the crisis despite unwillingly being thrown into the unknown. But that does not mean, there is no room for improvement and the missing MH370 shows we still have a long way to go.

Datuk Azharuddin

(The DCA chief, Datuk Azharuddin at the center of the crisis and he is backed up by the key people from MAS, the Air Force and the APMM. Image source: The Malaysian Insider)

Don’t get me wrong. The basic crisis management structure is there but by the time they get into the action of a proper crisis management, many days would have lapsed. This often would be compounded by having too many people wanting to take the lead and make decisions and statements which sometimes contradict each other and causes things to be more confusing. The lack of coordination between the various departments and the lack of information sharing is simply sad. Same happened during the Lahad Datu crisis and the same is happening in the current handling of the MH370 disappearance:-

The Malaysian authorities have come under fire following conflicting accounts on the last known position of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 before it went missing. The New York Times said the authorities had repeatedly said they were doing their best but Putrajaya and the airline had issued imprecise, incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information, with civilian officials contradicting military leaders.

The New York Times report said Rodzali’s statement stunned aviation experts as well as officials in China, who had been told again and again that the authorities had lost contact with the plane more than an hour earlier, when it was on course over the Gulf of Thailand, east of the peninsula. The latest information also caused an uproar on Chinese social media sites. “Malaysia, how could you hide something this big until now?” said one posting on Sina.com Weibo, a service similar to Twitter.

David Learmount, operations and safety editor at Flightglobal, a news and data service for the aviation sector, said the Malaysian government seemed evasive and confused, and he questioned why, if the remarks attributed to Rodzali were true, the government took so long to reveal evidence about a westwards flight path.

(Source)

Take the instance of the flight path of MH370. The Air Force is now coming forward (later denying it but not completely) and saying that the plane may have crossed over the Peninsula to the Straits of Malacca. Before that, it was the case of the 2 impostors (at one point, it was 4 people) and another is the actual people who did not check in. This has not been really settled with both MAS and the police seems to be making conflicting statements.

On the change of flight path, if it is true, is not only unfair to the various countries especially Vietnam who have pitched in their valuable time and resources looking out for any evidence of the plane. It is also unfair to the family and friends of the missing passengers who have kept in the dark on what had happened to their loved ones. It is also shows the state of chaos and confusion that the authorities are in even within themselves. And that is very embarrassing. On the other hand, the shortcomings and loopholes in the national security is just too glaring.

The Air Force said that they did not intercept the plane because it was not classified as hostile (I read somewhere that it is because the plane was flying away from Malaysia but once again, this information is not made known for all). Damn, didn’t these people learned anything from the 9-11 when commercial planes were used in the act of terrorism. Didn’t a commercial plane deviating from its original flight plane without a proper authorisation raised a red flag to those manning the radar station?

What about the 2 Iranians who managed to slip out using stolen passports? It was reported that these Iranians came in to Malaysia using Iranian passport but then exited using stolen foreign passports. Don’t the immigration department kept the entry records to compare? No wonder KLIA have been a haven for drug dealers and carriers and criminals from Iran, Nigeria, Latin America and other red-flagged countries. Someone had kept both their eyes closed for a long time now and let these parasites to slip in and out on a regular basis. Will the incident MH370 disappearance be the catalyst for a real change on how we can tighten the vetting of foreigners coming to country?

Anyway no point to talk about the past at the moment. We still have a plane missing and that should be the main focus for now.

I recall Datuk Azharuddin in one of the press conference as saying that they wish not indulge in speculations but rather deploy a more scientific method to identify and search for the missing plane. I liked the way he stressed the point and kept his confidence up. Of course having contradictory statements coming from his team does not help in stressing the scientific method to find the plane. This lack of information sharing and contradictory statements to the media should stop immediately. All statements should be made by only one person and that person is not the IGP, the military key officers, the Transport Minister and the various politicians who try to make their 2 cents (and their share of the limelight) worth at the time of the crisis. And that person should be Datuk Azharuddin.

And speaking of deploying scientific methods to find the missing plane, the last thing we need now is these clowns (surprisingly endorsed by the administration) to make fun of the whole incident. There is a big difference between praying in silence and making a sick circus show in an international airport and in front of the foreign media. These clowns should be arrested on the spot and thrown into a mental asylum for a long, long time. They have turned a serious search and rescue investigation into a laughing stock of the world. It was basically a show of the middle finger to the missing passengers, relatives & friends in grieve and the heroic search and rescue team from the various nations.

Let’s just hope that the plane could be found soon and we can start to investigate on what had really happened.