Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Can Math Decide That Someone Is Dead?

The best evidence that flight MH370 crashed in the southern ocean.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Emergency Response Division General Manager John Young speaks to the media about satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 20, 2014 in Canberra, Australia.
A U.K.-based satellite company, Inmarsat, has deployed a new kind of mathematical analysis to determine the plane’s trajectory.
Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images
For the relatives of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the announcement by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday must have registered as a double shock. First there was the fact that their loved ones were dead: “The past few weeks have been heartbreaking; I know this news must be harder still,” Najib said at a press conference after families were notified. More surprisingly, the announcement was made even though no bodies or wreckage had been recovered. Instead, the passengers’ fate had been determined by math alone. A U.K.-based satellite company, Inmarsat, had deployed a new kind of mathematical analysis to determine that the plane’s trajectory had carried it deep into the southern Indian Ocean, a region where there are were no landmasses upon which a plane can set down. Ergo, the passengers were all dead.
In Beijing, family members reacted with outrage, staging an impromptu march on the Malaysian embassy. One can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be told to abandon hope, to grieve in the absence of any material evidence of loss. They must have wondered if they could really believe what they were being told. Unreliable information has been reported throughout the search process, with assertions made about the flight only to be later refuted, modified, or quietly dropped. Amid all the uncertainty, how much credence should be given to this new mathematical formula, which seemed so complicated that hardly anyone could understand and whose underlying data remains veiled in secrecy?
That’s what I wondered when I heard the news, but after reviewing Inmarsat’s publicly released information with an expert, I’ve come to the conclusion that its findings are most likely sound. With caveats.
Since Inmarsat’s data is the only source of information we have about the fate of MH370, it’s worth reviewing how the system works. Inmarsat is a communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean. Every hour or so, it sends out a short electronic message to subscribers that says, “Hey, are you out there?” The message contains no information as such; the satellite just wants to find out if that particular subscriber is out there in case it wants to talk. Kind of like picking up your telephone just to see if there’s a dial tone. On the morning of Saturday, March 8, MH370 replied seven times to these pings, saying, in effect, “Yes, I’m here.” The line was open for the plane to communicate with the outside world. But the system that generates the messages themselves, called ACARS, had been shut off. So nothing else was communicated between the satellite and the plane.
All the same, those pings tell us something important about MH370: They narrow down its location. Because light travels at a certain speed and electronics take a certain amount of time to generate a signal, there’s always a length of time between the satellite’s “Hey!” and the airplane’s “Yo!” The farther away the plane is, the longer it takes to respond because it has to wait for the signal from the satellite to travel that extra distance.
Imagine you and I are in a darkened room. You have no idea where I am, except you know that I’m holding one end of a taut 20-foot rope, and you’re holding the other. Therefore I must be 20 feet away. You don’t know where I am, exactly, but you know that I must lie somewhere along a circle that’s 20 feet in radius, with you at the center.
MH370 was in an analogous situation. When Inmarsat pinged it at 8:11 a.m. and received MH370’s reply, the amount of time it took the plane to respond allowed investigators to calculate its distance from the satellite. This did not correspond to a specific location but to an arc of possible locations across Central Asia in the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. This information was announced to the public on Saturday, March 15, by the prime minister of Malaysia.
This result was a huge breakthrough for the investigation, and it raised a question: Could analysis of the six earlier pings narrow down the route that the plane had taken? The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board obtained the data from Malaysia and set to work.
The process is fairly straightforward. The first ping coincided more or less with the time when MH370 slipped out of range of Malaysia’s military radar. So we have a starting point. By knowing the interval to the next ping, and by estimating the plane’s speed, we can arrive at a distance traveled during that time. Given the radius of the next arc, it’s a simple matter to calculate a route by angling the distance traveled to meet up with that arc.
When the NTSB ran the numbers, the resulting plot showed the plane winding up in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, and that’s where searchers began focusing their efforts. Soon after, satellite photos showed large pieces of debris floating in the water, and the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott jumped to the obvious conclusion: He announced on Thursday, March 20, that that investigators had found their first hot lead. “This is the first tangible breakthrough,” he said. “This is a very serious lead in the way that nothing else so far really has been.”
There was at least one problem undermining the certainty of Abbott’s assertion. Though the NTSB’s process worked for generating a likely path to the south, it could also be used just as effectively to create a path to the north. The satellite data itself is ambiguous—it provides no clues about which direction the plane is moving. So when the NTSB was plotting out a route to the south, it was also effectively plotting a mirror route, symmetrical to the first, that stretched northward along the Himalayas and on to Kazakhstan.
U.S. and Malaysian officials were said to favor the southern route, but some people (including me) argued that the northern route was more plausible. It allowed for a denouement in which whoever was in control of the plane came out alive. But there was really no way to tell until an aircraft or identifiable wreckage came to light. The satellite data was inherently ambiguous.
Or at least, that’s what many of us thought. But somehow the clever engineers at Inmarsat managed to squeeze one more drop from the thimbleful of data contained in those pings. They’ve been a little cagey about how exactly they did it, so I turned to communications-satellite pioneer Mike Exner, president and CEO of Radiometrics Corp., to explain how he thought they extracted more information.
“This is an old satellite,” Exner said. “When satellites start to run out of hydrazine, you can’t keep them exactly geostationary.” Instead of keeping perfectly still above a certain spot, the satellite begins to slowly wobble. Over the course of the day, it makes a narrow figure eight around a central spot located on the Earth’s equator.
“It’s a small effect,” Exner says, “And normally you’d overlook it.” But in the hunt to overcome the symmetry of the ping data, Inmarsat likely realized that it could use the wobble of the satellite to its advantage. The satellite itself, depending on where it is in its orbit, will have a different relative motion compared to a northbound and a southbound plane. That relative motion can be detected as a Doppler effect, the frequency change you hear when a train whistle that’s coming towards you dips in pitch as it whooshes past. The effect was subtle and difficult to tease out of the data, but when Inmarsat ran simulations, it found that the amount of Doppler effect observed in the MH370 data matched the predictions for the southern route and not the northern one. Comparisons with other flights whose location and speed were known supported that conclusion. That’s the finding that the Malaysian prime minister reported.
So do we know now where MH370 went? Not exactly. The path that the plane is presumed to have taken still depends on the speed that the plane is presumed to have been flying. Inmarsat generated routes based on two different airspeeds—400 knots and 450 knots—and came up with end points that are hundreds of miles apart.
For his part, Exner believes the range of route possibilities is even larger than Inmarsat’s projections suggest. He points out that MH370 was detected diving to 12,000 feet before disappearing from Malaysian military radar. A Boeing 777 going 310 knots at 12,000 feet burns a bit less fuel than one going 440 knots at 30,000 feet, so there’s no question it could have stayed aloft that long. The resulting flight profile is still consistent with Inmarsat’s ping distance and Doppler data, but results in a track that is much shorter and curves to the east near the south coast of Sumatra and Java.
Even though Inmarsat’s presumed approach makes sense and its calculations seem credible, that is not to say that its results are necessarily accurate. Before scientists publish a finding, it must undergo peer review by independent authorities in the field. Inmarsat has declared itself absolutely confident in its results and says that its results were “peer-reviewed” by the British government, but showing one’s work to self-chosen sympathetic colleagues is not peer review. Until Inmarsat’s findings are looked over by a truly independent panel of experts, it will be hard to have unequivocal confidence in the report.
And if searchers don’t start finding wreckage in the current search area soon, it might be time to revise some basic assumptions—and start to look in a different place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

馬航 MH 370 -- 马来西亚政府,你伤害了整个世界!

2014.03.25 第125期 总第125期 作者:刘雪松


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Malaysia has the income but not the government to reach developed maturity, says editor

MARCH 20, 2014
The lack of firm leadership in the country is apparent by the handling of the MAS flight MH370 incident, according to a senior editor of The People's Daily. - The Malaysian Insider pic, March 20, 2014.The lack of firm leadership in the country is apparent by the handling of the MAS flight MH370 incident, according to a senior editor of The People's Daily. - The Malaysian Insider pic, March 20, 2014.Malaysia has set a target of entering the ranks of developed countries by 2020.
But judging by its handling of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 incident, many observers believe that target will not be met.
If it were just a matter of raising the per capita income, then based on its per capita income of RM36,000 in 2013, Malaysia is emplaced in the middle-income group (usually defined as bookended by a per capita GDP of US$1,000 (RM3,300) - US$12,000 (RM39,500), and has the potential of reaching developed maturity.
A necessary attendant to determining the qualitative position of a country is its governance, particularly for middle-income nations that have to deal with problems particular to that postion –  including rising labour costs, a lack of technological innovation, and subsequent economic stagnation.
Good governance in this regards means encouraging competition to maximize the value of talent and encourage innovation.
By such a measure, Malaysia's poor response following the disappearance of flight MH370 reflects the fact that the country is still way behind in terms of governance, according to Ding Gang, a senior editor with The People's Daily.
The intial chaotic dissemination of information, he said, reflects the flaws in Malaysia's system of governance.
And these flaws are a consequence of a lack of secularisation, an abundance of natural wealth that has disguised failings in leadership, and a racial approach to many aspects of Malaysian life, according to Ding Gang.
Malaysia's abundant raw products such as oil, rubber and oil palm provide a substanial proportion of the government's budget and expenditure, but it's a double-edged blessing because the wealth has disguised and fostered an inefficient governing class.
The writer goes on to note the racial bias or quotas in many aspects and sectors of Malaysian life – the lack of non-Muslim leaders and civil servants, the racial considerations in admission to universities and colleges, right down to the issuance of taxi licences.
The expressed motive of such race-tinted policies of promoting social stabity among the races effectively means the closing of opportunities for upward mobility and competition.
This in turn has led to corruption and the creation of a coddled conservative group with vested interests who do not want the boat rocked.
In 2001, then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia was a Muslim country. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also declared in 2007 that Malaysia has never been a secular country.
The problem with mixing religion with politics, syaria law and civil law, is that it not only creates bifocal division, but also encourages the tendency to lean towards social conservatism, an illusory facade of harmony and unity.
What's dysfunctional is not elite politics itself, but a rigid system that is responsible for selecting the political elite and that does not encourage upstart talent. – March 20, 2014.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Statement regarding Anwar Ibrahim by Al Gore

 March 10, 2014 : 2:57 AM

It is extremely disturbing that the government of Malaysia -- by continuing to press this case beyond the bounds of reason, let alone the bounds of justice -- has used the courts to short-circuit the political process.
The entire world understands with clarity that Anwar Ibrahim was at the verge of running for an office that would have given him serious leverage for advocating greatly needed reform, had he won the election, that his election by the people was likely, and that it was the likely judgment of the electorate that inspired this action by those presently holding power over the administration of "justice."
The court, by accelerating its calendar, reached its verdict in a rush -- early enough to prevent Anwar from running in the election. The calendar of events is itself a contextual indictment of the decision.
By behaving in the manner it did, the court has, of course, invited speculation by reasonable friends of Malaysia in the rest of the world that its independence of judgment and judicial temperament have been influenced by political fear of, and intimidation by, the individuals now in control of executive power in Kuala Lumpur.
The importance of the rule of law should be deemed important for the reputation of Malaysia as a nation within the community of nations.
Moreover, the integrity of Malaysia's parliament -- a crucial asset for the future of Malaysia's respect in the world community -- would be diminished if this decision were to be accepted as "legitimate" by the elected representatives of the people of Malaysia.
In short, future prospects for accomplishing meaningful and necessary change on behalf of the people of Malaysia would be seriously depreciated if the capricious and slanderous imprisonment of an individual who has a universally respected understanding and affinity for the democratic process throughout the world is tolerated.
His pending appeal offers what could be a last chance for Malaysia to make things right. The stakes for Malaysia could hardly be higher. Please do not be deceived. The eyes of the world are focused on what will come next.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amid Search for Plane, Malaysian Leaders Face Rare Scrutiny

 SEPANG, Malaysia — Malaysia’s governing elite has clung to power without interruption since independence from Britain almost six decades ago through a combination of tight control of information, intimidation of the opposition and, until recently, robust economic growth.

But worldwide bafflement at the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has challenged the country’s paternalistic political culture and exposed its coddled leaders to the withering judgments of critics from around the world.

Civilian and military leaders on Wednesday revealed that they had known for the past four days, but did not publicly disclose, that military radar had picked up signals of what may have been the missing aircraft. It appeared to be flying on a westerly course sharply off its intended flight path to Beijing.

If the radar readings were from the missing plane, it could mean a radical reinterpretation of where it ended up. And it was only under a barrage of intense questioning on Wednesday from a room packed with reporters who had arrived from many countries that officials acknowledged that the last recorded radar plot point showed the jet flying in the direction of the Indian Ocean — and at a cruising altitude, suggesting it could have flown much farther.
Continue reading the main story

Detecting a Plane

Two kinds of radar are used to keep track of air traffic from the ground.
Primary radar
Sends out radio signals and listens for echoes that bounce back from objects in the sky.
Secondary radar
Sends signals that request information from the plane’s transponder. The plane sends back information including its identification and altitude. The radar repeatedly sweeps the sky and interrogates the transponder. Other planes in flight can also receive the transponder signals.
That raised the question of why the information had not been released earlier.
“The world is finally feeling the frustration that we’ve been experiencing for years,” said Lee Ee May, a management consultant and a former aide to a Malaysian opposition politician.
Ms. Lee said she was embarrassed when the country’s defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, the scion of a powerful political family, rejected a reporter’s assertion on Wednesday that the search for the airplane had been disordered.
“It’s only confusion if you want it to be seen to be confusion,” Mr. Hishammuddin said at a news conference that unfolded before an international audience.
Relatively free from natural disasters and other calamities, Malaysia has had little experience with handling a crisis on this scale. It is also an ethnically polarized society where talent often does not rise to the top of government because of patronage politics within the ruling party and a system of ethnic preferences that discourages or blocks the country’s minorities, mainly ethnic Chinese and Indians, from government service.
Ethnic Malays, who make up about half of the population, hold nearly all top government positions and receive a host of government preferences because of their status as “sons of the soil.”
Authoritarian laws have helped keep the governing party, the United Malays National Organization, in power — and an ascendant opposition in check.
The day before Flight 370 disappeared, the leader of the opposition, 
Anwar Ibrahim, was sentenced to five years under a sodomy law that is almost never enforced. Critics called the case an effort to block the opposition’s rise at a time when the governing party’s popularity is waning.
Then on Tuesday, a court convicted Karpal Singh, another opposition politician, of sedition, a law enacted in colonial times.
“We call it persecution, not prosecution,” said Ambiga Sreenevasan, a lawyer and the former head of the Malaysian Bar Council.
The government is accustomed to getting its way, and the crisis surrounding the missing plane is holding officials accountable in ways unfamiliar to them, Ms. Ambiga said.
“Malaysians have come to accept that their leaders don’t answer questions,” she said. “When you are not seriously challenged in any meaningful way, of course you get complacent and comfortable.”
For a relatively prosperous country of 30 million people that is less well known internationally than neighboring countries like Thailand and Singapore, the government’s confused efforts at finding the missing jetliner are an awkward and undesired appearance on the world stage.
The crisis has led to introspection about why the government has 
appeared uncoordinated and unable to pin down seemingly basic facts about the missing flight.
Officials insisted for three days that baggage was removed from the flight before takeoff when five passengers did not board. But the country’s chief of police on Tuesday said that was false: Everyone who checked in 
boarded the plane, he said. No explanation was given for the conflicting accounts.
Ibrahim Suffian, the director of the Merdeka Center, an independent polling company, said the response to the crisis had underlined a lack of precision both in government and in the society over all.
“There’s a tolerance for a lack of attentiveness to detail,” he said. “You 
have a tendency of not asking so much and not expecting so much.”
The crisis also highlighted a lack of competence in government that Mr. Ibrahim said was related to a deference to authority and reluctance to take initiative. “There’s always been a kind of wait-for-instructions-from-the-top attitude,” he said.
Yet amid the criticism of the rescue efforts there was also an acknowledgment that the plane’s disappearance was so unusual that perhaps no government would be fully prepared for it.
“This is almost a unique situation,” said Ramon Navaratnam, a Harvard-trained economist and a former Malaysian senior civil servant. “Anyone would be caught off guard.”
For now, the Malaysian authorities are stuck in the unenviable position of hearing many questions but having few answers.
“They have never faced pressure to perform like this,” said Ms. Lee, the management consultant. “But now international eyes are on them, and they have nowhere to hide.”

MH370 -- Malaysian officials are either poor communicators or just incompetent

MARCH 13, 2014
The credibility of Malaysia's leaders took a further battering today when CNN reported that a top American transport official had described local officials as being either “poor communicators or at worst, plain incompetent.”
Former National Transportation Safety Board managing director Peter Goelz said this was the worst he had ever seen in disaster management.
"There has been misinformation and corrections from Malaysian authorities on the whereabouts of MH370," Goelz told CNN.
"Is the wreckage of MH370 near the last location where their radar was detected?" Goelz asked.
"At best, Malaysian officials have thus far been poor communicators;at worst, they are incompetent," he said
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, dropped off the radar at 1.20am on Saturday.
Despite a massive 12-nation search and rescue operation, there have been no clues as to the whereabouts of MH370.
"There is a reason for this. As you know, every time there is an accident, especially an international one like this, there is chaos during the first 24 to 36 hours," Goelz said.
"That is why there is a treaty which everyone has signed, including the Malaysians."
"The treaty explains the necessary steps and measures which are carried out to handle an investigation of this magnitude," Goelz told CNN.
"It also explains how to involve other countries which have a vested interest, how to control rumours and release factual information."
Goelz said to this day, Malaysia has not followed the treaty, hence the contradicting information being released by various quarters.
Goelz is the latest to take Putrajaya to task over the way the crisis is being managed.
Acclaimed American journalist who specialises in South East Asia affairs, Thomas Fuller, writing in The New York Times today, said the lack of coordination between Malaysian agencies and the conflicting updates on the worldwide search for the jet only shows how the country's leaders were just reacting to growing criticism of the way the situation is handled, rather than having a firm grasp of things.
"But worldwide bafflement at the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has challenged the country’s paternalistic political culture and exposed its coddled leaders to the withering judgments of critics from around the world," he said.
That authoritarian trait, according to critics, is now reflected in Malaysia's management of the mysterious disappearance of MH370, which went missing last Saturday shortly after taking off Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing. – March 13, 2014.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Karpal Singh fined RM4,000 for sedition

 | March 11, 2014
Karpal Singh's remark was made at the height of the Perak political crisis in 2009.
karpalKUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur High Court today sentenced lawyer and DAP chairman Karpal Singh to a fine of RM4,000 for sedition.
On Feb 21, the same court had found him guilty of sedition for questioning the Sultan of Perak’s action in removing Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the menteri besar of Perak in 2009.
Trial judge Azman Abdullah delivered the sentence today after hearing mitigation from Karpal Singh’s lawyers Ram Karpal Singh, Sanjeet Kaur and Gobind Singh Deo, and from the prosecution.
Justice Azman however did not allow the Bar Council and Lawasia to make submissions for Karpal Singh.
The RM4,000 fine means Karpal Singh can be disqualified as the Bukit Gelugor MP if he fails in his appeal to either overturn the conviction, or to reduce the fine to be below RM2,000.
Wheelchair-bound Karpal Singh, 74, was found guilty of having said at his legal firm in Jalan Pudu Lama on Feb 6, 2009, that the removal of Mohammad Nizar and the appointment of Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new menteri besar by the sultan could be questioned in court.
The charge, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948, provides for a maximum jail term of three years and a fine of RM5,000, or both, upon conviction.
The High Court had, on June 11, 2010, acquitted and discharged Karpal Singh without calling for his defence but, following an appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal, on Jan 20, 2012, ordered him to make his defence.
The court today was filled with Pakatan Rakyat leaders and supporters.
Shouts of ‘zalim’
Earlier, in mitigation, Karpal Singh’s defence team argued that the politician merely offered a legal opinion and the charge leveled at him was done in bad faith.
Also present at the court today was Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Hundreds of Pakatan Rakyat supporters gathered at the court as early as 8am. However the situation remained calm throughout except for one instance when the crowd shouted “zalim” (cruel) when the prosecution sought jail sentence for Karpal Singh.
The court’s decision has since received heavy criticism from lawyers and pro human rights group.
Previously, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) depicted the decision as the return of authoritarianism and political persecution.
The group expressed shock over the conviction as they strongly believed that it was not a crime to make critical comments.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan also pointed out that what Karpal Singh had said in regards to Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision to remove Nizar Jamaluddin as the Perak Menteri Besar in 2009 was merely an opinion from a legal expert.
Meanwhile, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said in a press statement that Karpal Singh’s conviction sent a message that lawyers in Malaysia were not free to express their opinion on legal issues before condemning the conviction saying it was inconsistent with international law.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Barisan Nasional has miscalculated the price in jailing Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction: A travesty of justice – Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

I refer to “Judicial process and timing in Anwar’s case implies persecution not prosecution, says Bar Council”, The Malaysian Insider, March 9 concerning the latest conviction of the Malaysian opposition leader.
I overwhelmingly concur with the charge of the Malaysian Bar Council that “the charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted”.
It is undeniable that because of the grave fear and extreme paranoia of the powers that be to the natural and charismatic power and genuine popularity of Anwar to the Malaysian public, they have used all the resources and arsenal of the government even to the point of compromising the integrity and independence of the courts.
Why? For the simple reason that they do not want Anwar to win in Kajang and subsequently be the Selangor menteri besar.
I am wondering, is it all worth it? Yes, they successfully blocked Anwar from contesting in the coming by-election. In fact, he is in danger once again of going back to prison, yet do they know the repercussions and consequences of what they did?
It is my ardent view and so held that even if PKR will put a dog or a rooster or a cat as its candidate for Kajang, that animal will win not only handsomely but with a landslide.
The deputy director of Asia division of Human Rights, Phil Robertson, said that Anwar’s trial “was all about knocking him out of politics and the government was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen”.
In other words, they are delirious and desperate to stop Anwar at all cost!
The nefarious act of the powers that be, their continuing persecution of Anwar and his family that begun 15 years ago and all the evil methods that they’ve utilised just to silence the Opposition Leader, will return like a tsunami and will explode in their very faces one fine day!
They will be hurt tremendously by their foolishness! The people are angry and their collective wrath in time will erupt! Watch out!
I am equally in agreement with the contention of the Bar president, Christopher Leong specifically, when he said “that in the first place, the archaic provision under the Penal Code which criminalises sodomy and oral sex should never have been brought against Anwar”.
Leong unequivocally asserted that:
"The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds, and has muddied the waters of our justice system.
"We also have grave misgivings with respect to the manner and timing in which the appeal was handled, especially over the way in which mitigation and sentencing proceeded… "
On Friday, the Court of Appeals overturned the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s January 9, 2012 decision acquitting Anwar and declared him guilty of sodomy.
The decision of the court in my view is not only a travesty of justice but an extreme mockery of the whole administration of justice. This leads the wife of the Opposition Leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to lament that:
“The proceedings had been conducted in the Palace of Justice, but inside there was only injustice.”
Judgment of Acquittal that is reviewable
Another thing that confused me since then, up to now is the stupid and idiotic principle of the Malaysian “legal” concept of reviewing the judgment of acquittal!
In many jurisdictions, once a person is acquitted he or she is immediately discharged and he or she will no longer be prosecuted (again) on the same charge, because it will violate the legal doctrine of Double Jeopardy which is a universally sanctioned and recognised legal principle.
Right or wrong, a judgment of acquittal is unappealable, irreversible and final, but in Malaysia, even if you are already acquitted, a higher court can still reverse the judgment of your acquittal. I believe that this principle or policy or practice is not only unfavourable to the accused but also mocks the very definition of due process.
So, in Malaysia for example, if an individual is acquitted, he or she cannot celebrate his or her vindication, because he or she must wait whether or not the prosecutor (which in truth and in fact must be called as the persecutor) will decide to appeal his or her judgment of acquittal!
This is preposterously unjust, hilarious to the maximum and stupid to the core, to say the least! Undeniably, this is the heights of absurdity and grave injustice! Shame!
Consider the following facts as reported by the Malaysian Insider:
“Court of Appeal registry had informed Anwar's lawyers to reserve April 7 to 10 as the proposed hearing dates, to which the team agreed.
“However, these dates were abandoned and replaced with earlier dates.”
I am wondering why the court is acting like it is following a script or a schedule! Why the rush and the haste?
Leong further added that:
"If this is true, it raises the question as to why the Court of Appeal brought forward the appeal to be heard when the April dates had been agreed on.
"After all the defendant was facing a possible 20-year jail term and the April dates would have given the legal team more time to prepare… "
The worst part of this fiasco in my view is the fact that the court had only taken approximately 90 minutes to consider before giving a unanimous decision in reversing the acquittal by the High Court and then when Anwar’s lead counsel, Karpal Singh and the defence team sought an adjournment until next week to allow them to prepare for mitigation the court refused it flatly and one justice even ordered Karpal to submit the mitigation in one hour’s time.
Of course, this farce led Anwar to react angrily. He stood up and shouted, "Do it now!"
Indeed, as Leong quipped: "these matters raise many questions, cause much speculation, and lend to the perception that justice may have been hijacked… ”
Imagine the scenario the Opposition Leader’s acquittal two years ago was overturned, while his lead counsel, Karpal was also convicted of sedition a month ago.
Wow! I am wondering what kind of judicial system now is being practice in Malaysia and what kind of administration of justice are they following?
Anwar is convicted, Karpal is convicted; I am inclined to ask? It is Tian Chua’s turn to be convicted? Hullabaloo, it seems to be that the powers that be are convicting all the opposition leaders!
These convictions and outrageous trials clearly shows that the establishment is compose of power-hungry despots and they will not stop from wiping out the true people’s representatives!
Yes, these men are convicted; it is because they are men of conviction and principle.
This is a shame, a farce and grim day for all Malaysians!
Local and International condemnation of Anwar’s “conviction”
As already noted, the people of Malaysia are angry with the decision which they viewed as a miscarriage of justice.
Besides the Malaysian Bar, Lawyer’s for Liberty, Bersih and other non-government organisations have also come out to question and criticize the said decision.
The international community’s reaction is more stringent and categorical to the core, to say the least.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned Anwar’s conviction as a mockery of justice and they even directly “casts doubts on the independence and impartiality of the Malaysian judiciary and tarnishes the reputation of the country’s legal system”.
Even the United States voiced its concern through State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki when she stated that:
"The decision to prosecute Mr Anwar, and his trial, have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the court…
"In this high-profile case, it is critical for Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia's democracy and judiciary."
Warning to the powers that be and a call to the people
We all know and so as the whole knows that this is an extreme travesty of justice! If the establishment thought and that colluding stupid “court” thinks that by jailing the opposition leader they will silence him; they are dead wrong! Anwar is used to being in jail!
This latest judicial perversity and political prostitution of the powers that be will only empower further the rakyat not only to resist, but inevitably to revolt!
It is beyond the shadow of doubt that this is exactly the time for them, the people themselves to act and to rise.
They must show in a collective sense that the true power of the government lies on their hands. They must now launch and unleash the Malaysian people power in its full force!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!! – March 10, 2014.
* Jose Mario Dolor De Vega is a philosophy lecturer at the College of Arts and Letters, Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

MAS MH370 -- Story of Vanishing

Conspiracy theories abound as search for MH370 enters third day
BY CLARA CHOOI March 10, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — Over 50 hours have passed since MH370 was reported lost from radar and still, there is little to go on.

Intensive, round-the-clock efforts by an army of rescue workers from at least seven countries, manning as many as 72 vessels by air and by sea have failed to turn up a single indication that the Boeing B777-200 aircraft carrying a staggering 239 people had crashed.
There has been no confirmed signs of wreckage or debris, no distress signal from the aircraft before it lost contact with ground control, and no clear indication that the plane had experienced any technical failure in mid-air.
During take-off at 12.41am on Saturday, weather conditions appeared normal.
The aircraft, described as one of the “safest”, was said to be equipped with the ASD-B flight transponder, which transmits data on its altitude, speed and direction back to air traffic controllers every second.
It also has the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), which can be manually activated by the pilot or should transmit information on the aircraft’s location in the event of a crash.
As such, if the plane was experiencing problems in mid-flight, it should have been able to transmit a distress signal back to ground control. The fact that this did not happen has led to speculation on the behaviour of the aircraft at the time it went missing.
The Beijing-bound airship was piloted by 53-year-old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a man described by news reports as a “tech geek” so passionate about flying that he even practices on his own flight simulator at home. Zaharie has more than 18,600 flying hours under his belt in the three decades he has served MAS.
Was MH370 Captain Zaharie’s last flight?
If indeed the aircraft had disintegrated in mid-air due to mechanical failure, it would have happened so quickly that there was no time for the plane to inform ground control. Even so, there should be some semblance of debris in the water for rescuers to find.
If indeed the aircraft had crashed into the ocean, search and rescue efforts should have turned up some telltale discoveries by now.
If indeed the aircraft sank into the waters without leaving behind signs of wreckage, it would have taken some time before it disappeared completely from sight. Again, rescuers should have caught at least a glimpse of the airship before it went down.
But Malaysians and the rest of the world woke this morning only to find out that search and rescue efforts, now entering into their third day, have turned up nothing.
It was as if flight MH370 had vanished into thin air, taking with it the lives of 239 people.
Without any sign of the missing aircraft, the only leads the authorities, and the watching world, have to go on are the many speculative, conspiracy theories that have emerged since MH370 disappeared from sight.
Most significant are the reports alleging the possibility of terror links to some of those onboard the missing aircraft.
It has been confirmed that two passengers were allowed to board the aircraft using the stolen passports belonging to one Italian and one Austrian national.
Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) touched down in Kuala Lumpur yesterday and met with Malaysian intelligence officers to investigate the possibility that a more serious security breach had led to MH370’s disappearance.
According to Interpol, there were no checks on the two passports that were listed on its database between the time the documents were stolen and the flight’s departure.
“Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol’s databases,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said in a statement, according to international news agency Reuters.
Adding to the intrigue, Interpol said it has widened its probe to other suspect passports, “which may have been reported stolen”.
“This is a situation we had hoped never to see. For years Interpol has asked why should countries wait for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates,” Noble was quoted as saying.
According to CNN, the duo, who somehow gave local immigration officers the slip, appear to have bought their tickets together.
The two tickets were bought from China Southern Airlines in Thai baht for identical prices and had contiguous numbers, the international broadcaster reported on its website yesterday, citing information from China’s official e-ticket verification system Travelsky.
That the two tickets had adjoining numbers showed they were issued together, CNN said.
The revelation is likely to deepen speculation of foul play over the missing plane.
Malaysian authorities have also confirmed that two passengers had boarded the missing Beijing-bound flight under dubious identities.
“There are only two passengers on record on this aircraft with false passports and we have the CCTV recordings of those passengers from check in, right to the departure point and this record of the CCTVs are now being used in investigations on this,” Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters at the Sama Sama Hotel in Sepang earlier.
Following these reports, talk of terrorism, bombing and hijacking of MH370 were bandied about repeatedly yesterday.
According to Singapore’s The Straits Times yesterday, the authorities were not ruling out Uighur involvement in the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370.
Quoting Malaysian officials familiar with the ongoing probe, the daily said investigators are keeping their minds open to the possibility.
The daily noted that the plane’s disappearance had coincidentally come just a week after knife-wielding assailants killed nearly 20 people at a train station in Kunming, China. The killings have been linked to China’s Uighur Muslim minority group.
“One of the Malaysian officials said the authorities were not ruling out Uighur involvement in the jet’s disappearance, noting that Uighurs were deported to China from Malaysia in 2011 and 2012 for carrying false passports,” ST reported.
“This is not being ruled out. We have sent back Uighurs who had false passports before. It is too early to say whether there is a link,” one official was quoted as saying.
ST reminded that in 2011, Malaysia had deported 11 Uighurs who were allegedly linked to a human trafficking syndicate.
Back in Kuala Lumpur, the official line taken by Malaysian government and aviation officials was one of caution.
Asked if terrorism and hijacking have been ruled out in the disappearance of MH370, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman only had one response: “We are looking at all possibilities.”
Despite the authorities’ refusal to divulge more information, and the endless number of theories and uncertainties, however, only one thing has remained true so far — flight MH370 still remains missing.