By Zurairi ARApril 1, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Malaysia’s handling of the MH370 has not only invited scorn from international communities but also made it difficult even for fellow Malaysians to support Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government, opposition MPs said today.
After being allegedly snubbed again from an official briefing on the search and recovery operation originally scheduled for tonight, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs said they will not settle for anything less than a briefing by a minister who has all the facts in hand.
“We feel not only sad, ashamed, but also angry about how so many mistakes and weaknesses could have happened,” DAP’s Lim Kit Siang told reporters in Parliament here.
“ to give our utmost support in this tragedy, but these actions highlighted questions about our system’s incompetencies.”
The Gelang Patah MP said Malaysian authorities have gone through a series of blunders since the jetliner went missing, the latest being the conflicting last messages from the plane.
Malaysia’s department said late yesterday the last words spoken by one of pilots of missing plane were “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”, and not the more casual “All right, good night” originally reported.
Malaysian authorities’ handling of the search has been heavily criticised by international communities, especially by Chinese relatives of those on board the missing plane, who accused the government of incompetence and even a cover-up.
In one show of this alleged incompetency, Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri was recently forced to backtrack on a remark he made in Parliament on the air turnback by the missing jet.
The leader told the House that the military had initially assumed that a Malaysian jet detected on its radar on March 8 was ordered to turn back by air .
But shortly after, Abdul Rahim admitted that his remark was merely based on his own assumption, which was inaccurate.
Lim, however, said he believes otherwise.
“I believe what he said in the house was not his own opinion, but he was given information, he was given a briefing by government staff,” Lim claimed.
PKR’s Azmin Ali pointed out that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had promised a briefing on the crisis for PR MPs tonight, but it was no longer possible with the absence of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“This morning we received information that the minister had run off to Hawaii for another conference,” said Azmin, referring to Hishammuddin’s meet with his defence minister counterparts from Asean.
“I see that Barisan Nasional are the ones politicising the issue. They’re not serious in working with PR to find a solution for such an important issue.”
This comes as Lim pushed for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the incident to start three weeks from last Sunday, regardless whether the “black boxes” of the missing flight MH370 are found or not.
The opposition pact insisted again today for the PSC or Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be held soon so PR lawmakers can help out in the crisis.
Last Thursday, Shahidan insisted that Putrajaya will not set up a special parliamentary committee or a panel to conduct a royal inquiry into the missing Malaysian jet before the “black boxes” are found.
Shahidan stressed that the federal government’s top priority now was to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders, key pieces that could unravel the puzzle over the plane’s fate.
On March 25, Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he was not in a position to decide whether a PSC or Royal Commission of Inquiry should be formed to look into the disappearance of flight MH370.