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Monday, March 31, 2014

DCA clarifies last words from MH370 cockpit

It was 'Good night Malaysian three seven zero' and not 'All right, good night' as previously reported, says DCA.
cockpitKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s civil aviation department said late Monday the last words spoken by one of pilots of missing Flight MH370 were “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”, and not the more casual “All right, good night” originally reported.
The admission is likely to add to criticism of the Malaysian authorities’ handling of the search for the Malaysia Airlines flight which vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Chinese relatives of those on board the missing plane have been particularly scathing, accusing Malaysia of incompetence and even a cover-up.
“We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 0119 (Malaysian time) and is ‘Good night Malaysian three seven zero’,” the department said in a statement on Monday night.
“The authorities are still doing forensic investigation to determine whether those last words from the cockpit were by the pilot or the co-pilot.”
Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya had said on March 17 the last words from the cockpit were believed to have been spoken by the co-pilot.
Shortly after the last message from the plane communications were cut and the Boeing 777, carrying mostly Chinese nationals, vanished from civilian radar.
The civil aviation department said a full transcript would be released during a briefing with relatives of the missing passengers.
‘We are not hiding anything’
The move comes after testy exchanges on Monday between foreign journalists and Malaysian Acting Transport and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who insisted: “We are not hiding anything, we are just following the procedure that has been set.”
Malaysia insists it is being transparent, but has yet to release any details of its investigation into what happened, which has included probing the backgrounds of everyone on the flight, including its crew.
In the early days of their daily press briefings after the plane went missing, Malaysian officials made a series of contradictory statements that added to the confusion.
Notably, there have been about-turns regarding the crucial sequence of events in the plane’s cockpit before it veered off course, and Malaysia’s armed forces have been criticised for failing to intercept the diverted plane when it appeared on military radar.
Such mis-steps have fuelled relatives’ anger, with families of Chinese passengers accusing Malaysian officials of incompetence and deceit.
A massive international search for the plane is currently focused on the southern Indian Ocean, where the aircraft is thought to have crashed after mysteriously veering off course.
Race against time
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is heading to Australia tomorrow to witness the race-against-time bid to locate the crash site.
Ships and planes from seven nations are engaged in the massive search operation in a vast zone far off western Australia but so far the hunt for debris that would prove the jet crashed in the Indian Ocean has turned up nothing.
Experts warn debris must be found within days to nail down a crash site in order for any use of a US-supplied black box detector — known as a towed pinger locator (TPL) — to be feasible.
The US Navy, which has supplied the detection device, said in a statement Monday: “Without confirmation of debris it will be virtually impossible to effectively employ the TPL since the range on the black-box pinger is only about a mile.”
But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said no time limit would be imposed on the search for clues as to what happened.
“We owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone that travels by air, we owe it to the anxious governments of the countries who had people on that aircraft. We owe it to the wider world which has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now,” Abbott said in Perth.
The Australian vessel Ocean Shield, fitted with the pinger locator and an underwater drone designed to home in on the black box’s signal, was set to head to the search area.
A black box signal usually lasts only about 30 days. Fears are mounting that time will run out — Ocean Shield will not reach the search zone, now the size of Norway, until Thursday, roughly 26 days after the plane went missing.
If floating MH370 debris is found, authorities plan to analyse recent weather patterns and ocean currents to determine where the plane went down.
Malaysia believes MH370 was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the remote Indian Ocean.
Malaysia remains officially in charge, but Australia has assumed increasing responsibility, appointing retired air chief marshal Angus Houston to head a new coordination centre in Perth.
AFP

Shame on Zahid and Immigration Dept

Interpol's revelation shows we're definitely not world class, as the minister has claimed.
COMMENT
zahid hamidi masBy Robert Chaen
It has taken a crisis of titanic proportions to expose how embarrassingly inefficient Malaysia’s immigration authorities are.
Last Friday, it was revealed that the Immigration Department would have taken mere seconds to discover that two men using stolen passports were about to board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8 if it had bothered to consult Interpol’s database.
The revelation, contained in a statement issued from Interpol headquarters in Lyon, disputed Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s assertionon Wednesday that the check would have been too cumbersome to be useful.
The statement said recent tests on the database showed that it took only a fifth of a second to reveal whether a passport was listed.
Interpol also revealed that Malaysia had not run a single Interpol passport check this year before the MH370 incident.
In comparison, Singapore ran its checks 29 million times, Britain 140 million times and the United States 230 million times. About 800 million searches were made in 2013, resulting in 60,000 successful alerts for false or stolen passports.
One may conclude from this revelation that Malaysia’s Immigration Department is far from being of a “world class” standard, as Zahid has maintained.
“Malaysia’s decision not to consult Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol,” the Interpol statement said.
“If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia’s Immigration Department.
“We remain ready, willing and able to help Malaysia better safeguard its citizens and visitors from those seeking to use stolen or fraudulently altered passports to board planes.”
Could it be because of the Immigration Department’s inefficiency that Al-Qaeda members were able to meet in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 to plan attacks on USS Cole and New York’s Twin Towers?
In any case, Zahid is accountable in the issue regarding MH370 and must now answer to the families of those on board the flight.
Robert Chaen is an international change expert and writes at www.robertchaen.wordpress.com.

Thank God for Hisham

He is Malaysia's saving grace amidst the bungling over MH370
COMMENT
hishammuddinThe missing MH370 occupies my thoughts from the moment I wake up to the last minutes of consciousness before I fall asleep.
I think of the people waiting to hear of the fate of their loved ones, spouses wondering what might have happened to their partners, parents anxious for news about sons and daughters, relatives and friends praying for the safety of everyone on board and, most heart rending of all, children waiting for the return of their parents.
I do not know any of the passengers or crew members, and yet I read, watch and listen to every bit of information coming from out there and try to imagine how those with loved ones on the flight are bearing their pain.
I’m sure millions out there share my thoughts and feelings and are thankful that the world has joined Malaysia in the search for closure.
I have to believe that our government is doing all it can to to search for the missing aircraft.
I am comforted by the confidence and precise manner with which Acting Transport Minister-cum-Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein faces the world media and answers the questions thrown at him.
When he does not know something, he says he does not know. When a question can be better answered by MAS CEO Jauhari Yahya, he defers to him.
Hishammuddin is Malaysia’s public face for a world hungry for information, and he does not disappoint. But others who at various time have taken centre stage for their fifteen seconds of fame have been disappointing.
The IGP and the Chief of Armed Forces are often lost in their own self-importance and our nation will be better off if they are kept in the background. Hishammuddin alone suffices.
I cringe as I watch the police and armed forces chiefs bask in their imagined glory on the world stage. These two have not conducted themselves with the honour that their positions demand.
Even Najib has failed
For some reason, our Prime Minister thought it worthwhile to give two press briefings, but what he had to say I and millions of others had already heard from the Internet and other sources. And he was not even clear on what he wanted to say – did the plane crash or not? How could it end its flight it Indian Ocean without crashing?
And he did not have the nerve to take questions from the hungry global media and walked away from the briefings with his tail between his legs.
Obviously, he did not have the confidence to face the unscripted questions of the international media in their unrelenting pursuit of the truth.
Someone among the vast numbers of advisors that Najib has should have briefed him of the possible media frenzy fuelled by the voracious appetite of the public to know what had happened to MH370.
It has been more than three weeks now of Malaysia and MH370 hogging headlines everywhere in the civilized world, three weeks that present an unprecedented opportunity for our nation’s leaders to show the world what they are capable of doing when faced with a tragedy of epic proportions.
Never before and perhaps never again will they find themselves so much on the world stage. And except for Hishammuddin, they have all failed.
It is one thing to enter a room full of friendly and pliant media sycophants in the briefing room at Putrajaya and another to face reporters who do their questioning unscripted and unrehearsed and are relentless in their pursuit of the facts.
To them the PM or the Acting Transport Minister is not deserving of respect until they have proven themselves worthy of it. And most of our officials have not proven themselves worthy of the respect of those hardened journalists.
What did Najib hope to gain by taking centre stage at a briefing that Hishamuddin could have handled with ease? This man continues to astound us with his lack of depth.
Media frenzy
I do not know how MH370 will pan out, but if the world press is to believed—and its global audience makes it imperative for our leaders to take heed—the Malaysian government has failed to be open and transparent to the grieving families and thereby brought shame on our nation.
Background checks on the captain and his crew and passengers should have been part of standard procedure to be carried out as soon as the plane was reported missing. That would be what any responsible government would have done. That the authorities in Malaysia failed to do so does not do much for their credibility.
Did Najib not know that there would be a media frenzy brought on by the demands of a 24/7 news cycle?
Every bit of news, information and hearsay on MH370 was spun around the globe within seconds and then took on a life of its own.
What the government will not tell the international journalists they will not hesitate to find out from other sources, and many of these will speculate and spin.
This is indeed a sorry saga that will not end until there is closure with the discovery of MH370.
I hope that Hishammuddin will continue to helm the press conferences, and as the drama continues to unfold, our prayers are for those on board MH370 and the loved ones waiting desperately for news of them. Al Fatihah.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

MALAYSIANS MUDAH LUPA

mt2014-corridors-of-power
Malaysians are a funny bunch. What was right 30 years ago is wrong today. And if the government had not acted back in 1985, Malaysians would have whacked the government like how they are whacking the government today regarding MH370.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The date was 7th June 1974. I was then on a business trip to Kuala Terengganu when I received a phone call that Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, Malaysia’s IGP, had been assassinated at Weld Road (now Jalan Raja Chulan) in Kuala Lumpur.
Around that same era (I can’t remember the exact dates), two Special Branch officers were assassinated at Jalan Alor and Jalan Kampung Atap, both also in Kuala Lumpur. Then a hand grenade was thrown at the police barracks in Jalan Pahang, in Kuala Lumpur as well (I also can’t remember the date of this incident but it was around that same period, the 1970s).
All these incidences were within a decade of the infamous ‘May 13’ race riots so invariably it caused a panic, especially when it was announced that Chinese Communist Terrorists had done the deeds mentioned above. Urban Malaysians rushed out to stock up on food in the event that a curfew were to be imposed, the result of bloodshed on the streets, as what happened on 13th May 1969.
But there was no bloodshed and life returned to normalcy a week or so later.
Then, on 4th December 1977, a Malaysian Airlines plane (flight MH653) crashed in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, with the loss of all 100 crew-members and passengers on board. No one survived that crash (I lost a few friends in that tragedy).
It was rumoured that this was the result of a hijacking by the Japanese Red Army (JRA) that, two years earlier in 1975, had stormed the AIA building in Kuala Lumpur where they took 50 hostages (a year before that the JRA had attacked a Shell facility in Singapore). One of my friends, an Indian police officer, was shot in that AIA incident.
Not long after that, in 1980 (I was already living in Kuala Terengganu at that time), Muslim religious extremists attacked a police station in Batu Pahat, Johor. 23 police officers and civilians were slashed with parangs and eight of the 20 extremists were shot dead in that incident.
Then, five years later in 1985, the Memali incident erupted.
Batu Pahat
We must remember that the 1969 race riots, the 1974 assassination of the IGP, the assassination of the two Special Branch officers around that same time plus the grenade attack on the police barracks in Jalan Pahang, the 1975 JRA attack on the AIA building and the taking of 50 hostages, the 1977 MAS plane hijacking and the loss of 100 lives, the 1980 attack on the Batu Pahat police station, followed by the 1985 massacre in Memali, sent shock waves throughout Malaysia mainly because they were all reported to be the work of terrorists and/or extremists. And all these incidences occurred within just a few years apart.
At that time, Malaysians of my generation were a very nervous bunch of people. Every small incident would trigger a panic and people would rush out to buy food so that they would have enough stock to last at least a few weeks of curfew in case that happened. And they wanted the government to take stern action to maintain law and order in the country.
Hence, when the Memali incident happened, most Malaysians (other than PAS members), especially the Chinese and Indians, welcomed the government’s action against what they viewed as terrorists and extremists. If, in 1985, you had asked Malaysians (especially the Chinese and Indians) whether they government did the right thing, the vote would overwhelming be yes.
Today, there is a debate raging in Malaysia as to whether Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister then, was still in Malaysia or already in China on that day that the police took action against Ibrahim Libya and his supporters in Memali.
This is discussing the colour of the dog collar rather than the issue of cruelty to the dog. Does it matter what the colour of the dog collar is when our concern is whether the dog has been subjected to cruelty?
Most Malaysians, even those from the DAP, and in particular the non-Malays, were most concerned about the security of the nation. With planes being hijacked and all onboard killed, with the AIA building being stormed and 50 hostages taken, with Special Branch officers being shot dead and hand grenades lobbed into police barracks, with police stations being attacked by religious extremists, the events in Memali was one event too many and Malaysians wanted an end to these threats to the security of the country.
Today, however, Malaysians are singing a different tune. They want to know who is to blame for Memali, the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or the Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister Tun Musa Hitam. The way Malaysians are talking today is that Memali was a criminal act on the part of the Malaysian government so we need to know who should be blamed for this criminal act, Dr Mahathir or Musa.
Malaysians mudah lupa. Memali was not an isolated incident. It was one more incident in a series of incidences that made Malaysians very nervous and created panic each time an incident erupted. Hence, at that time, the government’s action in Memali was most welcome as far as most Malaysians were concerned.
Why were Malaysians not outraged 30 years or so ago when the incident first happened? Why only now, almost 30 years later, are Malaysians demonstrating outrage? And have Malaysians forgotten that the Memali incident is just one more incident in a series of incidences over 16 years that sent shock waves across Malaysia?
Malaysians are a funny bunch. What was right 30 years ago is wrong today. And if the government had not acted back in 1985, Malaysians would have whacked the government like how they are whacking the government today regarding MH370.

Sack Malaysia Airports chief over mismanagement of klia2, says DAP lawmaker

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid should be sacked for incompetence and gross mismanagement over the construction of klia2, a DAP lawmaker said today.
Party national publicity chief Tony Pua said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should send a clear message to all government-linked companies (GLCs) that he would not tolerate incompetence and gross mismanagement.
Najib no longer had any excuse not to act against the top management of MAHB, Pua said in a statement.
"In fact, Najib should act against the (acting) transport minister for failing to check on MAHB's intransigence," Pua said. He said Bashir's contract as MAHB managing director had been extended twice while the cost of klia2 had ballooned to RM4 billion.
“In July 2007, then transport minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat announced that the initial budget to construct klia2 was RM1.7 billion.
"In March 2009, the budget for klia2 was increased to RM2 billion. The figure then rose to RM2.5 billion in October 2010.
"MAHB then shocked Malaysians in November 2011 when it announced that the cost for klia2 had spiralled to RM3.9 billion," said Pua.
In fact, Pua said, AirAsia founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had tweeted that the cost of klia2 had ballooned to RM5 billion in July 2012, a claim which was denied by Putrajaya.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein insisted in August last year that the cost would not exceed RM4 billion.
"So it was no surprise that Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi finally told The Edge that the cost of klia2 would cost more than RM4 billion," Pua said.
He said Aziz had attributed the additional costs to a change in job scope and other unforeseen matters.
"For the past three years, the transport ministers and MAHB top management have lied to Malaysian taxpayers.
"MAHB has clearly demonstrated complete incompetence and even attempted to conceal its mismanagement behind outright lies and deception."
Pua said heads must roll, otherwise the entire Najib administration will be responsible for a low-cost klia2 which might cost up to RM5 billion to build.
He also questioned the opening date of klia2, which has been moved at least five times from September 2011 to the current deadline of May 2, 2014. 

Is Selangor being taken for a ride in water deal, ask Pakatan politicians

Selangor has imposed water rationing until April 30. The state government and Putrajaya signed a RM9.65 billion deal in February to restructure the water industry in Selangor but a few lawmakers are asking if the state will really take over operations as outlined in the agreement. – April 1, 2014.Selangor has imposed water rationing until April 30. The state government and Putrajaya signed a RM9.65 billion deal in February to restructure the water industry in Selangor but a few lawmakers are asking if the state will really take over operations as outlined in the agreement. – April 1, 2014.Has Putrajaya taken Selangor for a ride over the multi-billion-ringgit water deal that could see privatised concessions being nationalised?
That is the question asked by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs and politicians who are overseeing the agreement between the federal Barisan Nasional (BN) administration and the Selangor government.
Recent statements from Putrajaya indicate that it does not see the terms of the deal the same way as Selangor does. Selangor continues to insist that the terms are still being followed.
At stake is who gets to run the lucrative but leaky Selangor water industry which supplies treated water to seven million consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
“The statements appear to contradict the memorandum of understanding,” said former Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, on Putrajaya’s statements that the restructured industry will be run by a federal agency – the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).
Dr Dzulkefly, who was part of a Selangor water panel to restructure the industry, said under the MoU, signed on February 26, a state-owned company, (Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad) would run the restructured industry.
“(The federal government) seems to be oscillating… There is some hesitancy on using Section 114 of WSIA,” said Klang MP Charles Santiago on whether the federal government would use the law to take over the four concessionaires currently managing the industry.
Santiago said Putrajaya was still reluctant to use WSIA because it would send a wrong message to the business community.
“It’s really confusing,” he said of the different statements coming out of Selangor and Putrajaya.
Santiago also said he had not been able to get a clear answer either from the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry on whether Selangor or Putrajaya would run the industry once it was restructured.
“The deputy minister (Datuk Mahadzir Khalid) refused to say one way or the other,” said Santiago, who had queried Mahadzir in the Dewan Rakyat on March 25.
Under the February 26 MoU with Selangor, Putrajaya is supposed to “facilitate” the takeover of the water industry.
This would reverse decades of privatisation of the industry and put the management of the industry fully under Selangor’s control through Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB).
Selangor government officials have in the past asserted that “facilitate” meant that Putrajaya would invoke Section 114 of the Water Services Act 2006.
The provision allows Putrajaya to take over the industry from the four concessionaires in the interest of the public.
The four companies are Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd and Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd.
Except for Syabas, all three companies operate plants that process treated water for seven million residents of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Syabas manages the pipe and distribution network.
The Selangor government said that it wanted to manage every aspect of the industry, from managing the dams and rivers that supply raw water to the plants and pipes that process treated water.
However, on March 21, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said the ministry would take over the four water concessionaires but that the industry would be run by a federal government agency – SPAN, together with Pengurusan Asset Air Berhad and representatives from the Selangor government would run the industry for an interim of three years.
Ongkili made no mention of the fact that restructured industry would be handed over to KDEB.
The next day, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim insisted that KDEB would, in the end, run the industry.
Khalid had said that Putrajaya and Selangor would send KDEB officers to join a team from Putrajaya who would “step in” the operations of the four.
The federal government and KDEB would go in together, but the Putrajaya would stand back and let KDEB manage it, Khalid had said.
Two days later, Santiago pressed Mahadzir on which plan, Ongkili’s or Khalid’s, Putrajaya was following.
“This clearly shows that something is amiss in the whole agreement,” said Santiago, who is also chairman of the Coalition against Water Privatisation.
However, until today, there has been no clarity. 

Tight security at bizarre royal divorce case


Police personnel and members of the Johor Military Force made their presence felt at the Syariah Court of Appeal in Johor Bahru this morning, during a bizarre divorce hearing involving the Johor royalty.

Former sultanah Tuanku Zanariah Tuanku Ahmad isappealing a backdated divorceapplication that had been filed some months after the death of her husband, Tuanku Mahmud Iskandar on Jan 22, 2010.

Tuanku Zanariah’s lawyer Kamar Ainiah Kamarulzaman(left) said her client and children were not allowed to enter the court room. Even her lawyers were escorted out by the police, with the exception of the lead counsel Afshah Ariffin.

Kamar Ainiah said there were four high-ranking police officers, 13 uniformed police personnel and seven others believed to be Special Branch officers outside the court.

"There are also several police Special Action Unit members and also Johor Military Force personnel,” she claimed.

“The Syariah Court of Appeal made sure that all of us except for the lead counsel are not in the courtroom before they began the proceedings.”

This afternoon, the court allowed an application by the state Islamic Council (MAIJ) to be an intervener in the case.

The three-member panel comprising Justices Syed Ali Syed Abu Bakar, Marsid @ Morsid Mahrof and Jainuddin Mt Sum found that the application had met the requirements of Section 18 and 19 of the Johor Syariah Procedure enactment.

Section 18 involves combining parties in an application and Section 19 is on a change of parties.

The court also ordered that MAIJ be placed as a respondent in all documentation relating to the appeal, and that Tuanku Mahmud Iskandar's name be deleted as a respondent.

Tuanku Zanariah had named Tuanku Mahmud Iskandar as respondent, as the divorce application had allegedly been made by him.

Last Thursday, the three-member panel had declared that the proceedings were to be conducted behind closed doors.

Fresh documents

The divorce application had been heard at the Lower Syariah Court without Tuanku Zanariah's presence or knowledge in August or September 2010.

She was only informed of this last August in a letter from the state mufti and former Johor menteri besar Abdul Ghani Othman (right).

The divorce was backdated to Jan 23, 2009 after the Johor Fatwa Committee accepted a statutory declaration by Abdul Ghani and Johor royal committee chairperson Tengku Osman Tunku Temenggong Ahmad, verifying that the application was genuine.

On Jan 1 this year, Tuanku Zanariah had filed a review application at the Johor Syariah High Court seeking to annul the divorce certificate.

On Jan 20, the Johor Syariah High Court had upheld the lower court's decision as valid, resulting in the appeal.

Kamar Ainiah and Afshah said dates have yet to be fixed to hear the appeal, and that the relevant documents will have to be filed again following today's decisions.

Search area littered with rubbish


DAY 24 MH370 The search for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 enters its 24th day but its trail is increasingly cold in the Indian Ocean at an area some 1,850km west of Perth, Australia.

However, things are heating up in Malaysia as several families of Chinese MH370 passengers have now taken their protestcloser to Putrajaya.

The families, which began arriving from Beijing yesterday, have demanded the Malaysian government to apologise over what they call a premature declaration that the ill-fated flight had "ended' in the Indian Ocean.

MAS insists the conclusion is based on rational deduction as satellite analysis showed the aircraft was lost in the Indian Ocean with no land mass nearby.

Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage for the search of Flight MH370:

3.46pm: Timor-Leste prime minister today commends the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) over their handling of the missing MAS flight crisis, Bernama reports.

"Malaysia is to be applauded for leading the multi-national search effort which has been an outstanding example of leadership and co-operation among the international communities," says Xanana Gusmao.

At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak after a bilateral meeting in Putrajaya, Gusmao also expresses his condolences to the families of the aircraft passengers and crew over their loss.

Search area littered with rubbish

2.35pm: While the new search area 1,100km north east of the old site has better weather, operations are being hampered by higher volume of ocean trash that may be mistaken for wreckage.

Reuters reports the search zone is an area of the Indian Ocean where currents drag in all manner of flotsam and rubbish.

"I would say the search area is located just outside of what we call the garbage patches," says Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales.

"There is much more debris there than in the Southern (Indian) Ocean. Debris from Western Australia that ends up in the garbage patches will have to move through the search area," she adds.

China urges angry citizens to be rational

1.50pm: China's state media urges rationality among its citizens after the outburst of anger following Malaysia's announcement that Flight MH370 has "ended" in the Indian Ocean, reports AFP.

A commentary in China Daily under the headline 'Treat MH370 tragedy rationally' reads: "It is certain that flight MH370 crashed in the Indian Ocean and no one on board survived."

"We should not let anger prevail over facts and rationality... We need to comply with the fundamental norms of a civilised society and need to show the demeanour of a great power."

The author, Mei Xinyu, a researcher with the commerce ministry institute, says irrational behaviour will not help matters and families should prepare to make funeral arrangements.

"Although the Malaysian government's handling of the crisis has been quite clumsy, we need to understand this is perhaps the most bizarre incident in Asian civil aviation history.

It is understandable that as a developing country, the Malaysian government felt completely at a loss," he adds.

He adds they should not accuse Malaysia of covering up information without hard evidence.

Pilot's daughter will not forgive British tabloid

12.45pm: Daughter of the MH370 pilot, Aishah Zaharie haslashed out at British tabloid Daily Mail for reports putting her father in bad light.

"Dear Daily Mail, you should consider making movies since you are so good at making up stories and scripts out of thin air...

"May god have mercy on your souls. You can bet you're a** I will not forgive you," she writes in a Facebook posting yesterday.

The remarks come after Daily Mail on March 29 quoted a source "close to the family", claiming Aishah had supposedly said her father was "disturbed and lost in his own world" prior to his ill-fated flight.

Kin: We know who are the good guys and the bad

12.45pm: The Chinese families have left Wisma Fo Guang Shan after prayers and speaking to the press.

Jiang Hui, one of the relatives of the Chinese passengers, thanks the Chinese and all of the governments of the countries participating in the SAR operations.

Speaking on behalf of the families, he also thanks the Malaysians who have prayed for them, the media who have voiced on their behalf and the MCA crisis relief squad for assisting them in their stay here.

"The Chinese community is a friendly one. We can tell the good from the bad.

"We will not forgive those who had killed our loved ones, those who are hiding the truth and those who are delaying the SAR operations," he says.

10.30am: The families from Beijing arrive at Wisma Fo Guang Shan to pray for their missing.

About 40 arrive with police escort, and they wear white T-shirts that say 'Pray for MH370, please come home as soon as possible' in Chinese.

The prayer session is expected to take an hour.

The press are told to wait at the lobby for a photo session after the prayers and interviews are expected after that.

Aussie PM: Najib right about MH370 ending in ocean

10.24am: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott defends his Malaysian counterpart Najib Abdul Razak over the latter's conclusion that Flight MH370 has "ended" in the Indian Ocean amid queries from Chinese families.

"The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean.

"That's the absolutely overwhelming wave of evidence and I think that Prime Minister Najib Razak was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion, and I think once that conclusion had been arrived at, it was his duty to make that conclusion public," UK-based The Telegraph quoted Abbot saying.

The Chinese are angry that Najib had made the announcement based on satellite calculations, without first finding the wreckage.

Chinese families pray for passengers

10.20am: MH370 Chinese next-of-kin, who arrived Malaysia yesterday to seek explanation from the Malaysian government, are scheduled for prayers at Wisma Fo Guang Shan in Petaling Jaya.

The Buddhist temple's administrator allows media to wait inside while the families arrive, but are asked not to interview them until prayers are complete.

Some media personnel say they will join in the prayer session to observe the proceedings.

Aussie PM: We're in for a long search

9.12am: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott soothes fears that the search operation will give up on finding Flight MH370 after PM Najib Razak earlier declared the plane had "ended" in the Indian Ocean.

"I'm certainly not putting a time limit on it.

“We can keep searching for quite some time to come, and we will keep searching for quite some time to come.

"The intensity of our search and the magnitude of operations is increasing, not decreasing,” Reuters quotes him saying.

Abbott is at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce in Perth, the launchpad of the aerial search operations.

Time running out on black box

6am: The search operation in the Indian Ocean begins, says the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa).

A total of 10 aircraft and 10 ships from Australia, Malaysia, US, China, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea will be involved in the search today.

It expects low clouds and rain throughout the day in some parts of the search area.

The black box detector, borrowed from the US, will also be in action today after being fitted onto the ADV Ocean Shield which will depart from Perth.

However, US Navy captain Mark Matthews who will be leading the search using the black box detector yesterday expresses pessimism it will yield any results until the search area can be further narrowed.

"Right now, the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which takes an untenable amount of time to search." he says in Sydney Morning Herald.

The black box is nearing the end of its 30-day battery life, so the detector will only be useful for only a few more days.

Background:

The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200ER aircraft went missing not long after taking off from KL International Airport in the early hours of March 8, with 12 crew members and 227 passengers.
   
Authorities have determined the plane intentionally made a turn-back and altered its course shortly after cutting communications with tower controllers for unknown reasons.
   
Its whereabouts is now narrowed to the southern Indian Ocean after employing "new analysis" methods to deduce the location based on six pings the aircraft sent out to British satellite communications provider Inmarsat's satellite.
 

Black box developer doubts it will be found


A scientist who was part of the team to develop the black box says he is doubtful the device on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will be found.

'I've got to say I think their chances of finding this black box in very deep water when they don't know where it went down within an area of 1,000 km, are practically nil," Bill Schofield was quoted saying in an interview with China's official news agency Xinhua.

Schofield worked as a researcher for Australian black box inventor, David Warren, at the now defunct Royal Aeronautical Society in the 1960s.

Flight MH370 is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean but an extensive multinational search operation has yet to yield any results after 24 days.

The black box records every activity and maneuver experienced by an aircraft.

It is an essential and perhaps the only lead for investigators probing the disappearance of Flight MH370.

Schofield said going forward, the aviation industry may need to look at alternatives for collecting flight data such as through satellite transmission.

"It could transmit it all up to a satellite, but can you imagine how many aeroplanes are flying at any one time in the world and all of them saturating the satellite time? Satellite time is very valuable anyway. It would mean an awful lot of satellites," he said.

He added that another method could be to prolong the black box's battery life to ensure its beacon stays active so searchers can pick up its signal.

At present, the black box battery can only last for around 30 days and during this period, it will emit a ping that can be picked up by a pinger locator hydrophone if it is within a two nautical mile radius.

Such a detector has already been deployed in the Indian Ocean but the US Navy says it is pessimistic about finding the black box any time soon until the search area can be further narrowed.

Veteran activist Irene Fernandez passes away


Veteran activist Irene Fernandez today passed away after being hospitalised for heart failure since last Tuesday. She was 67.

Her sister Josie said that Irene died at 10.58am at the Coronary Care Unit at Serdang Hospital.

"Her organs were all fine but her heart stopped. The doctors tried their best to resuscitate her.

"Irene was very brave and courageous and as I speak to you now, I can see that her face is so serene, so calm," she told Malaysiakini after the family performed their prayers.


Josie, Irene's husband Joseph Paul (left) and the couple’s three children were with her at the time.

The founder of migrant rights NGO Tenaganita was admitted at the Serdang Hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties.


Her remains will be brought to her home in Seremban later today and a public wake will be held in Subang on Wednesday.

"Prayers and a mass to celebrate her life will be held on Thursday. We will announce the details later," Josie said.

The family will also honour her request to be cremated and have her ashes buried with her late parents in Sungai Petani.


A dedicate civil rights activist, Irene was on her way to hear the findings of the coalition for clean and fair elections (Bersih)'s tribunal when she faced breathing difficulties.

She gained international attention when she became the subject of the country's longest criminal trial after being charged with publishing falsehoods in a report on migrant detention centres.
          
She was once again investigated for her activism in 2012, when a sedition probe was launched over an interview about migrant rights with an Indonesian newspaper.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MH370: “Pesawat MH370 Sah Dirampas” itulah yang tersiar TV2 RTM semalam

Pada jam 12.05 pagi 29 Mac 2014 ketika tayangan Telemovie keudara, RTM TV2 telah memaparkan apa yang dikenali sebagai "rerayap" mengenai insiden MH370 dengan mesej "PESAWAT MH370 SAH DIRAMPAS".

Walaupun perkara ini berlaku tengah malam (pagi) ada yang sempat 'capture' dan memuat naik di media sosial.

Tak lama kemudian, melalui facebook RTM telah meminta maaf atas kesilapan atau kecuaian berkenaan dan berjanji siatan dalaman akan dilakukan untuk mengenalpasti kecuaian tersebut.

Nampaknya semua orang lebih cenderung MH370 dirampas daripada jatuh di lautan Hindi.