Lest you missed my writing on Lessons from MH370 please peruse it here…I wrote it 8 days after MH370 mysteriously disappeared.
The Malaysian Insider reports that Malaysia’s Defense Minister who is also the country’s sole captain of the Transport Ministry in his interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC), explaining with a view to justify why Malaysia did not scramble a fighter jet to the ill-fated MH370 has said that, “it was not deemed a hostile object and pointless if you are not going to shoot it down.”
The reported interview with ABC was on Monday.
Seriously, it now confirms two critical truths.
Firstly, the Malaysian military did not act decisively on the grounds of safety. If we are to examine the Minister’s statement, it attests that ensuring that the nation’s assets and lives are being protected by the military in times of potential disaster is not a standard.
Secondly, the statement by the Minister further reveals that Malaysia’s military SOP (standard operating procedure) is, a jet will only be scrambled into action for shooting down intruders.
Given this revealing admission by the Defence Minister who is also the acting Transport Minister, and on hindsight, is it wrong to conclude the following:
One, if only the Malaysian military (Air Force) had recognized its role in ensuring the nation’s safety, it would have scrambled its jet fighter to get to the ill-fated aircraft the moment the civil aviation authorities signalled the SOS call.
Two, if only the Air Force was up there we would have known for sure what eventually happened to MH370.
Three, the entire world then would have been saved the millions of dollars and resources that have been going to waste looking for a ping in the deep, wide, blue ocean; and even looking at all the wrong places initially.
Four, and more importantly, Search and Rescue teams could have been dispatched to save the lives (if there were any still) from the crashing plane in quick time.
But all these were not. And now we know that it was simply because the Malaysian military did not send its jet out into the sky to follow a civilian aircraft in distress.
That brings us to a globally critical question: Why? Why did the Malaysian defense not do what is the most right action at a time when the civil aviation authorities sent out an SOS?
In any other nation that professes to govern by the dictates of decent democracy and best practice governance, the Minister accountable for his or her inability to see that the right action is taken at the right time by the right people, would immediately resign in disgrace.
Even in employment, failure to discharge responsibilities that eventually causes undue loss and suffering will lead to immediate dismissal if there is no resignation volunteered.
But what we are seeing here in the way we govern a nation, it is the citizens who are admonished and shut up when faced with a national disaster that has far reaching consequences in addition to loss of lives, assets and dignity.
The leaders continue with business as usual and seem quite settled with a system that gives them absolute immunity from being affected by failures or even dereliction of duties.
In the end, just like the Altantuya murder, no one is now responsible for the catastrophic failure of MH370 that has placed Malaysia in an extremely vulnerable position.
One, the airlines, Malaysia Airlines – a national carrier, is being besieged by a massive arrest on its reputation and financial status.
Two, it places the entire military (Malaysian Air Force) on a bad pedestal. The reputation and ability of the many seniors and leaders within the force are being tarnished – though it is no fault of their own in all probability.
And three, if the former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s recent attestation that the plane may still be somewhere is anything to go by, it only puts our leader of defence and transport in dire circumstances.
Four, or are there far more hidden secrets that continue to keep the entire world of concerned and affected citizens in a solid wrap of known-unknowns?
It is therefore no surprise that citizens are calling for Datuk Hishammuddin’s resignation. – May 23, 2014.
*J. D. Lovrenciear reads The Malaysian Insider.