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MH370: Time for accountability, heads must roll, forum told

Published: 18 June 2014 | Updated: 18 June 2014 1:20 PM

DAP leader Lim Kit Siang (second from right) says Putrajaya cannot wait till flight MH370 is found before carrying out an investigation. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari.
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang (second from right) says Putrajaya cannot wait till flight MH370 is found before carrying out an investigation. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari.
After more than 100 days since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, it is time for Putrajaya to be held accountable for the tragedy, a forum was told last night.

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang accused Putrajaya of dragging its feet in launching an inquiry to find out what actually caused the plane's disappearance, adding that "heads should roll".

"It's been 101 days and time to demand accountability, heads should roll.

"And we must make it very clear that we cannot accept there will be no investigation until the plane is found," he said at a forum to commemorate the plane’s disappearance after 100 days.

The forum, "The tragedy of MH370: Accident or human error", was held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly hall here last night.

Lim said Putrajaya had said that any decision on whether to present a white paper to Parliament, set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) or a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), would only be made after the plane was found.

He said Putrajaya’s current position was unacceptable and called on the people to send a clear message that Malaysians expected greater accountability and a better system of governance.

Another panelist last night, constitutional law expert Tommy Thomas, made several references to local air traffic control officers and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), the first people who should have reacted when MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, went missing.

But instead of local aviation officials, he said, the real heroes in the first few hours after MH370 went missing were the Vietnam air traffic controllers, who asked about MH370 six times, he said.

Thomas said Ho Chi Minh had inquired about the flight at 1.38am on March 8, when it did not enter Vietnam airspace.

"So even if the guy at the KL air traffic control was asleep, which I think is probable, he would have been awakened by that enquiry and the penny should have dropped at that point of time," he said.

He added that even after that point, the way the Malaysian air traffic controllers conducted themselves was "laughable".

"The Vietnamese air officers were professional and concerned throughout the early hours and we have a sleepy bunch who got some information that the plane was headed to Cambodia.

"And even then, it was Ho Chi Minh who made the effort to ask Cambodia and they were told by Cambodia 'we don't know what you are talking about'," he added.

These gaps, the issue of the stolen passports and whether it was just mangosteens in the cargo hold proved that the information released around the time of the crash and on May 1, when Putrajaya released a preliminary report, were untruthful, said the lawyer.

"What is clear is that there had been a terrible omission of information," he said.

(The preliminary report was on the steps taken by the Malaysian authorities between 1.38am and 6.14am on March 8, as well as the cargo manifest, recordings of all communication that took place between the cockpit and air traffic control, maps detailing MH370's flight path and the likely area it ended its journey in the southern Indian Ocean).

Thomas also took issue with acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein's answers in an interview with an Australian broadcaster, when he was asked why RMAF did not intercept the unidentified plane which appeared on its radar.

ABC’s Four Corners programme had quoted Hishammuddin as saying that Malaysia’s civil aviation authorities had called the military asking them to keep an eye on the plane but the military had allowed the plane to continue its way out to sea.

The plane was deemed not to be hostile and therefore the military did not send a plane up to investigate, the minister had said.

“If (we didn’t) shoot it down, why send it (jet up),” Hishammuddin had said.

Tommy said that the response by Hishammuddin, who is also the defence minister, was "unbelievable and was proof of how low the minister's understanding of his office actually was".

"If they had sent the jets up, of course even our dummies know not to shoot it if they saw it was a Malaysia Airlines plane.

"But at least if it (MH370) went down after that because it was being hijacked or if it was a suicide mission, we will know where it crashed," he said.

He added that one cannot assume anything with an unidentified plane in a country's airspace, adding that one had to be more guarded when it concerned a "friendly aircraft".

"Who knows they might have come to hit the PM's office in Putrajaya or KLCC or something," he said to laughter from the crowd.

"It's a massive tragedy but conducted in such a farcical manner," he added.

Thomas also said that because the system was not honest or transparent, the integrity and truth of the information could not be accepted and gave rise to many theories.

One such theory raised by Thomas was whether there was a possibility that pilot Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah had filled up fuel for 12 hours of flying for the six-hour Beijing-bound flight.

"If he did have full fuel, would we be surprised if the record of this has disappeared?” he asked.

Similarly, Thomas also raised the possibility that the air traffic controllers could have communicated with the plane, or even with a hijacker, but added that this information could have also been erased.

Research for Social Advancement, Relevant Facts, Sparkling Analysis (REFSA) senior fellow Lam Choong Fah also found it unacceptable that the air force and defence minister kept insisting that they did not intercept the plane because it was not a hostile target.

He pointed out, however, that until today, the Malaysian authorities had not revealed its standards in determining whether an aircraft was hostile or otherwise.

"According to US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), an aircraft is a threat if it flies through a country's boundary without prior filing in a flight plan, of if the aircraft's radar transponder is not in operation, and it does not maintain two-way radio contact.

"So if this happened in the US, they would have scrambled their jets," Lam said.

He also questioned the non-existent air accident investigative bureau in Malaysia, saying that apart from countries with big aviation industries like US, UK and France, there is such a body in smaller countries like Singapore, Thailand and Mongolia.

Lam also called for the setting up of an RCI to investigate and restore the country's reputation following flight MH370's disappearance.

Forum participant Peter Chong, who is a close friend of Capt Zaharie Ahmad, said the tragedy should never be forgotten and efforts should continue to get to the truth.

"We need to know the truth so that the families can find some closure and to ensure this does not happen again.

"We need to rely on civil society to keep the momentum going," he said.

An elderly Chinese man asked the panellists if those who were allegedly sleeping on the job in the early hours when MH370 went missing should be sacked.

Lim agreed that heads should roll for negligence of duty, but stressed that there must be due process such as an inquiry.

He added that this was why a PSC was necessary.

Another participant, S. Anbarasu, who claimed to have worked for MAS for over 30 years and retired last year, told the other participants present during question time that as the aviation industry was highly regulated, there was no way over 2,900kg of cargo on board MH370 could remain unidentified.

He also said that journalists were knocking on the wrong door when they demanded answers from MAS, adding instead that the airline's only responsibility was to passengers and their kin.

"In a situation like this, the airline had to pass all the information to the government, so you should be asking them," he said.

He added that questions should also be channelled to China, as the receiving country, what formed the 2,934kg of unidentified cargo.

He added that something was amiss with the unidentified cargo.

"Who went to China recently and even came back for a funeral and flew back there?," he said, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's recent visit to China.

"And whenever China says something about the missing plane, on the other axis, Australia, UK and US will always disagree with it, I feel all this has got to do with that cargo." – June 18, 2014.

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i think this is a very important global issue that needs to be updated post all news here
I wish they find something soon so the families can grieve.
i think this is a very important global issue that needs to be updated post all news here
I recognised it is a very important issue as well, but the truth is not much can be done until the plane is found.
3rd time this year of an accident oh mh

Malaysia Airlines MH17: Australian expert questions flight's Ukraine route
July 18, 2014 - 5:00PM
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Jamie Freed

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MH17: Ukraine airspace dangers 'well known'
Questions need to be asked about why MH17 flew through the airspace of a war zone says international security expert Peter Jennings.
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The former head of safety at Qantas has questioned whether Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 should have been flying over the eastern Ukraine given the heightened state of the conflict with Russia.

Ron Bartsch, who now heads international aviation consultancy AvLaw International, said airline network planners had a choice over whether they wanted to fly over dangerous areas or to go around them, even if it would require more fuel.

The site of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine.
The site of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine.
Mr Bartsch said that while bodies like the International Air Transport Association issued advisories and warnings from time to time, incidents like MH17 “really hit home that it is up to individual airlines to continually monitor and assess the risk on a daily basis”.

Ultimately it was up to the airlines themselves to determine whether potential hazards on their routes were within “an acceptable level of safety”, he said.

Mr Bartsch said there had been instances, such as a volcano eruption in Chile, when Australian airlines had chosen not to fly even though the airspace was declared safe by authorities.

“You can use the analogy of a policeman can’t be there to tell you when to cross the road and when not to,” he said. “It is up to the individual, in the case of airlines, to make that assessment.”

European air traffic control group Eurocontrol said Ukrainian authorities had closed the airspace from the ground level to 32,000 feet but the airspace at 33,000 feet, where MH17 was flying at the time it was shot down, had remained open.

Malaysia Airlines said the usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

However, other airlines had chosen to avoid that airspace. Qantas said none of its flight paths track across the Ukraine and its London to Dubai services flew 400 nautical miles south of the region, having been rerouted several months ago amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Emirates said it had suspended flights from Dubai to Kiev subject to further notice, but added its flights to and from Europe and the US flew a different route outside the zone where MH17 was shot down. Cathay Pacific confirmed its flights did not fly over the concerned airspace.

Singapore Airlines would not say whether it had been flying over Ukraine until the incident occurred.

“We generally have a number of pre-existing flight paths for our flights to and from the destinations that we are operating to,” a Singapore spokeswoman said. “At this point, we are no longer using Ukrainian airspace and have re-routed all our flights to alternative flight paths that are away from the region."

Mr Bartsch said deciding not to fly over a conflict zone such as Ukraine, Syria, Israel, Libya or Iraq would come at a commercial cost to an airline, because more fuel would be required at a time of high fuel prices.

“Obviously with airline operations now, they are increasingly commercially competitive,” he said.

“It means that unless they perceive a risk that is sufficient, they are not going to do anything other than the lowest cost route.”

“I think the problem is if sometimes every other airline is doing it or the majority of airlines are doing it, airlines are drawn into a false sense of comfort, if you like, to think ‘if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for us’.”

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3rd time this year of an accident oh mh
3rd time? What else happen besides MH370?
the b737 that crashed into the airport aerobridge
the b737 that crashed into the airport aerobridge
Didn't know about it. When did that happen?
a few weeks after mh370 disappear it screwed up mh shares

Malaysia Air Faces Likely Delisting After Second Disaster
By Elffie Chew and Kyunghee Park Jul 22, 2014 7:25 PM ET 14 Comments Email Print

July 21 (Bloomberg) –- Two unspeakable tragedies in less than six months. The loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 over the Indian Ocean and now, this... the murder of 298 innocent lives aboard MH 17. It is unprecedented and many now wonder whether Malaysia's flag carrier can survive it. Bloomberg's Zeb Eckert filed this report on Malaysia's rise to glory and its downfall. (Source: Bloomberg)
Malaysian Air Won't Last in `Current Form': Mohshin
Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), reeling from its second disaster in four months, is likely near the end of its days as a publicly traded company.

The company plans to present a revival plan to its state-run parent Khazanah Nasional Bhd. this week, people familiar with the matter said yesterday, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The options range from Khazanah taking Malaysian Air private to bankruptcy, according to one of the people, with both routes involving a delisting.

Malaysian Air says its focus is on the victims and families of Flight 17, while the loss of 537 lives and two planes since March is straining the carrier’s ability to stay in business. Even a month before the latest disaster, Khazanah was estimating that the unprofitable airline only had enough funds to last it about a year.

“They don’t have the luxury of time,” said Mohshin Aziz, an analyst at Malayan Banking Bhd. (MAY) in Kuala Lumpur. “Malaysian Air doesn’t have a huge balance sheet, it’s still struggling from perception issues. We will probably see drastic measures.”

Flight 17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam carrying 298 passengers and crew on July 17, when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine. The disaster occurred four months after Malaysian Air Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people aboard, leading to the longest search for a missing plane in modern aviation history.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Malaysian Air’s shares tumbled 11 percent the day after Flight 17 was shot down,... Read More
‘Emergency Responders’

Asuki Abas, a spokesman for Khazanah, couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone for comment. The Wall Street Journal reported July 20 that Khazanah was increasingly leaning toward taking the carrier private, citing unidentified people.

“Our focus during this very challenging time is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize full support to provide all possible care to the family members of those onboard MH17,” Malaysian Air said in an e-mailed response to queries about the revival plan. “This is not the right time to address this question.”

Shares of Malaysian Air surged 15 percent, the most since October 2007, to close at 23 sen, above the level before the downing of Flight 17. Still, the stock has fallen 26 percent in Kuala Lumpur trading this year and is rated sell by 13 of 15 analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, owns 69.4 percent of the carrier.

Rebels Deny

On the political front, President Vladimir Putin has defied international anger over Russia’s alleged role in the shooting down of MH17 as the U.S. and Europe threaten further sanctions against his increasingly isolated country. Putin has blamed the Ukrainian government, saying the crash wouldn’t have happened had it not fomented the conflict in the east.

President Barack Obama urged Putin to rein in the rebels, who he said were “Russia-backed.” Bodies gathered from the crash site have been released and the “black box” flight and data recorders handed over to Malaysian specialists. The separatists have denied they downed the plane.

For Khazanah, privatizing Malaysian Air could mean the fund would need to buy the 31 percent it doesn’t own in the company, a stake valued at about 1 billion ringgit ($315 million) based on the stock’s latest closing price.

“If they do go through with this privatization, they will be killing a few birds with one stone,” said Terence Fan, an assistant professor at Singapore Management University, who researches the aviation business. “They can make the cash flow, maybe have some thorough strategic change and use this as a chance to rebrand themselves.”

Mounting Losses

Should Malaysian Air choose bankruptcy, it could be the biggest for an airline in terms of assets since AMR Corp. (AXR) in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Malaysian Air’s Hugh Dunleavy, the airline’s director of commercial operations, had in May ruled out a bankruptcy.

The carrier’s options also include renegotiations with the labor union, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Malaysian Air employees generated an average $220,000 of revenue in the last three years, compared with $524,800 at Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) and $245,000 at Thai Airways International Pcl, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Still, taking the company private remains the preferred option, rather than a bankruptcy, with a decision coming as soon as next month, the people familiar with the matter said. Khazanah said last month the carrier had funds to last about a year.

Even before Flight 370’s disappearance, Malaysian Air had racked up 4.13 billion ringgit in losses over the previous three years. The incident put the carrier under global scrutiny, jeopardizing its reputation and prompting boycotts in China, whose nationals accounted for most of the passengers in the March flight that vanished.

Capital Raising?

Losses at the Subang-based airline widened to 443.4 million ringgit in the January-to-March period, the most in nine quarters, as travel agents in China stopped selling the carrier’s tickets after the disappearance of MH370 and as competition intensified.

Analysts are projecting losses to persist at least through 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Malaysian Air had cash and cash equivalents of 3.25 billion ringgit at the end of March, down 13 percent from three months earlier. The company may need to raise funds by selling new shares to stay in business, according to Daniel Wong, an analyst at Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur.

Under Review

The airline carried 3.1 percent fewer passengers in June from a year earlier, and filled 77 percent of its seats, down from 84 percent a year earlier, Malaysian Air reported.

Malaysian Air may also modify plans for future plane orders after the disappearance of Flight 370 tarnished its reputation.

The airline had anticipated ordering as many as 100 jets and was considering a range of models from both Airbus Group NV (AIR) and Boeing Co. (BA), a person familiar with the purchase strategy said in February. The carrier needs fuel-efficient jets to cut costs amid rising competition from discount airlines such as AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA)

Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in an interview last month the carrier’s fleet plan was under review.

“Even the strongest airlines would be falling on their knees on these two incidents,” Mohshin at Malayan Banking said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at [email protected]; Kyunghee Park in Singapore at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Regan at [email protected]; Philip Lagerkranser at [email protected]; Dave McCombs at [email protected] Young-Sam Cho
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looks like mh will go bankrupt soon even if the govt takes it,

isnt malaysia airline already government owned!
^^ its on the stock market as well likely downed MH17 'by mistake', say US officials
July 23, 2014 - 10:53AM
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Mark Hosenball

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MH17: US to release classified information
The US State Department confirms it will release classified information linking Russia to the missile that felled MH17.
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Washington: The US government believes that pro-Russian separatists most likely shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet "by mistake," not realising it was a civilian passenger flight, US intelligence officials said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the "most plausible explanation" for why the separatists fired what the United States believes was a Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile at Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was that they had mistaken it for some other kind of aircraft.

Part of the wreckage of MH17 at the crash site.
Part of the wreckage of MH17 at the crash site. Photo: Reuters
"Five days into it [following the crash] it does appear to be a mistake," one of the officials said in a briefing for reporters.

The missile was probably fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training, an official said.

The officials said that their conclusion was backed up by intercepted conversations of known pro-Russian separatists, whose voice prints had been verified by US agencies.

A Malaysian expert examines the MH17 black box after receiving it from pro-Russian rebels.
A Malaysian expert examines the MH17 black box after receiving it from pro-Russian rebels. Photo: Reuters
The speakers initially bragged about shooting down a transport plane, but later acknowledged that they might have made a mistake, the officials said.

Russian operatives have been spotted on the ground in eastern Ukraine but the US intelligence community had no explicit proof that Russians were with the SA-11 unit that fired on the airliner, officials said.

Although the US had observed a flow of heavy weapons, including air defence systems, into Ukraine from Russia, intelligence agencies had not seen the larger SA-11 missiles being moved into the country before the airliner was downed, officials said.

Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a crash site.
Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a crash site. Photo: Reuters
The Russian military had been training the rebels at a large base in Rostov on various weapons, including air defence systems. But US officials said there was no explicit evidence of the Russians training the separatists on the SA-11 missile batteries.

The downing of the airliner, in which all 298 people aboard were killed, deepened the Ukrainian crisis. Separatist gunmen in the Russian-speaking east have been fighting government forces since pro-Western protesters in Kiev forced out the pro-Moscow president and Russia annexed Crimea earlier this year.

US President Barack Obama's administration has said it is convinced that MH17 was brought down last Thursday by an SA-11 missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. It has said the assessment was backed up both by unspecified intelligence information and by extensive social media postings by both the separatists and Ukrainian government.

The intelligence officials said on Tuesday that they had reports of as many as a dozen aircraft being fired on from separatist-controlled areas during two months of fighting between the Ukrainian government and rebel forces. Two of those were large transport planes, the officials said.

One of the officials said that until the Malaysia Airlines plane was hit, most if not all the aircraft targeted had been flying at low altitude.

Officials said the US did not know that the separatists were in possession or control of SA-11 missile systems until after the Malaysia Airlines plane was struck.

Separatist leaders have denied they brought the plane down, and Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, and suggested the Ukrainian government was to blame.

The senior intelligence officials said they chose to brief reporters partly to counter what they called misleading propaganda from Russia and its state-controlled media over the incident.

Allegations that the Malaysian Boeing 777 took evasive action in the air, similar to how a military plane might manoeuvre, had no basis and the reports amounted to "a classic case of blaming the victims", the senior official said.

The claim that the Ukrainian government had shot down the plan was not realistic, as Kiev had no such missile systems in that area, which is clearly under the control of the rebels. That scenario would mean Ukrainian government troops would have had to fight their way into the area, fire at the passenger plane and fight their way out again, the official said.

"That is not a plausible scenario to me," the official said.

Reuters, AFP

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Not part of the Malaysian Airlines fleet, but another airplane just crashed near Taiwan.
Mh again this time in adelaide
4 incidents in 5 months wtf
Mh again this time in adelaide
Is it their fault?

Thinks like this probably happen every week and no one even care to report it.
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