It has politics written all over it


Lim Mun Fah, Sin Chew Daily

Almost a hundred vessels and aircraft from 26 nations launched the largest ever SAR mission for a missing plane in human history, encompassing millions of square miles of unfathomable oceans and expansive terrains, with the most sophisticated satellite and radar surveillance systems. Unfortunately, nothing about the missing MH370 airliner or the 239 people onboard has been brought to light.

More than ten days now, and the public are getting increasingly frustrated as relatives of passengers onboard become agitated and infuriated. Modern technology does not seem to work in the face of the most mysterious aircraft disappearance in modern history. The Malaysian government and MAS have repeatedly come under fire, with the Chinese media hitting out at the Malaysians government for concealing the truth and poor efficiency in search effort, demanding that Malaysia surrender the dominance over search mission.

Rumours, meanwhile, continue to run wild while information available so far has been fragmented. Even comments from experts have been inconsistent. To complicate things further, we have the sudden emergence of many self-proclaimed experts who seem to know everything but in reality they know very little about the missing plane. A multitude of suppositions and presumptions have been put forward.

One of the biggest lessons we can draw from this crisis is that the title of “developed nation” is still a remote pursuit for us in Malaysia. A developed country is not just one boasting a high income; the level of technological advancement and the quality of our people also make important criteria.

Huang Huikang, the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, has put it in a very mild manner. “This has been a rather rare case in human aviation history. It’s highly complicated and mystifying. As a developing country, Malaysia is still lagging in terms of technology and tackling of such an enormous crisis, when compared to the West.”

Indeed, this is the case. Still heading the search operations, the Malaysian government’s deficiencies and blunders have been unreservedly exposed over the last ten over days. Ambassador Huang has been polite in his criticism because of his recognition of the government’s relentless effort in working things out, and hoped the media would be less subjective and critical when commenting this issue.

To be honest, precise information is essential for the success of the SAR mission. There is no way the government could accomplish this without the assistance of other nations, especially the technologically advanced countries.

On the backdrop of the stark geopolitical reality with mutually conflicting interests, how ready are the nations participating in the SAR mission to share the information in their possession?

While everyone claims to be unbiased on this matter, in actuality we have seen that many media reports, analyses and commentaries have been skewed towards some sort of ‘conspiracy theories,” be it here or abroad. The relationship between Anwar Ibrahim and the pilot has been cooked up into a major political issue, while the relationship between PM Najib and Hishammuddin has attracted the eyeballs of French journalists.

We have yet to ascertain whether politics indeed has a hand in this whole thing, but before that could happen, a naked truth is that everything has been politicized. What perplexes us is that, is this really that important in locating the missing plane and its crew and passengers?

This I cannot answer you. But all that I know is that politics is here to stay, and all over us.