Parliament should reserve next Thursday for a special debate on the MH370 disaster

The 28-day Malaysian Airlines (MAS) disaster of the missing MH370 Boeing 777-200 aircraft with 239 passengers and crew on board is both a national and international disaster, and this is why it has spawned the longest and largest multi-national air-sea-undersea-satellite search for the missing plane, at one time involving 26 nations.

Today, a United States underwater drone has joined the race against time in the eight-nation search involving 14 planes, ten ships and a submarine in an area of around 86,000 square miles some 1,000 miles west-north-west of Perth, Australia as there are only two days left to retrieve MH370 black boxes as their battery-powered signal usually last only about 30 days.

At a press conference in Parliament yesterday, I had urged all MPs, whether Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional, to think hard and fast whether Parliament should adjourn next Thursday utterly lost and indecisive if it becomes increasingly unlikely that the black boxes of the missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) aircraft MH370 is going to be retrieved in the coming weeks and months.

As the current meeting of Parliament adjourns next Thursday, April 10, I suggest that Parliament should reserve next Thursday for a special debate on the MH370 disaster and what MPs should do to help restore national and international confidence in the transparency, good governance and reputation of Malaysia.

This however would require the agreement of the Prime Minister who is the Leader of the House, as it is now impossible for Pakatan Rakyat MPs to introduce any motion on MH 370 which would require 14-days’ notice under the Standing Orders.

This is why the Pakatan Rakyat MP for Seremban, Anthony Loke’s motion to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee on the MH370 disaster was rejected by the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, as not complying with the requisite 14-day notice necessary for any motion from backbencher MPs.

However, it is provided under Standing Order 27 (3) that if the Speaker “is satisfied upon representation to him by a Minister that the public interest requires that a motion should be debated as soon as possible, one day’s notice shall be sufficient”.

It is therefore incumbent on the Prime Minister to have a motion moved and debated for the whole of Thursday on the MH370 plane disappearance disaster, which had gripped the attention and concerns not only of the aggrieved family members of the 239 passengers and crew and the people of Malaysia, but also the whole world!

As the country whose aircraft with 239 passengers and crew from 14 countries have disappeared into the air with zero findings or clue after four weeks, it will be a disgrace and shame if the Malaysian Parliament is less concerned than other Parliaments or legislatures about the missing MH370 disaster.

I would urge the Prime Minister to agree to set aside the entire Thursday next week to discuss the disaster of the missing MH370 plane, including whether a Parliamentary Select Committee on MH370 should be established.

MPs should also discuss next Thursday whether the Malaysian Parliament should initiate a global parliamentary inquiry into the MH370 disaster, as 14 nationalities are victims of the disaster, with the passenger list counting 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 5 Indians, 4 French, 3 Americans, 2 each from New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada and Iran and one each from Russia, Taiwan and Netherlands.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah