Questions about crisis management, like why the PM and acting Transport Minister not informed immediately when MH370 went missing but only after several crucial hours later, will have to wait as top priority now is to find aircraft and address the grief of bereaved relatives

The last 24 hours had been a very distraught time not only for the bereaved relatives and friends of the 239 passengers and crew on Malaysia Airlines’ MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but to people in the whole world as the passengers involved 14 different nationalities.

When I first read of the shocking news some 24 hours ago, I tweeted a local online report by The Malaysian Insider “MAS says ‘lost contact’ with plane carrying 239 passengers” and an international news report in The Los Angeles Times “Malaysia Airlines says flight to Beijing missing” – as this is not just a national concern, but a riveting international mishap.

For the last 24 hours, I joined not only Malaysians but people world-wide hoping and praying that the 239 passengers and crew of MH 370 would miraculously survive their ordeal.

The missing MH370 flight and the fate of the 239 people on board dominated the thoughts of all the Pakatan Rakyat leaders and members who attended the Pakatan Rakyat Fifth Convention, and although Parliamentary Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP National Organising Secretary Anthony Loke were the only two leaders to touch on the ongoing search for the MH370 in their speeches, the Convention was united in their unspoken prayers and hopes that 239 people on board the MH370 would able to pull through safely.

After 24 hours, one would have to face up to the reality that something terrible had happened in the tragedy of MH370.

There are many questions about crisis management, for instance, why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were not informed immediately when the MH370 with 239 people on board went missing as they only knew about it several crucial hours later, and why a Search and Rescue Operation (SAR) mission was not initiated within an hour of a “missing” aircraft as delays will result in SAR aircraft equipped with systems like forward-looking infrared being unable to detect the “heat signature” from the engine fuselage and bodies.

But these critical questions about crisis management, as well as the actual cause of the “missing” MH370, will have to wait as the top priority now is to find the aircraft and to address the grief of bereaved relatives and friends over the tragedy which had befallen the 239 passengers and crew of MH370.

At this hour of greatest grief and trial for the relatives and friends of the 239 passengers and crew aboard the MH370, MAS and the Malaysian government are duty-bound to do whatever is possible to lighten their grief and sorrow.

I join all Malaysians, and I believe the common humanity world-wide, to extend the deepest condolences to the bereaved relatives and friends of the 239 passengers and crew of MH370, and pray that they find the strength from the support of Malaysians and like-minded people world-wide to face their great grief and trial.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah