19th Day of missing MH370 drowned by sea of confusion over fate of aircraft and 239 passengers and crew on board

Two events in the past 36 hours highlight the tragic development of the 19-day disaster of the missing MH370 Boeing 737-200 airliner, where a sea of confusion has swept over Malaysians and people worldwide concerned about the fate of the aircraft and the 239 passengers and crew on board, viz:

  1. The announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Monday, 25th March (17th Day) at 10 pm that “using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort”, the last position of the missing aircraft was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, and that “flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”. Bottom line – all 239 passengers and crew had perished in the crash with no survivors. However, more than 17 hours later, acting Transport Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament yesterday afternoon that the SAR (search-and-rescue) operation would continue and that he would not give up so long as there are still hope for the 239 passengers and crew.
  2. Flags at government agencies, schools and the private sector in Johor and Perak flown at half-mast as mark of respect for the passengers and crew of MH370; but in Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the Malaysian Government would not declare a state of national mourning until more conclusive evidence was found to identify wreckage belonging to MH370.

This is the reason why families, relatives, friends and well-wishers of the 239 passengers and crew, who after 19 days of excruciating anguish, and who would want to have closure of their ordeal, reacted so emotionally and even hysterically to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a finality to the missing MH370 of having been lost in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors – when it is “a closure without a closure” as no piece of wreckage of the aircraft has yet been sighted.

Is the SAR operation to Hishammuddin still “search-and-rescue” or is it now standing for “search-and-recovery” without any expectation of finding anyone aboard the MH370 alive?

As I said in Parliament on Monday night, there were a thousand-and-one questions about the 17-day MH370 disaster, from why no immediate follow-up action had been taken when the MH370 had disappeared from both the civil and military radar in the first hour of the missing aircraft on March 8, why more than a week had been lost in the SAR in South China Sea when radar information had pointed to the northern and southern corridors, and the international perception that the Malaysian authorities had not been transparent and forthright about the whole tragedy.

There had been even more questions after the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Boeing 777 had perished in southern Indian Ocean.

Anwers to all these questions, confusions and controversies need be given, not only to next-of-kin of the affected passengers and crew and to all Malaysians, but also to the international society.

This is why the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on MH370 headed by an Opposition MP is imperative to restore Malaysia’s international image and reputation, for it will be a clear message to Malaysians and the world that the Malaysian authorities have nothing to hide and are prepared for the whole truth to be investigated and revealed about the events surrounding the MH370 disaster.

There should not be any delay in the establishment of the Parliamentary Select Committee on MH370.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah