MH370: Interpol hits back at Malaysia


interpol

(It is not the first time the Malaysian authorities had some differences with Interpol. This is from the Wikipedia – Journalist Hamza Kashgari, who in February 2012 fled his home country of Saudi Arabia to avoid prosecution for apostasy, and was subsequently arrested in Malaysia. The Royal Malaysian Police initially asserted that they had arrested Kashgari because they had received an Interpol Red Notice request to do so. However, Interpol stated that no such notice had been issued, and the Malaysian police retracted their claim. Image source: http://www.intelligence-sec.com)

I still recall the comment made over Business Week on how Malaysian authorities initial handling of the MH370 crisis:-

“They’re handling a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics,”

We have made some positive progress on how we handle things but then again, somehow the above statement still lingers on with this:-

On Wednesday Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told parliament in Kuala Lumpur that consulting the database was too time consuming for immigration officers and caused airport delays. Interpol shot back saying Malaysia’s decision to not consult the database before allowing travellers to enter the country or board planes ‘cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol’.

“If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia’s Immigration Department,” the France-based organisation said.

Interpol said that it takes “just seconds to reveal whether a passport is listed, with recent tests providing results in 0.2 seconds”. While some countries consult the database more than a hundred million times a year, “in 2014 prior to the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia’s Immigration Department did not conduct a single check of passengers’ passports against Interpol’s databases,” the agency said.

“Had Malaysia consulted Interpol’s database, the fact that both passengers were using stolen passports would have been discovered almost instantaneously,” it added.

(Source)

No thanks to the Minister who had discounted the Interpol with flimsy reasons, you now know why Malaysia looks really stupid and seemed incompetent in handling it’s affairs?

Well, shame on us because Malaysia given the available money for overseas shopping & expensive up-keeping of pandas (that will never belong to us in the end), there seems to be  a severe lack of money to beef up the necessary technology and the infrastructure for national security.

Well, shame on us again because our own neighbor down south, Singapore is one of about 70 member states of Interpol that actually cross checks with Interpol database and yet I have not seen any airport delays when I flew in onto Singapore (on the contrary to the excuse given by Malaysia that the checking against the Interpol database will cause airport delays). The last time I went, it hardly took a minute for immigration clearance.

In fact, I have held up for almost a minute or two at immigration counters in some airports in some countries but I have no complaints on such delays. The strictness is inconvenient but highly understandable. The same should apply the same for foreigners coming in to this country. Why we are worried of causing inconvenient of a few seconds to foreigners but causes a major inconvenient to the national security on the long run. Interpol says the latest test shows that it only takes 0.2 seconds.

Even if the immigration department decided not to connect to the Interpol database for cross checking on the travel documents, there is still one mystery that remains unresolved, remains unanswered.

The two Iranians came in using Iranian passport but left on stolen Austrian & Italian passports. Didn’t the immigration department captured the two Iranians biometric and passport details when they entered? Then why the same verification was done when they departed? The system would have flagged the different passport for the same biometrics and the immigration department could have stopped the 2 Iranians on the spot. Further, wouldn’t that “internal” verification been faster than connecting to Interpol database? So, why this has not been done and the only excuse that the Minister can come up is that verification is time consuming & it causes airport delays – an excuse that implies that national security can take the back seat as long as there are no delays at the airport.

Thus no wonder there has been nothing but brickbats for the Home Minister in this aspect.

From Malaysian Insider:-

Notice their culture of always blaming someone else for their own laziness. Until today none has step forward to assume responsibility. Even the RMAF being keeping quiet hoping that no one will bring up their failure in protecting our airspace.

Right now their own incompetence stood out like a sore thumb yet they are unaware the world is watching them with disbelief. Plane turn back in distress, the deputy minister simply shot an unbelievable cooked up answer. Not a tinge of remorseful but continue trying to lie their way out.

It is just the way BN government handles politics. Never their fault always someone else’s fault. Never admit mistake always someone else’s mistake. Even worse while not admitting to mistake our minister have the face to criticise and blame the Chinese press, the Interpol etc.

Some of our ministers are still living in the days of typewriters and cabinet filing!

And from Malaysiakini:-

Again caught with our pants down. It shows the Immigrations is not bothered, do not know or understand the Interpol database and yet have not cared to inform or consult Interpol about their problem. For Zahid to immediately blame Interpol and be defensive also shows he has not bothered to check and find out the truth. This is typical of arrogant BN ministers. They always get away with stupid excuses inside Malaysia but are made to look foolish when it comes to international issues.

Immigration is compromised, security is compromised. No wonder we have so many illegal immigrants here with their families.

MH370 may have just opened the can of worms in Malaysian accountability, transparency and responsibility out into the open and simply reinforces the missing notion of a Ministerial responsibility, which remains an alien concept and illusive in this country, to remain unchanged until we see a complete shakedown of the Government. We are waiting to see what excuse the Minister will come up in light of the Interpol’s revelations. Hopefully he will admit the shortcomings and move on with concrete actions to address the shortcomings and not come up with another flimsy, stupid and illogical excuses.

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F5E Poser


(F5E jet fighters are considered obsolete in the current jet age but it is still part of our air defence system – no one should forget about that!  Image source: http://cdn-www.airliners.net)

I guess when one is digging through a pile of crap; it is only going to get nasty…

As we know by know – RMAF’s F5E fighter jet engine has been missing and the Government is now doing massive damage control due to national (does threat to national security rings a bell?) and international implications (perhaps under illegal shipments of military hardware?).

The PM and the Defence Minister have repeated said that there is no cover-up and the police is “seriously” investigating. Good luck to them especially if those engines have left the country, the relevant paperworks have been destroyed and the real culprits have disappeared.

Then we have this: –

Not one but two jet-fighter engines, each worth RM50 million, were stolen from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besi.

Both engines served as power plants to the F-5E Tiger II fighter and RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance jets.

(Source)

Looks like we did not lose 1 but 2 jet engines and we are seriously wondering whether this is just a tip of the iceberg?

Then it gets better with this

It was learnt that the engines were sold to arms dealers on the black market.

Intelligence reports suggested the engines were later transported to a US-sanctioned Middle Eastern country that was keen on developing its own fighter jet

With this, Malaysia would be a tempting choice for many of the US controlled blacklist lists (perhaps one on who is assisting terrorists and rogue countries). Even though, it is a theft (and not a willing sale & purchase), Malaysia’s reputation has been grossly tarnished.

Malay Mail reports:-

The source said only Iran, which is one of the biggest users of the F5 interceptor aircraft and its unlicensed indigenously developed variant, would be the only buyer of a whole engine.

The US has maintained an arms embargo on Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The source said the US, which has been notified of the engine theft, would have found out about any delivery to Iran and would have imposed sanctions on Malaysia for violating the arms embargo.

The sources said as far as they knew, the US has not placed any restrictions on the sale of items, military or dual-purpose, on Malaysia.

Are we suppose to be happy that the US (and its allies) have yet to place any restrictions on Malaysia? What about our own standards of being accountable and following the international agreed norms?

What had happened to the strict control of our most prized assets? And when we learned about the theft, did we act swiftly to nab the offenders and get the stolen items back in one piece? Or did we take the usual casual way of doing things whilst the criminals were busy cleaning their tracks?

CheguBard lists out the chronology of event in his blog: –

  • 26Jun 2007 – enjin pertama dihantar keluar (the first engine shipped out)
  • 1November 2007 – enjin kedua dihantar keluar (the second engine shipped out)
  • Mei 2008 – enjin disedari hilang (it was realised that the engines were missing)
  • 4 Ogos 2008 – laporan polis dibuat (police report made)
  • 13 Mei 2009 – kertas siasatan dihantar kepada Peguam Negara (investigation papers sent to AG).
  • 25 Jun 2009 – kertas siasatan dipulangkan dengan arahan untuk lengkapkan siasatan (investigation papers sent back with instruction to complete the investigation)
  • 18 November 2009 – kertas siasatan dihantar semula (investigation papers re-sent)

Interesting timeline, isn’t it?

In 2007, when the first and second engine was stolen, the Minister in charge of Defence is none other than our current Prime Minister. Is this why, we did not hear about the stolen engines until late 2009? Why the “cover-up” for the past 2 years?

Malaysian Insider says:-

But yet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claims there is no cover up.

He was then Defence Minister in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Cabinet. He should have recommended then for the theft to be announced to the public.

Najib has allowed the issue to be kept under wraps for more than a year. In the eyes of the public that sounds like a cover up. The fact that a police report was lodged does not mean there was no cover up.

Also if you note the time when it was discovered the engines were missing and police report were made, it took them more than 2 months before deciding to make police report. Why the delay then? Was it because they been caught with their pants down and they do not know what to do?

What about those in charge of the matters at RMAF? If you think they been caught and court-marshalled for treason, think again.

Datuk A Kadir Jasin writes in his blog:-

Should we be happy and jump with joy at the news that a brigadier-general and 40 other armed forces personnel were sacked for alleged involvement in missing RMAF jet engines incident?

The New Straits Times headlined today that they were given the boot late last year after Air Force jet engines worth RM50 million went missing. Why alleged? What then is the “real” truth behind this dastardly, shameful, treacherous act?

Why only an internal inquiry? Why not a full-blown investigation and trial by a civil or military authority?

This is an act of treason. Why were they not court-martialed?

Can we feel more comfort that the necessary people in the Government will now be shameful of this act of treason and will now take stringent steps to avoid similar things from happening? Or it is going to be business as usual for the culprits?

If you remember, after fatal or wasteful or embarrassing national crisis, we have come up with many commissions, recommendations, warnings but the thing is how much of the so-called recommendations that we have actually implemented? Why then the repeated incidents?

Read TV Smith’s “For Every Reaction, There Is No Action” – can we put a stop to the “tidak apa” kind of attitude after this?

Can we get back the jet engines? Or our good names back?

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Mission to ‘Mars’


Let’s state the obvious…

(Politicians and soiled diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason – cartoon source: http://davies.lohudblogs.com)

We elect politicians into office so that they can be our servants and not to be our masters.

We elect politicians so that they can make the best deal for the rakyat, not to make best deal for themselves.

What is needed at end of the day is accountability and transparency – it is simple as that. We admit that in the course of performing their duties to serve the people, politicians is entitled to certain perks and allowances, depending on the quality of work, of course. The Prime Minister for example can enjoy the escort of the police outriders when he needs to run through the traffic during peak hours (although we wish that he could take the public transport once in a while and see how fucked up the system is).

We are not complaining if things are done by the book.

And talking about doing things by the book, there has been interesting developments in the area of accountability and transparency – one is on the leaked Cabinet papers and the other on the very purpose of Selcat and its direction

On the cabinet papers, they are now going after the one leaked the information:-

Police investigations into the posting of classified Cabinet papers on the Internet will focus more on where the leak occurred rather than who was responsible for making them public, said Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

The Cabinet paper is looking at the PKFZ scandal and we been waiting for the many investigations by many parties (MACC, police, cabinet, PAC, etc) to come to an end and get the ‘son-of-bitches’ (words inspired by General George S Patton) who have squandered the millions to be caught and punished severely.

The last thing we need is for the PKFZ scandal coming to a closure without anyone brought out into the open and be accountable. We do not need the loss of millions simply swept under the carpet in the usual Malaysia Boleh spirit.

On the Selcat, it is being attacked from, not a big surprise, Khir Toyo and seems to be in collusion with PAS’ Hasan Ali (increasingly becoming the oddball in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition)

The latest spat over Selangor’s Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) shows that there is a power tussle between the Mentri Besar and state assembly Speaker, says Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Once again Khir Toyo is playing the racial card to overshadow the ‘good’ work that Selcat have done to date to uncover the blatant corruption and misuse of public funds during Khir Toyo’s helm at the administration of the state. One must admit that if not for change of state government, the blatant use of public funds would have gone unnoticed.

Hasan Ali said:-

“Investigations which involved degrading methods that affect the dignity of the people being questioned and elements of pressure did not reflect the philosophy of Selcat,” he said in a statement yesterday.

As a result of such tactics, he said many senior civil servants had lost their sense of self-worth and their morale was low.

Hasan Ali may have good points in his argument to improve Selcat but the problem is if many senior civil servants have done their job well and without the inclination to still work for or being pressured by the previous government, we will not be hearing blatant and gross recklessness like this:-

A district officer today revealed that Barisan National (BN) assemblymen under his jurisdiction had misused their state allocations ahead of the March 8 general elections last year.

Earlier Petaling District Officer Datuk Zulkepli Ahmad was at a loss to explain how approval for state allocations for BN lawmakers was given even after the state assembly was dissolved and even after the new PR state government was sworn-in.

There was a clear case of misuse of public funds in both cases – PKFZ scandal and in the findings of Selcat. What is yet to be finalised is the extent and the implications.

In recent developments in both cases, what is being feared is whether the truth will be lost and the guilty ones will get away unpunished, once again. In Malaysia, despite being more developed country and have a developed arms of government and having specialised enforcement agencies like the MACC (previously ACA), we are not much better than some 3rd world countries where corruption rules and no one ends up being accountable or answerable.

It is akin to the mission to Mars – there is a lot of work to be done and change of attitude before we can say we are corruption free country. Otherwise it will be the loss of millions year in, year out.

What is Malaysian F1 Cost?


Update 1: Read Malaysian Insider analysis here

There are pros and cons to the Government’s latest adventure into Formula 1…

(A colourful car in a colourful controversy – Image source: Malaysiakini)

We thought we had a taste of Formula 1 with Petronas’ involvement and Alex Yoong in the driver’s seat but in the Malaysia Boleh spirit, we are getting ourselves one notch up in this very expensive sport

Malaysiakini reported:-

Sepang International Circuit (SIC), a joint partnership involving the government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs for the 1Malaysia Formula One Team project, has allocated between 8,000 and 12,000 hectares for the development of the Made-in-Malaysia F1 team headquarters

Then Paul Tan in his blog reported

According to SIC CEO Razlan Razali, the HQ will be fully equipped with manufacturing and development facilities including a wind-tunnel and costs could be in the millions or even billions.

Seriously the government through Proton have not revealed how much they are spending to bring up a wholly owned Formula 1 team (they passed the buck to Proton but will Proton have free hand on saying how much they can spare? And how they will re-coup the investment?). And with past track records of how public funds are mismanaged, we need to ask the question – how much Malaysians may end up paying for the whole lot.

As usual, the plan was announced with many blurred out details and with the idea ‘1Malaysia’ prominently highlighted. What 1Malaysia got to do with Formula 1, you may ask. Ok never mind, no point cracking our heads looking for connection – somewhere there is load of money to be spent. I heard something about getting foreign investment into Malaysia but as usual, these were general statements.

Until the government and the ‘not so private’ Malaysian companies’ decides to reveal the details, let have a look at an average cost of running a Formula 1 team.

That leads back to the question – how much the more seasoned Formula 1 teams are spending on their team on annual basis? An entry in Wikipedia states:-

In March, 2007 F1 Racing published its annual estimates of spending by Formula One teams. The total spending of all eleven teams in 2006 was estimated at $2.9 billion US. This was broken down as follows; Toyota $418.5 million, Ferrari $406.5 m, McLaren $402 m, Honda $380.5 m, BMW Sauber $355 m, Renault $324 m, Red Bull $252 m, Williams $195.5 m, Midland F1/Spyker-MF1 $120 m, Toro Rosso $75 m, and Super Aguri $57 million.

Costs vary greatly from team to team. Honda, Toyota, McLaren-Mercedes, and Ferrari are estimated to have spent approximately $200 million on engines in 2006, Renault spent approximately $125 million and Cosworth’s 2006 V8 was developed for $15 million. In contrast to the 2006 season on which these figures are based, the 2007 sporting regulations ban all performance related engine development

Assuming the Malaysian F1 team spends USD40 million per year (and they are contracted to race for the next 10 years), they would have spent USD400 million. That is not including cost on preparatory work (like building of HQ), the normal side functions related to this project, required flights to overseas racing events to give moral support, congratulatory messages in the papers from local politicians and many more.

Of course, one can argue that the team may gain from the latest endeavour – like how Petronas did with development of fuel and additives and transfer of knowledge and technology – Proton can do the same.

(Proton have started well in the rally sports and now with Proton Neo, they are making a good comeback. Image source: http://rallyehq.com)

Proton brand may be more famous and therefore be easier to sell overseas (it is unfortunate that the Formula 1 car is not going to use the Campro engine). Of course, Proton need not participate in Formula 1 to sell more cars – they can do the same by building more quality into their cars and coming up with better models. Alternatively they can concentrate on World Rally championship instead (they use more Proton components than in Formula 1).

The problem with Proton is not that they have problem getting the right technology but rather they are having problem getting enough sales to have enough for R&D and development to make new saleable models.

One may also argue that the income (ticket sales, their share of TV rights money, advertisements and sponsorship) will be more than enough to cover its expenses. That is arguable since many of the seasoned Formula 1 teams have been in the sports for many years now and they must be making some kind profit to continue to participate. With enough sponsorship and technical partnership, some teams have a very healthy profit margin. We are hoping for the same

Then there is this question of ‘what if the team gets in trouble financially’? Is there a backup plan?

Of course, we hope for the best for the team and with many ‘Malaysians’ like Mike Gascoyne (the technical director), we hope that better control and professional management of the team funding and resources.

But what if they could not get enough sponsorship and the development cost spirals up? Who then come in to save the day? The government? Consortium of Malaysian companies – many of it is “government linked companies’? Of course we hope that detailed studies have been made before the Government and the GLCs got their one foot into this project and do end up as another PKFZ fiasco where money and time is being spent on ‘investigations’ and delays on booking the culprits.

Of course, we have this – way back in 1992, this was stated in Grandprix.com:-

There are teams like Ligier which have important political friends who can supply an annual budget of around US$40 million without the need for good results.

Fast forward to 2009 – now doesn’t that sound so familiar? Until then, let’s hope for the best for the team (for the sake of the nation)

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Politician’s Petty Cash


Things seems to be heating up for some seasoned politicians…

RPK has been talking a lot about Samy Vellu and how Indians got screwed in Malaysia Today – here and here (nothing fancy and much revolves around the well known Maika & MIED scandals). The “latest” evidence to surface is not so new – it was given to ACA way back in 1994 and they did nothing. Will MACC do the same?

(Khir Toyo’s 24 million mansion under investigation by MACC – Khir claims it is just Rm3.5 million, MACC  says RM5 million but the rakyat thinks both are wrong! Image source: http://anakdesa1108.wordpress.com)

Another politician in the limelight these days is Khir Toyo, the ex-MB – one of many politicians who claimed to be squeaky clean from corruption and has done everything in the interest of the people.

TheStar reported

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has been asked to be present at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office here to assist in investigations related to the purchase of his multi-million ringgit palatial home

Seriously, I doubt any action will be taken against the ex-MB – there have been many reports and incidents against the ex-MB but the old ACA and now MACC have yet to book him for anything serious. This is compounded by the mysterious letter that surfaced during the Teoh Beng Hock’s death inquest that Khir Toyo is in collusion with MACC.

Can we afford to continue to give MACC the benefit of doubt? Perhaps after the Teoh Beng Hock’s death, they may have buckled up.

At the same time, the issue of Balkis has resurfaced again when the High Court granted order to challenge the legality of the Registrar of Societies’ (ROS) decision to dissolve and de-register Balkis (the Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Association) on Feb 11. The Selangor State Government may have another crack at uncovering the fishy financial transactions of Balkis once headed by Khir Toyo’s wife.

We all know what really happened in Balkis and so does the current State Government. The only one in the “dark” seems to be the enforcement authorities (MACC, police, AG, etc) and we also know why this is so and so does the State Government. That is why the investigations into Balkis’ affairs are taken through the SELCAT (Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency formed under the Selangor State Assembly) and not through the usual MACC (which has a lousy track record).

And if one recalls the financial fiasco under Balkis, one of the matters that were raised was this:-

Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) spent almost RM1mil for a trip to France and Morocco taken by former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and his entourage in 2004. The entourage included his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, their three children and Indonesian maid.

PNSB also paid an additional RM9,000 for Dr Khir and his family’s accommodation during a four-day transit in Dubai.

The inquiry heard that PNSB paid RM750,000 for Dr Khir’s trip to the United Stated in December 2007, which included tickets to Orlando Disneyland. An additional RM110,000 was spent on Dr Khir’s seven-night stay at a hotel suite in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr Khir and his family also flew first class, said Khairiyah, adding that the entourage visited Miami Beach, Los Angeles and the Kennedy Space Center. On why the trips were conducted during the school holidays, Khairiyah said Dr Khir, then PNSB chairman, had fixed the dates.

Stand back and see these blatant spending of public funds from a view of taxpayers who are working hard to pay rent for house, transportation, food and children’s education (and whatever balance for their savings for retirement).

Taxpayers who are expecting their hard earned money to be used for improvement of schools, roads and transportation, not to be used by some politicians, who thinks that it is their God given rights, to plunder and use the money for their own.

The last thing we expect is for the hard earned taxpayers’ money used by some bastards to bring his wife, children and maid for overseas holidays – flying, staying and dining in the finest places. And when called for accountability, shrugs off the issue and remains unanswerable and unaccountable.

If Khir Toyo had paid for these trips from his own savings, then one would have appreciated it (provided it can be proven) but the fact is it was not. It was paid for using public funds. There was a clear cut of conflict of interest and misuse of public funds. What suppose to be accountability to the rakyat turned into political hide-and-seek and wayang kulit (shadow play) and the people are not happy about this (one reason which Khir was kicked out from the MB seat).

For this very reason, the current State Government should not stop pursuing the missing funds and bring these slime balls in the corrupt out in the open for the public to see, judge and strung them high on a pole. Taxpayer’s money is not an endless money pit to be abused by politicians and get away with it.

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