MH370: Time to Reassess the Shortcomings


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(Substitute the chill beer, wine and other liquors on a board with locally made, sugar high cendol and a plane is guaranteed not to crash into the sea – so says a joker in Malaysia. Perhaps he is right but then again this is not the right time and the place to say these things. Some people just don’t get it, do they? Image source: http://www.infoway.co)

The fate of the missing plane has somehow been determined – more or less. We can only say our deepest condolences to the families of the crew and passengers of MH370 and hope they would find some kind of closure and peace over the lost of their loved ones. MH370 will be remembered.

Despite this affirmation after 4 weeks into the incident, this however does not mean it would be the end – we still have the daunting task of finding the MH370’s black box. As one Australian commander had said, it is not an issue of finding the needle in a haystack but rather it is an issue of finding the haystack first. And once this is found (no doubt will be with great difficulty), we will still a long way to go before we can determine with surgical certainty on what had really happened to MH370. It’s our solemn duty to ensure that we get down to the actual reason for the MH370 deviating from its original flight path and ending up in the Indian Ocean. It’s strange that a plane that was heading north ended up deep south for no good reason.

Having said this, we should not also lose sight of the existing weaknesses that need to be addressed to avoid a similar incident in the near future. And over the last few weeks, other than the need to relook into how we can improve on crisis management, there have been calls to relook into beef up the security and control at airports:-

Has Malaysia paid a high price with its Third World standards and attitude towards security and asset management issues, was the question posed by a veteran newsman when commenting on the missing Malaysia Airlines Beijing-bound flight MH370.

Former New Straits Times editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said that while waiting for news on the missing MH370, it cannot be denied that the control and security checks at Malaysian airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport can be said to be “relaxed” compared with those in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Is this the repercussion for the corruption, abuse of power and negligence which have reportedly happened repeatedly in KLIA?” he asked in his latest blog posting, adding his voice to the growing criticism over poor airport security at the country’s main gateway.

(Source)

As angry as Kadir Jasin may be, one cannot dismiss the fact that the 2 Iranians had easy ride out from KLIA on fake passports and this does raises some serious questions on the security and controls in our airports. Even if the 2 Iranians had come in legitimately (using Iranian passport), then why no red flags raised when they exited on fake passports? Why didn’t the system showed the Immigration officers that no one had entered using the fake passport (for them to exit with the same passport)? Is because our immigration system does not keep track of passports details coming in and out OR is it because some one had been careless and failed to check this important fact?

MACC seemed to have an answer:-

“However, we did find that the Iranians managed to slip through due to the policy of speeding up the clearance of foreign visitors. “We recommend that the government gives more weight to security to prevent such instances instead of giving priority to customer oriented service,” he said during a briefing session on “Is MACC Credible?” at Wisma Bernama, here Monday.

He added that it was quite impossible for Immigration to check all passports against Interpol’s system which lists more than 40 million missing passports in a short time.

(Source)

Unfortunately, it is not a good answer as this also means criminals, terrorists and other parasites of the society have an easy way in and out of the country. And in MH370, we were dealing with Iranians. What about the string of the so-called Nigerian students who come to this country for nothing but scams and drug peddling? It seems to be on the rise too. When we going to ban these parasite “students” outright from coming to this country and contributing to the crime statistics? When another plane goes missing? When there have been a massive shootout in public over a failed drug deals?

And then there is an issue of the failure of the Malaysian military to properly track and intercept a commercial plane that had deviated from its flight path. This issue has been a big question for many people.

The Time reports:-

The world wants to know how a rogue Boeing 777 can fly at will over Malaysia without military jets being scrambled. “Clearly they had let an unidentified aircraft pass through Malaysian sovereign territory without bothering to identify it; not something they were happy to admit,” writes aviation consultant David Learmount, who had previously decried “a chaotic lack of coordination between the Malaysian agencies.”

The Malaysian military spotted the missing jet passing through three military radars over the country’s far northeast, before it headed out over the Strait of Malacca. But despite its erratic behaviour, the American-made F-18s and F-5 fighters on alert at Butterworth Air Force base sat idle. Had the jets been scrambled, the world would have been saved a massive and extraordinary search operation.

“There was clearly a significant failure of response on behalf of the Malaysian Air Force. There’s no real way around it and you might imagine heads would roll for that,” says Anthony Davis, Bangkok-based analyst for defence-and-security-intelligence firm IHS-Jane.

(Source)

And this:-

According to the NYT report, a four-person air force crew based in Butterworth watching for intrusions into the country’s airspace either did not notice or failed to report a blip on their defensive radar and air traffic radar that was moving steadily across the country from east to west, heading right towards them.

Even the crews at two other radar installations at Kota Baru did not designate the blip as an unknown intruder, while the jetliner continued to fly across the country without anyone watching or alerting a superior or the national defence command, despite the fact that the radar contact’s flight path did not correspond to any filed flight plan.

And as a result, combat aircraft never scrambled to investigate.

(Source)

Once again, the question is whether it is a failure of the system or the people behind the system? And it cast a dark shadow on the integrity of our air defence system and tracking of what flying in and out of the country (never say that Malaysia is immune to attacks like the 9/11, not after we had the Sulu intrusion in the past).

Then RMAF responded with this:-

In revealing this today, Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said the air force decided to ignore the radar signal because the aircraft was categorised as non-hostile in nature.

“We thought the aircraft was non-hostile, we assumed it was a directive of the control tower that had directed the plane to turn back,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Many have pointed out that a telephone call from the military to the air traffic control on that morning could have alerted the tragedy, saved lives and millions of ringgit used for the search and rescue operations. The civilian air traffic control was also faulted for not raising the alarm when the aircraft went missing off its radar.

(Source)

Now that is out in the open, it is unsettling to know that the military assume things (some commentators mentioned being lazy) when they detect something out of the ordinary. And there seems to be a massive breakdown of escalations when the DCA failed to contact the plane.

Moving on, here’s one to turn your stomach around and puke in disguise:-

Amid the frantic search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, a pro-government Islamic talk-show host has drawn up a list of lessons to be learnt from this saga, including the advice that female flight attendants be allowed to don the hijab. Ridhuan, in the Sinar Harian column, also urged Malaysia Airlines not to imitate Western values and suggested the airline stopped serving liquor on its flights.

“Those who ask for liquor are those who are used to drinking. Distract them with more nutritious local food like cendol and such,” said Ridhuan, referring to the sweet coconut milk dessert.

(Source)

Frankly speaking, I don’t know whether this supersedes the Bomoh coconut clown show at KLIA in this crisis but thing for sure, it by far most, this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian. Then again, there’s nothing new from this Chinese who tries too hard to be a Malay.

One would just hope that the foreign media does not pick up this little bit of insult and turn it around for another round of laughter at the expense of the missing crew, passengers and the country as whole. It is dangerous too as he now implies that the plane had crashed only because the airline had served liquors and female flight attendants not wearing to the “right” uniform. Has he forgotten that the iconic current uniform itself is a modern manifestation of the baju kebaya, itself is part of the Malay traditional dress? On the case of liquor, no one is forcing anyone in the plane to take them – it is just part of the service. Just fly Emirates (the largest airline in the Middle East) and you will know.

Didn’t I say that this has to be one of the dumbest statement coming from a fellow Malaysian, did I? The joker is barking on the wrong side of the tree.

Let’s focus on what is more important in respect to the tragedy and have some courtesy and due respect to all those who had perish in this tragedy and hope we make amend on shortcomings without any delays so that the nation will not face another tragedy at this scale.

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Slow Down to be Safe?


(Which is better? Slowing down or enforcement of other rules like no queue jumping using the emergency lane? One of the morons that I caught on camera, abusing the emergency lane and creating more traffic jam upfront)

I am in a dilemma…

There is a family function to attend up North this week but considering the madness expected on the highways and byways in the next few days, I was wondering whether I should take the dip into the dip of madness as well. But if I don’t go the family function, well you know how it will end up when the next family function comes along. Anyway, I probably need to toss up a coin when it comes to decide the final decision.

Talking about the madness expected on Malaysian roads in the next few days, here is an interesting proposal from the Government on how they expect to lower the fatality statistics on the road:-

The reduction of the speed limit on federal and state roads by 10kph will be reintroduced during the Hari Raya period. The speed limit on federal roads has been reduced to 80kph from 90kph while state roads will now have a 70kph speed limit until Sept 6.

The speed limits on highways are not affected.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the reduction, first introduced in 2006, was aimed at reducing the number of road accidents.

(Source)

After the many bus accidents that caused the death of many Malaysians during the holidays and after many “bright ideas and proposals” by politicians who talked alot but who don’t do anything to get it enforced, the Government has now come out with this interesting “measure” to reduce the fatalities during festive season. But is simply slowing down means the roads are much safer now?

It is a fact that slowing alone does not mean you will be safe on the road. Simply because there are many other factors that contribute to fatal accidents. If one runs through this blog, you would have known some of the said incidents that I have encountered in the past few years.

Just this morning, I almost grazed another car on the fast lane when that idiot decided to change lane without putting up any indicators. And couple weeks ago, the same thing happen when a motorcyclist decided to cut in to the fast lane without any putting up any indicators or checking it was safe to cut-in in the first place. Not putting up the indicators when wanting to switch lane has been rather cancerous with Malaysian drivers. They seems to always think that fellow drivers is able to anticipate their every move and will simply give way when they suddenly cut in onto the path of on-coming car. It gets worse during bad weather – some idiots even do not switch on their headlights, making it a guessing game to accurately judge their distance (some idiots on motorcycle even do not have rear lights on a good day).

And what about the idiots that hog the fast lane, denying others who are faster than them to safely overtake them? How many of us who may have urgent matters to attend to, have encountered such idiots who seems to be enjoying a “leisure Sunday drive” on a Monday morning at peak hours on the fast lane? Don’t you feel like giving these idiots one hard slap on their face? Denied of the space to overtake, how many of us been forced to overtake these idiots from the left, sometimes dangerously whilst at the same time feeling angry and impatient – a feeling that lingers long after we have safely overtaken this idiot and arrived at our destination.

Then we have the famed idiots who at the slightest view of a traffic jam, cut over to the emergency lane and selfishly and arrogantly cutting queue. Where do we place these idiots in the aspect of ensuring that our roads are safer for rest of us? Traffic jams, sometimes also attributed to some slow road hoggers, is part and parcel of driving. It gets worse during the holidays for obvious reasons – too many cars on the road. You need to be patient and bid your time before continuing on to the destination. Everyone wants to reach their final destination as safe as and as fast as possible. Why should we give in to some idiots who simply don’t have the patience and is very selfish and arrogant? These idiots who quickly turn the emergency lane into their private lane to bypass other law abiding road users and by cutting in at the front (due to a broken down car or police block) causing traffic jam to be even worse.

There is a reason why an accident is known as “accident”. An accident is a specific, unpredictable, unusual and unintended external action which occurs in a particular time and place, with no apparent and deliberate cause but with marked effects (Source). It is “unpredictable, unusual and unintended” – no doubt about that since if someone causes an accident intentionally (by knowingly breaking the traffic rules) and it causes someone to die, then it is not known as accident, it is known as murder or in some cases, manslaughter.

TheStar reported that for past 1 week, 117 deaths have been recorded – with no surprise, 60% of them being motorcyclists (perhaps it is how God plays his card in reducing morons on the road). I am pretty sure a good number of them did not have their helmets on. The call to reduce speed limit is good but it is only effective when enforcement of other traffic rules and ensuring that the punishment for “those stubborn ones” to be severe enough that they will not break the rules again.

So, you want to be safe? Don’t only slow down (to the correct speed!) but also keep to the correct lane and cut into the fast lane only when want to overtake others and do so when it is safe to do so. Use the indicators as part and parcel of driving and use it all the time. And never abuse the emergency lane – you never know when you will be involved in a serious accident with your loved one pinned down under the wreck and your life-saver, ambulance is stuck behind your fellow emergency lane abusers.

Selamat Hari Raya and happy holidays…

Unnecessary Provocations


Perhaps it was the one of the ways God test our patience…

(The “usual” queues at the toll plaza – the traffic moves faster if everyone queues up and wait for their turn. Imagine what happens if one idiot decides to drive between the proper queues and tries to cut in. Before you know it, another line had formed in between the 2 original lines and the traffic comes to a crawl. Image source: http://www.mobshare.in)

One of my “targets’ for this year is to keep my cool on the road – unfortunately, it was easier said than done.

I had to leave office early one day last week – I had to take my HEO to the clinic – and I know immediately that my journey back home would not be so stress-free. I know that the traffic jam would be insane and there would be plenty of motorists out there who don’t give a damn on traffic laws, simple courtesy or a sense of common sense and whether they were inconvenience to others and cared if they have caused the traffic jam even worse.

The traffic towards to the toll plaza was not so bad – there was easily identified queues formed at the toll plaza although it is high time for the toll operator to put up traffic cones to control the queue jumpers. I just needed to pick my line and patiently wait for my turn. Things was not so bad – the line was still moving albeit slowly. There were queue jumpers (as usual) but thankfully it did not happen to my lane. The queue jumpers has just made the other lane worse and brought it to a crawl and they are now itching to shift to the lane that did not have any queue jumpers and still moving.

It was still early in the evening as I paid the stressful looking lady at the toll booth and queued up on the lane that was merging with another lane which itself was merging with another at the front. Respectfully, the merging point was done quiet orderly – each lane took their turn to join and kept the lane moving on an orderly pace.

Not the idiot in a white Myvi at the back of my lane – she saw the small gap between the 2 lanes and suddenly pulled out to overtake the rest. She did not got far as the two lanes was quiet close to each other and there was no room to cut in further but by her idiotic act (she only managed to overtake 2 cars) she managed to slowed the 2 lanes down and for a moment, there was standstill (with domino effect to the traffic jam at the back).

Other drivers took a long look at this driver – we did not know what she intended to achieve with the queue jumping stunt in that small area. You tell me, how to keep cool when you are facing drivers like this – nothing much achieved but only to irritate others and make the traffic jam even worse. Despite the stares that this idiot was getting from the other drivers, this idiot was only interested in queue jumping again. Upfront she did it again.

I am pretty much lost with the logic – perhaps this driver was hoping to queue jump 1 – 2 drivers all the way, she could hope to jump ahead of the whole insane traffic jam. Ya, if I was that selfish driver, it would make sense. Who cares about others as long as I could get home probably 5 minutes earlier, right? 5 minutes earlier for this selfish idiot but half an hour for the rest who follow the rules? Yes, life is unfair but it does not mean the guilty one should be left to enjoy the fruit of their “crime”.

The good thing was that although the journey home remained challenging but it was not as bad as the situation at the toll plaza. There was less “provocations” at this part of the road.