United by grief and anguish

By Raub MP Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz

I see a touching message purportedly from Sweden going viral on smartphones. The short heart-touching message laments the criticisms heaped on the handling of the missing MH370. That short message quickly gained adherence and adoption by the emotionally overwhelmed.

The author of the message misses the point; the issue here isn’t the need to unite behind the government. We ought to be more united in our grief and concern. Those critical of the government’s handling of the crisis isn’t deficient in their concern for the missing 239 people on board. They are no less anguished and traumatised than those who don’t speak ill of the government’s handling of the situation. Except they have chosen to be vocal about it because they empathised with the anguish and frustrations felt by the families of those missing.

One section of our community chose to be vocal about it. We don’t question the conduct of those who chose to keep a silent vigil for the plane. It’s a question of difference in expressing our anguish. For the Swedish person- please do not take the high moral position to infer those critical of the way the government manages the crisis, are less fervent in their payers and desire to hope the 239 people on board are safe.

We have different ways to express our unity behind the government in this particular instance. And being critical of the government’s handling does not reduce our affections for the missing persons.

Criticisms are directed at the inept way of handling the situation. As to the SAR actual operations, the RCC must be doing or ought to be doing a fantastic job assigning the assets from all over the world to carry operations in their respective spheres of responsibility.

Until this crisis comes to a closure we can only ask why and state the ifs. Why not this? If that has been done, if this was done. For example, what if our military has reacted fast. The plane left at 12.40 am. It was reported missing on radar 2 hours later. The report was revised saying the plane went off radar at 1 something. After the plane was found missing after 1-2 hours, what were the steps taken?

The air force general stated their radar detected a possible turn back. Which radar captured the turn back? The commercial radar at Pengkalan Chepa or the Aerial Surveillance Radar set up by one Zetro Aerospace Corporation. That radar cost us RM72 million and it can’t track the turn back? Was that radar capable of continuous tracking or it lost the plane as quickly as it catered it on its system? Was the radar functional at all?

Then there is the issue of a possible security lax on the TUDM and in particular the air force general. At the time whatever radar captured an intrusion into our space by an unidentified plane, why did TUDM not do anything. Where were our 18 Sukhois, our MIG and all that.

I read a report from the Indian Military saying that, typically if an unidentified plane intrudes into Indian airspace, the response would be an immediate scramble of its fighter jets to intercept. That is how we confirm whether the object is hostile or not- not by waiting for people in the flying object to say- hello general, we are evil people with evil intentions.

Now in Malaysia’s case, the intrusion was taken lightly or in the worst case of possibilities, our fighter jets were not on standby 24/7. That would have important ramifications on our nation’s security.

Now, those concerns are less appreciated by the Swedish author of the sms.

*The article first appeared on Raub MP Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz’s blog at sakmongkol.blogspot.com

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