Hornbill Unleashed

March 20, 2014

MAS fails to defend pilots’ reputations

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , , ,


The failure of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to defend its own pilots is disgraceful. The reputations of MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid are being dragged through the mud, but MAS cannot or will not come to their defence. Why?

MAS pilots are professionals and have gone through rigorous selection, training and regular evaluation. The pilots’ political beliefs have no bearing on their professionalism.

So, when Najib Abdul Razak’s administration made Zaharie (left) a scapegoat, and the MAS CEO failed to support his pilots, the confidence of MAS employees, potential investors and airline customers was severely shaken.

There was no evidence against Zaharie. The authorities were grasping at straws. They used recycled theories, gleaned from various sources, to hurl accusations at the pilots.

Despite this, MAS did not issue any statement to contradict the views of the authorities. If the Malaysian government thinks nothing is damaged, then they are even more stupid than is thought capable. Every MAS employee probably believes that MAS refuses to protect loyal staff and is quite prepared to dump them when things get turbulent. MAS have failed the families of Zaharie and Fariq.

Najib’s forte is dabbling in propaganda.  His public relations team have used Zaharie’s political leanings, towards the opposition, to link Anwar Ibrahim with MH370’s disappearance. A photo of Zaharie wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘Democracy is Dead’ printed on it, has gone viral. This is not evidence.

Why is there no focus on the Iranians and their forged passports? Why should we accept, at face value, the assertion that the two Iranians, who entered on their Iranian passports but exited on European Community (EC) passports, have no ulterior motive? If the plane is being kept in storage, the passengers and crew will doubtless, be considered, collateral damage.

The passenger manifest lists 20 communications contractors, who work for a defence company in China. Are they being scrutinised? What about the people who checked-in but failed to board the plane? What explanation is there for the Australian, who left his wedding ring behind in case he did not return? Who else on the list has a background which deserves closer examination?

The silence of the MAS CEO, its senior management, other MAS pilots, the union of flight attendants and other MAS employees shows two things and exposes another. They are afraid to speak-out and are only interested in protecting themselves. The lack of support has inadvertently exposed the iron grip which the authorities have on MAS’ senior management. Staff morale and productivity will be affected.

MAS’ safety record is enviable. Its pilots are some of the best qualified and its cabin crews are the recipients of many awards. Why should the presence of a flight simulator at Zaharie’s house be evidence that he is capable of hijacking an aeroplane? Does that mean that serious computer geeks will break into the defence systems of a nation and threaten the nation’s security?

A substantial number of people in the airline industry have a flight simulator at home but that does not mean they are potential hijackers. MAS and the authorities have forgotten that flight simulators are built or acquired because the people are passionate about their hobbies.

No proper coordination

Najib’s administration uses old news and regurgitated facts to spin storylines to discredit Anwar and his coalition. The press conferences with Najib are a farce, in which questions may not be asked. There is no official spokesperson, no proper crisis management team, no proper coordination and the PM has been relegated to the role of spokesman. Najib reads from a prepared script.

The military has shown its incompetence. When MH370 disengaged itself from radar control and another plane popped up in Malaysian air space, why did the air force not scramble a plane to find out the identity of the possible intruder? Did an air force plane take off and shoot down MH370? Is that the secret that Najib is hiding from the world?

Any new information trickles through and takes hours to materialise. We would like to believe that the delay is because staff have to sift the information, and eliminate red herrings. One would expect the information to be newsworthy but we have noticed many retractions and contradictory statements. Najib’s men often fail to quote the source, verify the facts or check the veracity of the information.

Is it any wonder that people suspect that Najib’s administration is withholding something? People have begun to disbelieve him. He is not seen as an authoritative figure but like his ministers, is seen as a bumbling amateur. Foreign governments have accused Najib of obfuscation. We are not shocked. This is the modus operandi of Umno Baru which has been 57 years in the making.

Foreign governments and institutions like Interpol have said that Malaysia has refused to share information. In times of crisis, and when 239 lives are at risk, some conditions should be waived. Does Najib not realise that the loss of MH370 is a humanitarian crisis? Don’t the families of MH370 deserve better?

Najib and his men have been accused of withholding vital information, thus prompting governments of neighbouring countries to suspend the search and rescue missions. The irony is that the disappearance of MH370 may precipitate the fall from power of Najib and his administration.



  1. Thank you Mariam. MAS staff certainly deserve better. Questioning their integrity during a crisis is completely disingenious and plain lowdown. And saying Anwar did it will not have traction. What is the point of saying there were five runways in the Indian Ocean in Capt. Zaharie’s simulator? My grandson has loaded dozens of airports in my tablet, and his parents’ tablets. There must also be US airports in Capt. Zaharie’s simulator. We go hunting for MH370 in the Mohave Desert in California? Near the Edwards AFB which hangars are big enough to hide any 777? The plane could have refueled in mid-air; a pilot who builds his own simulator could easily have jury-rigged a refuelling nozzle! And why tell us and the families of missing passengers that some files were deleted on March 3? Next thing we will be told is that for some inexplicable reason, almost as if Capt. Zaharie knew it would be a long trip, he bungkus a Double Whopper cheeseburger and even remembered to hold the onions? Do the families now feel better? Do they run up to MAS caregivers to hug them? Is there a two-page bleed ad in China thanking Najib or Hisham for this ground-breaking revelation? Failure to take care of the reputation of professional staff is one thing. But failure to take care of the real concerns of the grieving families is completely inexcusable.

    And thank you for the conjecture that RMAF scrambled some jets to meet the big unidentified plane on an unplanned path at 0110hrs, and failing to get response from the plane, shot it down. I have said in many places that no aircraft can disappear from radar. Why? Because a plane does not have to do anything to appear on radar, and therefore there is nothing it can do to disappear either, unless it is out of range, it dives to ground level or it blows up. Its transponder data can disappear, but its blip on the radar screen would continue to be on every radar, updated every scan of the antenna as a new blip on every screen, even in cockpits of nearby planes. Therefore from 0110hrs radar operators would notice a succession of dots moving west over Kota Baru and over the peninsula. No such thing as “It may have turned back.” Whether it turned back or did not is a deterministic value. En route and some terminal radars certainly displayed this wayward plane, which some would recognize as MH370 because of its transponder ID moments before. And it was flying west. Why ask 24 nations to search the South China Sea for seven days? Instead of searching the Indian Ocean now we might as well look at Gunung Tahan.


    Comment by Pohchee Kay — March 21, 2014 @ 2:13 PM | Reply

  2. keke mariam,

    wanna buy a RM1.00 chicken with free kangkung?

    Comment by abb — March 21, 2014 @ 12:14 AM | Reply

  3. Malays senior managers alligned to Umno Baru had always been arrogant if not corrupted to the core. If Mahathir’s perverse logic that making a handful of Malaysians super rich will result in more revenue collected in the form of tax, then why not make few millions Malaysians super rich instead of just his children and few hundred cronies super rich?

    Comment by Awaken Dayak — March 20, 2014 @ 8:14 PM | Reply


    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — March 20, 2014 @ 12:59 PM | Reply

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