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While questions remained unanswered, spare a thought for those on board MH370

Haresh Says, as published in The Malay Mail today

1“I DON’T know what to say, what to think. I feel so lost, so blank. I’m just so tired. Goodnight, daddy. Sigh.. * hugs *”

The heartbreaking tweet was by Maira Elizabeth Nari, the daughter of Flight MH370 chief steward Andrew Nari on Monday night.
It was posted some three hours after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s brief press conference confirming MH370, which went missing on March 8, “ended its journey” in the Indian Ocean.

Najib said this after obtaining confirmation from Inmarsat as the British company had used the Doppler effect — the change in frequency due to the movement of a satellite in its orbit — to determine the location of the Boeing 777 that had 239 people on board.

The Australia Defence Minister David Johnston stressed while the information by Inmarsat was all the authorities had at the moment, he said the episode was “a mystery” and until authorities recover and positively identify a piece of debris, “everything is virtually speculation”.

Many continue to ponder.

What actually happened on the plane? How did the Beijing-bound aircraft end up in the Indian Ocean? Was it hijacked, a case of sabotage or a mechanical error?

While the authorities of various nations and agencies continue their quest to find the black box and more from the plane, many theories have already been spewing from the major dailies to the local coffee shops.

Some have even gone to the extent of politicising the issue. A question was posed to why Najib addressed the press at the Putra World Trade Centre instead of Parliament which was still in session then. Days earlier, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was asked if he was “protected” by his cousin Najib.

While the mystery that surrounds this episode could be better answered by obtaining the black box, it has, without doubt, marked a black spot in our aviation history. The saga has also taken a toll on the national airliner which was earlier riddled with financial woes.

Family members in Beijing blamed the government and the airlines. They marched to the Malaysian embassy in the republic’s capital yesterday, demanding for answers.

Efforts were made to pacify the rising tension but emotions were simply overwhelming. It has been a trying time for family members of the 239 passengers. After 17 days of uncertainty, they have been told their loved ones may no longer be around.

The words used by the authorities were engineered to cushion the impact, to protect the feelings of the next-of-kin. Sadly, some were naïve enough to joke about the incident as unwarranted comments drew flak on social media.

It has not been an easy task for those involved. It is an unprecedented crisis that has taught us all valuable lessons along the way.

From immigration woes that were highlighted at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, questionable security practices in monitoring our air space to working closely with 25 different nations in search and rescue efforts.

No one would be able to answer the very many questions that continue to linger at the back of our minds until and unless the experts obtain information from the plane. Not many would understand the frustration and agony of those involved in the whole episode.

But some of us, including myself, who lost our dads or loved ones, are able to relate.

We must find the answers to all questions raised, without doubt. Till then, let’s leave our theories aside and feel for the next-of-kin.

They need us now more than ever.

HARESH is editor (investigations and special projects) of the Malay Mail. He can be reached at
haresh@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @HareshDeol


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