Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Two aircraft tragedies foster close cooperation, solidarity

Two tragedies involving Malaysia Airlines' aircraft resulted in unprecedented global solidarity in modern aviation history as big and small countries pooled their resources to help Malaysia find the missing flight MH370 and deal with the aftermath of the flight MH17 crash.

The mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 on March 8 had made the search for it the largest mission in aviation history involving 26 countries, including major powers such as China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The shooting down of flight MH17 in Ukraine on July 17 witnessed Malaysia's cooperation with Russia, the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine as well as attracted the attention of the United Nations.

It was encouraging to note that when various parties believed attempts to negotiate with rebels to claim the bodies, the flight MH17 black box and secure safe passage for investigating teams to the crash site was impossible, Malaysia managed to negotiate with separatist leader Alexander Borodai in acquiring everything with no conditions set and at no cost.

In fact, the negotiation between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and the separatist leader was lauded by American Congressman Eni F H Faleomavaega who commended Najib's leadership in negotiating on the matter as reported in the media on Aug 1.

"Prime Minister Najib's personal involvement in the negotiation has set diplomatic standards worldwide. I appreciate that Prime Minister Najib did not delegate the negotiations to his assistants," said Faleomavaega.

The New York Times, in a report dated July 21, titled "Malaysia Premier Brokers Deal to Recover Black Boxes", hailed Malaysia's success while negotiations by the more powerful countries failed.

The newspaper stated: "Malaysia's strategy was more effective if compared to the pressure exerted by the major powers of the world against the rebel groups and the negotiation was an extraordinary process of diplomacy via telephone behind closed doors between Najib and Alexander."

The prime minister had tabled a motion on the unfortunate MH17 tragedy at a special parliament sitting on July 23, strongly condemning the barbaric, inhumane and savage act of those believed to have shot down the aircraft.

Last September, the Dutch Safety Board (DBS) announced the preliminary report of the MH17 tragedy which revealed the aircraft blew up in the air due to structural damage after some "object at high speed" penetrated and there was no evidence of technical or human error which may have caused the crash.

Malaysia is currently a member of an international criminal investigation team probing the MH17 tragedy, and all fragments of the aircraft have been gathered for an investigation that would be led by the Netherlands.

As for flight MH370, which is now 10 months into its disappearance, the search mission is now centred in the Indian Ocean floor at a depth of between 3,000 to over 7,000 metres.

Flight MH370, with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar screens about an hour after departing from the KL International Airport.

The cooperation and assistance extended by the people during these two tragedies, a silver lining as expressed by Najib, triggered greater solidarity among the people, who came together as one to mourn with those who lost their loved ones.

Tuesday 16 December 2014



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