Sunday, April 13, 2014

DAP: Hishammuddin must lay CIA conspiracy theory on MH370 to rest

(from left) Lim Lip Eng, Lim Kit Siang and Wong Sze Phin at a press conference at the DAP headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, April 11, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein must either confirm or deny a report by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia alleging a US intelligence agency was behind the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the DAP demanded today.
In an opinion piece last Sunday, the Malay broadsheet’s assistant news editor Ku Seman Ku Hussein aired a belief among conspiracy theorists that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was to blame for the missing jetliner, fuelling debate on the Umno-led federal government’s role in the aviation industry’s biggest mystery to date.
“He was implying that the CIA might have a hand in MH370,” Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said, referring to Ku Seman.
“But until now the Malaysian government, the authorities, especially Hishammuddin, have said nothing. So I want Hishammuddin to respond to this assertion by Utusan,” he told reporters at the DAP headquarters here.
The opposition party’s parliamentary leader, Lim Kit Siang, acknowledged that such conspiracy theories surrounding MH370 had been floating around the Internet for the past month since the Beijing-bound plane vanished on March 8.
But the Gelang Patah MP said the claim had gained prominence for being published in a national newspaper controlled by the Barisan Nasional government’s main party.
“I think it’s a certain reflection of a governmental position on it and I think this and many other conspiracy theories must be dealt with,” said Kit Siang, who was present at the same news conference.
“A parliamentary select committee on MH370 will be a proper body to go through all the conspiracy theories that surfaced and to investigate them,” he said, adding that it would give closure to families of the 239 passengers and cabin crew.
According to the article by Ku Seman, it was time “to think outside the box” on the mystery surrounding the plane as the incident could be a ploy to tarnish the good relations between Malaysia and China.
“If the CIA could arrange for the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, it is not improbable to link MH370 with the intelligence agency,” Ku Seman wrote, referring to speculation on the involvement of American intelligence in the 9/11 attacks.
 “What if the MH370 tragedy had been arranged by certain parties to put Malaysia’s relationship with China in jeopardy?” Ku Seman asked.
Flight MH370 flew off civilian radars in the early hours of March 8, less than an hour after its departure from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and remains missing despite a multi-nation hunt.
Searchers trawling the southern Indian Ocean, where satellite data placed as MH370’s final location, have picked up faint “pings” from underwater that are consistent with signals emitted by a plane’s flight recorder.
Related news: Brief Pakatan lawmakers and set up parliamentary panel on MH370, Kit Siang tells Putrajaya
Kit Siang doubts CNN’s report and Hishammuddin’s denial

No penalty for deputy minister’s U-turn

The Dewan Rakyat Speaker decides not to refer Abdul Rahim Bakri to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today ruled that Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri did not confuse the House with his conflicting statements relating to MH370.
The Kudat MP escaped being referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee on the ground that he had no intention to mislead.
Pandikar Amin said: “To determine whether a statement uttered in the Dewan is misleading, the following principles can be used as guidance: is the statement misleading; when making the statement, was the deputy minister aware it was false and inaccurate; when making the statement, did the deputy minister intend to mislead the House.
“Based on those principles and the deputy minister’s explanation in his letter to me, I have decided that there was no intent to mislead the House when the statement was made.”
On March 26, Abdul Rahim gave an explanation to Parliament of the air force’s failure to probe an extraordinary blip that appeared on its radar some time in the wee hours of March 8. He said it was thought that the aircraft was not hostile and had received a directive from air traffic control in Subang to turn back.
But the next day, he released a brief statement saying his remarks represented his own assumptions and were not accurate.
Abdul Rahim’s statements prompted Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng of DAP to move a motion to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
Upon hearing Pandikar’s decision, Lim argued that stern action should be taken to prevent Cabinet members from making statements in the Dewan that conflicted with statements they made outside.
“Which is true? He said in the Dewan that it was the air force’s assumption. Outside the Dewan he said it was his own assumption,” Lim said.
“If we don’t take serious action against him, all ministers and deputy ministers will say one thing inside the Dewan and another thing outside the Dewan. I am not satisfied and hope that the Speaker will reconsider this.”
Pandikar replied: “According to him, what he mentioned in the Dewan was his own assumption, and this was made clear in the statement he made outside.
“After taking all into consideration, I do not see that he had any ill intent.”
Flight MH370 went missing during a routine flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing, carrying 239 passengers and crew.
It has been established that the jetliner deviated from its original flight path.
Many commentators have said a telephone call from the military to air traffic control could have averted the crisis.
'Rahim didn't confuse House with assumption'

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Plaza Menjalara residents worried about dengue menace

KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of Plaza Menjalara in Bandar Menjalara want the authorities to take proactive measures to prevent their area from turning into a dengue hotspot.
The residents are worried that parts of their neighbourhood have become breeding grounds for the aedes mosquito.
Resident Ong Wie Kiat claims that two neighbouring areas in Medan Putra and Taman Bukit Maluri had become dengue hotspots.
"We heard that those areas are affected by aedes mosquitoes and we don't want our area to be affected as well," he said.
Ong who is a Plaza Menjalara committee member said the management would write to City Hall on the issue.
"We expect to send the letter to City Hall next week. We hope City Hall's health department will come and check the area," he said.
Another resident, Patrick Ho, is worried that water tanks on several buildings in the area could be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
"The water tanks are not covered and exposed to rain. We believe aedes mosquitoes could be breeding there," he said.
"In the evening, there seems to be more mosquitoes in the area. It really bothers us when we go out for dinner," he said.
Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng said City Hall should send a notice to the owners of the buildings to clear their water tanks.
"City Hall should check to ensure that the area is clean and there are no breeding grounds for the aedes mosquito," he said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

'Police force only agency without anti-graft officer'

DAP parliamentarians have urged Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, to clarify if the decision not to post anti-graft officers in the police force is due to resistance.
Low had issued a written parliamentary reply stating that Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers are posted in various agencies "except the police force as it has its own Integrity Department".
"Is the police force so powerful? Is it because no one can touch the police but the police themselves?" Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
Ipoh Timor MP Thomas Su said that leaving such matters to the in-house Integrity Department has been proven to be a wrong decision.
He said this is because Transparency International's (TI)Corruption Perception Index 2013 showed that respondents perceive the police force to be the most corrupt state agency.
Low, a former TI-Malaysia president, had said that - as at March 6 - 20 MACC personnel had been posted to the Customs, Prison and Immigration departments to curb graft.
He said this is part of the government's civil service transformation plan.
The government has also set up integrity units in all state agencies with effect from last August, he added, without elaborating on the functions of the unit.
Related news: DAP lawmakers question absence of anti-graft officers in police force

Monday, March 31, 2014

DAP MP wants deputy minister face rights committee over ‘confusing’ MH370 statements

A DAP MP today said Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri should be referred to the Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee for his "confusing" statements on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last week.
Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) was referring to statement last Wednesday by Abdul Rahim that the military did not respond when it saw an unidentified flight on its military radar as they had assumed that the air traffic control in Subang had ordered the plane to do a turn back.
A day later, he issued a terse two paragraph statement admitting that he had  assumed that the air traffic control asked the lost flight to turn back, adding his assumption was not accurate.
The reply was among many contradictory statements by Malaysian officials over the Boeing 777, which went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board, triggering the largest ever search involving 26 nations and their armed forces.
"I want to know which version is correct? The House should refer him to the Rights and Privileges committee as we do not want a repeat of such incidents in the future," Lim said today, adding that Abdul Rahim's remarks on Wednesday is available in the Hansard.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee said it would require time to look through Hansard before requesting Abdul Rahim to appear before Parliament to explain his differing statements.
"Let him make an explanation in the House," he said.
It was reported that Malaysian military radars spotted a non-hostile aircraft flying right across the country's air space in the early hours of March 8. The aircraft was later confirmed to be the missing MAS flight MH370.
Contact with the Beijing-bound flight MH370, which took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.40am on March 8, was lost at 1.40am, shortly after it left Malaysian air space over the South China Sea.
Last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the plane had ended in the southern Indian Ocean, with MAS saying there could be no survivors.
Investigators are now trying to ascertain what brought MH370 to a remote area in the southern Indian Ocean, where search operation is currently focused. They are also probing whether the plane was deliberately crashed or flew on autopilot. – March 31, 2014.
Pakatan wants 'turn back' dep minister to face music