The ‘MH’ code of Malaysia Airlines also stands for Malaysian Hospitality — or so an unlikely “moralist” (more about him later) reminds us although some China citizens, i.e. the kinfolk of the MH370 victims, may not be inclined to agree.
But the heated public debates are not about the “exemplary work” done by the MAS cabin crew or how undeserved MAS is of the twin tragedies. Or even about apportioning blame as if MAS were a rape victim unfairly faulted for being skimpily clad — the misplaced “rape” analogy provided by Jahabar Sadiq, The Malaysian Insider editor.
My objection to the objectors (Jahabar the Moral Censor refers here) of open debate is based on respecting the spirit of inquiry.
There is no way that MAS can insulate itself from hard questions, especially not when MH17 is the second major disaster to befall its fleet this year.
And no matter how vocally and forcefully a few local defenders try to stifle the raising of probing questions – either due to their defensive sense of patriotism or rallying behind national unity or shielding the affected families – the Malaysian public and the international media nonetheless will still clamour for answers.
You can expect the various international media to continue grilling Malaysia.
Negative reports are not precluded regardless of how much Malaysia dislikes these. We, or rather Hisham, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (DCA boss) and Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (MAS chief), have already had a taste of their determined hostility not too long ago during the first round.
It is a katak dalam tempurung attitude to beg the international media to spare us, or hoping for them to desist from publishing hard-hitting write-ups just because these articles make Malaysians uncomfortable. Putrajaya may be able to control the local press but it will not be able to curb the news wires and foreign agencies.
TIME, the internationally renowned magazine for instance, labels MAS “the World’s Unluckiest Airline” (see page scan below) and wonders aloud if the company can manage to survive for much longer.
Golly, such a dire financial outlook on our national flag carrier.
Yet only recently on July 19, Jahabar editorialized in his portal how it “speaks so much for Malaysia Airlines that MH17 was packed and some had to take another flight to Malaysia and thus saved from the tragedy”.
If MAS was doing so well and its seats packed as Jahabar declares, then would he care to explain why the airline was in “the red for three years in a row, leading to a loss of about RM4.2 billion over that period” (CNN Money, 21 July 2014).
It seems that Jahabar – for reasons best known to his infamous spindoctoring news outlet or their parent company The Edge – is promoting the cultism of Verboten, i.e. nobody permitted to say anything sensitive or negative about MAS at this juncture.
Malaysia must emulate Singapore
Shhhh … there’s an elephant in the room but you’re not allowed to admit that you see it.
Speaking of elephants, Malaysians have now confirmed the long-held suspicions of their herd mentality. They justify that MAS was flying that particular Ukrainian Level 330 corridor because “SIA did the same what”.
If kiasu Singapore can fly the Donetsk route 75 times last week, what’s wrong with Malaysia flying it 48 times, they counter?
Well, in future we shall all employ the same justification, okay: Singapore does it – this and that – and thus it’s perfectly fine if Malaysia (under Pakatan rule next time) copycats our tiny neighbour, say for example, in banning the hijab from government offices.
Our new motto: SIA fly through Ukraine, MAS can too. Singapore do whatever kiasu thing, Malaysia ought follow.
Bang, bang the banks which are bearers of bad news
A few days ago, CIMB analyst Raymond Yap was quoted by the Australian Financial Review as saying that “the best way forward for MAS is bankruptcy”.
He is echoed by Maybank analyst Mohshin Aziz who said MAS is losing RM5 million ringgit a day and could run out of cash in about a year, reported in Voice of America.
There is already such “pain in our hearts” (phrase in quote marks borrowed from the aforementioned TMI editorial) and to paraphrase Jahabar, we should not add more negativity to further deepen that pain in our hearts by bringing up MAS’s imminent bankruptcy and other unhappy elements.
Hence Mohshin the Maybank analyst should not have said that MAS would probably end up bankrupt if no urgent action was taken.
Maybank is the bearer of bad tidings about MAS. We Malaysians do not like nor want to hear bad news … we will shoot the messenger.
What, me worry? Flying safe in Syrian skies
With the Ukraine-Donetsk airway becoming deadly last week, MAS decided to switch its flight plan on Sunday to overflying Syria instead.
I heard they are having a civil war in that country too. But unlike the Russians/Ukrainians, those Syrians fighting each other down below at ground level probably don’t have sophisticated weapons that can reach up to 33,000 feet. So not to fret, I’m sure it’s perfectly safe onboard.
And there’s no need to be a scaremonger either by calling Syria a warzone. After all, at high altitudes air travellers are out of reach of missiles as we’ve been informed earlier.
BELOW: Graphics by Flight Radar
In flying over Syria, surely MAS “the World’s Unluckiest Airline” would not be so unfortunate as to encounter some unforeseen engine problem or whatnot that might necessitate the aircraft to cruise lower or make an emergency landing.
Now what are the chances of a MAS plane getting into trouble and suddenly needing to land? In Syria. Where they’re bombing each other to bits.
Why, the chances are as miniscule as lightning striking twice or an airline losing two Boeings in a matter of four months — a one-in-a-million chance. The scenario is highly improbable unless you subscribe to the saying “bad things happen in threes”, that is.
Don’t be afraid, not passengers’ fault if missiles fired
Someone said MAS was just having plain bad luck: “They were the wrong airline in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Commented TMI reader ‘801008’ to the contrary: “A hundred people taking the same risk does not make it any lesser of a risk and does not automatically mean that one of those hundred people (in this case, MAS) is not taking any risk”.
Okay, if someone were to sponsor a free plane ticket for air travel over the identical route taken by MAS that fateful day, would you care for the offer?
What’s there to be afraid of? After all, as Jahabar assures us, passengers have “nothing to do with the conflict raging 10,000m below them” and furthermore, nobody has any business aiming a missile at any plane in the sky, according to him.
Browbeating and bludgeoning people who ask questions
TMI‘s Jahabar took it upon himself to censure the “several journalists in international magazines and business websites [who] are asking that question”, to wit, “Would any airline try to save fuel and fly over a conflict area?”
A TMI reader contributed the following rejoinder:
“They are asking questions because answers are needed. These are more useful to the families than all the hopes and prayers on Facebook and Twitter combined” [emphasis mine].
The same commenter added: “When an accident happens, there must be an investigation, an inquiry. And you can’t have an inquiry without asking questions. Yes, even uncomfortable questions that cause ‘pain in your heart’.”
It is very rich for TMI – the notorious portal that once had to apologize four times (including to Tun M) within the span of a single week for its deliberate misrepresentation and malicious reporting – to be whacking everyone left, right and centre for what Jahabar terms “this sick divisiveness in Malaysia”.
TMI is the pro-Christian portal that has been stirring a lot of shit, for example its false report on a [non-existent] fatwa against saying RIP for Karpal Singh.
TMI’s Jahabar is the last person to talk about trying to “heal this divisiveness” when his insidious portal has been the very one causing and aggravating our religious cleavages in the first place.