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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jakarta Globe: Jokowi presiden baru Indonesia

Don't use MH17 crash for 'political ends', says Putin

Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way

Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians privileged to have died this way

"These people [Gaza civilians killed in war]

- their time had come, and they were martyred.

They have gained [Paradise]... 

Don't be disturbed by these images...
He who is Martyred doesn't feel...

His soul has ascended to Allah."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Hamas is trying to both justify and console Gaza's population over the many civilian deaths it has caused in the Gaza war. While broadcasting gruesome pictures of dead civilians, including children, a TV host explained that since in Islam a person's time of death is predetermined by Allah, the people who have been killed in the recent fighting have actually "gained": They would have died now anyway, but now they will receive the rewards of Martyrdom - Shahada - in Paradise.  

Click to view

Warning: Graphic Images


Palestinian Media Watch has documented Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, which has led to a high civilian death toll. Hamas has instructed Gaza civilians to disregard Israel's warnings to evacuate areas before they were bombed, and has decried those who have criticized the high civilian death toll.

The glorification of Martyrdom both justifies the Hamas activities that led to these deaths and also may console the population. In addition, this message may persuade civilians to continue endangering their lives by protecting Hamas terrorists and their terror infrastructure with their bodies.

Recenly, PMW reported on a sermon by the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who likewise glorified Martyrdom death as something to which Palestinians should aspire.

The following are the words of the Hamas TV host, referring to the civilians who died in the Gaza war as "having gained," followed by the words of the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, who explains the ideology of Martyrdom in Islam.    


Hamas TV: Dead Gaza civilians gained Paradise: "The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs"

Hamas TV host: "Every soul has its time. These people - their time had come, and they were Martyred (i.e., Gaza civilians killed in war). They have gained [Paradise]. They have nothing in this world, especially in the Gaza Strip. There's no life in the Gaza Strip. What life can we have in the Gaza Strip? Being with Allah is better. Being with Allah is better. What we see is very hard but we won't surrender, Allah willing. The first to say it are the Martyrs' family. The first to say it are the Martyrs' mothers and fathers... Don't be disturbed by these images. He who was killed this way doesn't feel. By Allah, he does not feel. These are not my words, but the words of our beloved Prophet [Muhammad]: He who is Martyred doesn't feel. Only we suffer by these images. By Allah, [the Martyr] doesn't feel. His soul has ascended to Allah. His soul is with the Lord. His soul is inside a green bird. He is with Allah now. He is in Paradise. Only we suffer by these images... In other cities, in other countries, thousands die in earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, in ferry or shipwrecks, in natural or unnatural disasters. Thousands die. Thousands die but we don't know what their fate is with Allah. But we [in Gaza] are Martyrs. The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs."

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: 
 "After prophecy and righteousness there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada (Martyrdom)... ''And think not of those who have been killed in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord.' 

Allah forbade us to consider them [the Shahids (Martyrs)] as dead or to speak of them as being dead... They went smiling to their deaths... The Shahid has merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... No one - not even the righteous - yearns to return to this world after death. Only Shahids. Why? Because they see the great honor Allah has prepared for them. One of them aspired to return to this world in order to be killed again, in order to die as a Shahid yet again... Allah spoke with one of them (a Shahid), Jabir ibn Abdullah... After all he saw in Paradise, he wanted to return and be killed [again] in order to taste the pain of death a second time. Abdullah said to Him:

'Lord, then tell those who follow us about what we have found.'

Allah Himself is conveying to us the message from the Shahids. The prophets convey Allah's message and Allah conveys the message of the Shahids. What kindness!

'The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound...

The Shahid advocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell. The Shahid lives together with the prophets and the righteous ones.'

When they threatened Yasser Arafat, [he said] 'You threaten me with death?

I yearn to die! I come only to it; I seek only it.'

We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won't. So let us reach the level of the Shahids. I say to you, brothers, as the Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'He who honestly seeks Shahada, Allah will give him the status of the Shahids, even if he dies in his bed.'" 

[Official PA TV, Nov. 8, 2013]  

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "We know for certain that as long as we [adhere] to the truth, we will face challenges and be made a target - as individuals and as groups - we know this for certain. Nonetheless, we are also confident in the words of Allah: 'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International). What do you expect, enemies, cowards (indistinct word), what do they expect will happen to us? 'One of the two best things.' 

Brothers, Allah willing, only one of the two best things will happen to us - victory or Martyrdom (Shahada) - and what a good fate this is, what a good level is this - victory or Martyrdom...

'Say, 'Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting' (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International).

Await, wait a short while, I swear the signs heralding victory are seen on the horizon. I swear in a God, beside whom there is no other God, that the end of the tyranny and the tyrants is near. This occupation and its growths and creations that wish to spread corruption in our land... We tell them all, the occupation and the occupation's instruments and any who serve the occupation: 'Await for us except one of the two best things' - we, Allah willing, [will be] either Martyrs or victors on our land. [...]

Pay attention, it is Allah who says: 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' (Quran, Sura 3:111, translation Sahih International) - it is possible that they will harm you. I say to you, it is possible that they will kill us, it is possible that Allah will sentence us to Martyrdom. It is possible that we will be wounded, it is possible that terrorism will be laid on us - 'They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance' - but in the end, 'and if they fight you, they will show you their backs' and the conclusion - 'then they will not be aided' (Quran, Sura, 3:111, translation, Sahih International). We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land."

More than 100 rescued from private jail

HAFIZABAD: Law enforcement agencies on Sunday night swooped down a private jail of some influential landlords and freed more than 100 people trapped as bonded labour for many years.

According to officials, a heavy contingent of police raided a brick kiln in the suburban area of Hafizabad on the instruction of the CCPO Gujranwala. The raid was based on the information provided by a 16-year-old boy, Irfan, who had escaped from the private jail four years back.

The police also arrested three persons – Saifullah, Mushtaq Ahmed and Muhammad Asif – who are allegedly responsible for keeping these people in subhuman conditions.

The freed people, including men, women and children, later revealed that they had to work on the kiln and on fields of the accused and they were neither properly paid nor provided sufficient food. They said their captors had killed six people who had attempted to escape from their clutches. They revealed that some of the prisoners were also subjected to brutal torture, which crippled them. They said the blame for this torture was usually put on other prisoners and the culprits managed to escape punishment with the connivance of police.

They alleged that the landlords also raped their women. The boy, Irfan, also corroborated the account and said that his own father and two uncles had been tortured to death by the accused.

Taking notice, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sought a report on the incident. He has ordered that a case against the persons operating the private jail be registered.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.

'Balik tongsan' not insult, claims Umno man

Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii today denied that his "balik tongsan" jibe directed at the wife of a DAP parliamentarian was meant as an insult.

He said that the remark was merely a response to Yuki Tan, the wife of Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik (left), because she had earlier criticised Malaysia.

Mohd Razlan told Malaysiakini that he did not know if the word "Tongsan" means anything significant.

"Does the term even exist?" he asked.

"Firstly, I feel the term is just a normal word. Like Chinese are fighting and one person asks the other to go back to the village (balik kampung)," he said.

"’Balik tongsan’ means leave the country. She needs to respect the country and the law of the country where she stays," he said when contacted.

DAP's Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming today demanded that disciplinary action be taken against Razlan (below in songkok) for making that remark in a tweet directed to Tan.

His tweet was in response to Tan's status on the networking site, where she wrote "Malaysia is a scary country, what useless country is this?" following the MH17 tragedy which claimed 298 lives.

Tan has since deleted her post and apologised after it triggered widespread criticism in the social media.

"If this is an useless country, why still stay here? The Chinese who are really from Malaysia who not feel offended, except if they are still 50-50," he further said.

He also criticised Ong for asking for disciplinary action against him.

"Ong Kian Ming knows what I meant but it's normal. What action? Maybe he wants to form a disciplinary body by himself to punish me," he said.

"He intends to implicate me. His politics is different, mine is different," he added.

It's official: PKR endorses Azizah as new MB

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has been proposed as the next Selangor menteri besar.

This was announced by her husband and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim at a press conference held after midnight.

Anwar made the announcement after chairing a PKR supreme council meeting.

PKR will bring the matter for Pakatan Rakyat endorsement at the coalition's leadership council meeting on Wednesday.

Should the Pakatan leadership agree to this, Wan Azizah, who is also the Kajang assemblyperson, would replace Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Anwar (right) said PAS and DAP had previously agreed with a change of leadership in Selangor but Khalid's successor had not been chosen.

"PAS agrees to a change in leadership in Selangor but the (MB) candidate was not decided, despite the fact that we had discussed it at the Pakatan secretariat meeting before.

"The candidate was never discussed in the leadership council meetings, even though there is a consensus for a smooth and orderly transition of power," he said at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

He also said that the change will take place "as soon as possible"

Speculation has been rife for months that Khalid's head is on the chopping block. The second-term MB has served for six years.

Khalid will still have a role

According to Anwar, the party believes Wan Azizah will be able to restore stability in Selangor and regain ebbing support for Pakatan in its crown jewel state.

He said that Wan Azizah, would be able to solve outstanding issues like the water restructuring exercise, the Kinrara-Damasara Expressway and other basic infrastructure issues like garbage collection.

"Our consensus is to go by our earlier decision and to only put forth one name to the Pakatan leadership council.

"Of course, Khalid will still have a role in assisting in the state's administration," he said.

He said that discussions with Khalid (above) over his future role is ongoing.

He also denies reports that PKR will appoint several of its leaders to flank Wan Azizah in state administration.

"There is no discussion for any appointments," he stressed.

Malaysiakini earlier reported that it is believed that Wan Azizah will be assisted by PKR's Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul and party secretary-general Saifudin Nasution Ismail

Rescuers find 251 bodies at crash site

A second train has arrived to take the remains away.

KIEV: Rescuers found 251 bodies and 86 fragments of bodies by late Sunday at the crash site of a Malaysian airliner and a second train with refrigerator wagons has arrived to take the remains away, an Ukrainian government committee said.

In a statement, the committee investigating the disaster said the first train where the remains of almost 200 victims had been placed before starting their journey home was stuck at the station in the town of Torez because “terrorists are blocking its exit”.

A search led by the Ukrainian government has so far found 196 bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service (SES) on Sunday.

The SES said 380 staff were taking part in the search that stretches across 34 sq km of eastern Ukraine.

However, it said that the search was being complicated by separatists at the site who were hindering the work of SES units.

Earlier, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said it had doubts over the number of bodies recovered from the downed MH17 or where they were taken or who moved them.

Sultan refuses to grant audience to Khalid Samad

The Sultan's private secretary said if Khalid Samad's letter had been one requesting forgiveness, the Sultan could have considered it.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Selangor today declined to grant an audience to Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Samad.

Khalid had requested for an audience to explain his statement calling for the abolition of the executive powers of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais).

The Sultan’s private secretary, Mohamad Munir Bani, said the letter the Sultan received last Friday was not one apologising for his actions but one in which he requested to explain his statements.

“There is no reason to give explanations to the Sultan. It is better to explain to the people, as he had announced to the whole world that Mais’ executive powers should be done away with.

“The Sultan wants Khalid to explain to the people just as he had done before. He had used the media. Therefore, he must use the same channel to provide his explanation.

“There is no need to see His Majesty,” he said to the media today.

Munir said had the letter been one requesting forgiveness, the Sultan could have considered it. But since he wanted an audience just to provide explanations, the Sultan had rejected it.

Khalid asked the Selangor state government to abolish Mais’ executive powers, which drew the ire of the Sultan, who considered Khalid as rude.

China’s Response to the MH17 Tragedy? Condemn the West

Despite memories of decades of Cold War frostiness, Beijing is now quite chummy with Moscow

On July 18, shortly after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed over eastern Ukraine, extinguishing 298 lives, China’s Xinhua state news agency cautioned against making snap judgments. The U.S. and other Western nations had begun to finger pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine for shooting down the Boeing 777 passenger plane, but Xinhua dismissed such accusations as “rash” and took the opportunity to swipe at Western democracies for their condemnation of Russia’s earlier military intervention in Ukraine:
The one-sided accusation is not surprising in light of their long-time stance on the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and their attitude towards Russia’s absorption of Crimea in March. But without convincing evidence, jumping to a conclusion will only heighten regional tension and is not conducive to finding out the truth. Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday said it is Ukraine that bears the responsibility as the tragedy occurred over its territory. The tragedy, Putin said, could have been avoided should Ukraine’s eastern regions be in peace.
On July 21, the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, ran a piece still cautioning that “no proof has been found so far to clarify the cause or identify the perpetrator.” Nowhere did the story mention the likelihood that pro-Russian rebels had trained a missile on MH17 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The same day, the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party–linked daily that can be counted on for nationalist commentary, did at least mention such a possibility — if only to decry Western governments’ speculation that Russia may have aided and abetted the rebels’ cause:
The Western rush to judge Russia is not based on evidence or logic. Russia had no motive to bring down MH17; doing so would only narrow its political and moral space to operate in the Ukrainian crisis. The tragedy has no political benefit for Ukrainian rebel forces, either. Russia has been back-footed, forced into a passive stance by Western reaction. It is yet another example of the power of Western opinion as a political tool.
The crisis in Ukraine had already put China in a difficult position. Despite memories of decades of Cold War frostiness, Beijing has boosted its ties with Moscow. The two neighbors share an antipathy toward Western democratic values and a mutual interest in natural resources. The first foreign trip Xi Jinping made as President was to Russia in March 2013. Yet China also proclaims that one of its foreign-policy bedrocks is staying out of other nation’s internal affairs. Russia’s invasion of Crimea — which Xinhua delicately termed an “absorption” — cannot be considered as anything but a gross interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Beijing is struggling with separatist sentiment at home, most notably among Tibetan and Uighur populations in China’s far west. How can Chinese foreign-policy makers support an ethnic rebel movement over a national government, even if those separatists do have Russia’s tacit blessing? China may soon have to reconcile this foreign-policy quandary. “It will bring about a severe challenge to China’s general strategy and diplomacy if America and Europe propose sanctions against Russia and demand China should join with them,” wrote Chinese security analyst Gao Feng in a widely disseminated blog post. “For China, the issue is which side it should choose. Without doubt, an ambiguous stance [by Beijing] will face criticism and moral pressure.” There were no mainland Chinese nationals on MH17. By contrast, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished in March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was filled with Chinese passengers. As the Malaysian investigation into that plane’s disappearance foundered, Chinese authorities allowed MH370 families to stage protests in Beijing — a rarity in a nation allergic to public displays of dissent. This time around, official Chinese sentiment has steered clear of blaming Malaysia for the Ukraine tragedy. Instead, West-bashing has predominated. “The West has successfully put itself in a position to dictate ‘political correctness’ in international discourse,” said the Global Times editorial on MH17 on Monday. “Those unwilling to work with Western interests will often find themselves in a tough position.” Criticism of the West even extended beyond the tragedy of MH17. On July 21, Xinhua publicized a new campaign of “intense ideological education for officials to strengthen their faith in communism and curb corruption.” First on cadres’ to-do lists? Keeping a “firm belief in Marxism to avoid being lost in the clamor for western democracy.” — With reporting by Gu Yongqiang / Beijing


Tragedies are befalling us one after the other. In recent months the gravest ones have involved two Malaysia Airlines flights and the tragic loss of lives. No words can describe the pain and sorrow of those who have lost their loved ones, and our deepest condolences go to those affected by these tragedies.

My friend and part-time neighbour Datuk A. Kadir Jasin blogged recently about bala, meaning a punishment or trial that we must endure to pay for someone else’s misdeeds. Like many other Malays, he asked if our recent misfortune is a sign that we are living under a curse, and that indeed bala has befallen us. Malays are generally superstitious. For example, many believed that Langkawi was laid to waste for seven generations because of the curse of a princess Mahsuri who was wrongfully killed for adultery. Her curse was the bala that befell the people of Langkawi until Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared seven generations later.

Kadir wanted us to take a moment to reflect if we too are facing bala (trial) and pembalasan (punishment), and if this may be caused by some dastardly wrong committed by some people in the country. In other words, retribution and punishment have befallen MAS and other innocent lives because of the sins of others. The ever-attentive fans of the Prime Minister have been quick to condemn Kadir for politicising a national tragedy, implying that he is blaming the PM for everything that has gone wrong in the country. To be fair to Kadir, he did not mention the PM or anyone else. I think he was merely reflecting the way many Malays think when confronted with repeated misfortune.

I remember one religious preacher in a taskirah (religious lecture) in Kota Bharu just last week telling the audience that when there is bala, God’s punishment is swift does not differentiate between the wrongdoer and the innocent. I am certain this lecturer was not thinking of the PM as the cause of the bala either.

I do not subscribe to this idea of bala. Even if there is one, punishment that disregards innocence seems harsh to me. After all, being all-powerful, God could easily manage the punishment better in ways that would not involve the blameless (such as Malaysian Airlines, its passengers and crew). I think punishment can only be just if it is meted to the wrongdoer, but then since God knows everything I could be wrong too. Still, we need not brush off this Malay superstition. Maybe God wishes to inflict pain on Malaysians for our collective failure to defend, uphold and fight for justice, or for failing to do right in matters God wants us to heed.

What could these matters be? Some would argue that we are now experiencing this terrible period because we tolerate the many corrupt practices in the country, or as some have suggested, because MAS serves wine and liquor on board their international flights. Others believe it’s because we are sending Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim to five years’ jail for what is clearly a personal matter, or because we put our funds in Cayman Island accounts.
However, I believe that if there really were a bala, it is more likely because of the way we mistreated the private investigator P. Balasubramaniam. Let me explain.

Bala was forced to leave the country with his family within 24 hours and he remained in exile for more than five years. His whole life was ruined beyond repair, with no friends and no financial support except for what businessman Deepak Jaikishan gave him. Bala’s wife and children suffered in ways I cannot explain here. He died upon his return without any chance to rebuild his life or take care of his family. Even if what he said in his affidavits were absolutely false, was the punishment proportionate to the crime? There must have been other ways to redress the wrongs committed by Bala, unless of course he was telling the truth.

Now look at the way we took care of Deepak. He was given land and interest-free loans from Bank Rakyat in the hundreds of millions. I am sure his life is full of fun and pleasure. Unlike Bala, he has friends in high places and I doubt he was ever alone and heartbroken like Bala. When we as a nation have lost the heart and the conscience to feel for Bala and to redress the wrongs done to him, and yet remain willing to tolerate those who put Deepak on the pedestal, then perhaps this is the reason for the bala and pembalasan.

In times of national mourning it’s not right to poke fun at others, including our leaders. Yet it’s not wrong to reflect on how we conduct ourselves, just in case our wrongs may have resulted in some kind of retribution. The justice that we demand of others (including from the Russians who have been accused of being responsible for the downing MH17) must also emanate from ourselves in our own dealings. The pain that the Russians have inflicted on us and those who lost their lives should be a reminder that we should not do the same, not even to a single individual P. Balasubramaniam , because bala may revisit us.

Double Tragedy Could Spell the End of MAS

Loss of two aircraft and more than 500 people make it seem almost impossible to continue

By Asia Sentinel,

The tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17 with 298 passengers and crew aboard, coupled with the mysterious disappearance of a second Boeing 777-200 into the Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 on March 8, could well doom the airline.

No other airline has ever suffered a double tragedy of this magnitude, especially one that had swum in a river of red ink for years. The airline has a sad history of exploitation by cronies connected to the United Malays National Organization despite a record of excellent service that earned it five stars from Skytrax.

MAS’s current chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his team, have been given credit for reacting well to the disappearance of MH370. They put in place an array of promotions plus a banner on the website pointing out its five star status. The airline attempted to convey a message that its operations were proceeding normally. But passenger traffic had fallen drastically after MH370. Given the double loss, the psychological impact on passengers is likely to cut even deeper into passenger traffic.

Despite the most intensive search in aviation history, not a trace has been found of MH370 – no floating debris, nothing. It is considered the greatest mystery in aviation. The search, now four months along, continues although the focus of where the plane might have disappeared to has changed several times, all to no avail. By contrast, MH17 just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, flying a route flown by scores of other airlines even though a civil war raged on the ground, when it was brought down by missiles apparently fired by Ukrainian separatists allegedly trained by Russian technicians who thought they were shooting at a Ukrainian troop carrier, if intercepted transmissions can be believed.

It also seems certain that the two disasters will attract the attention of the Rottweilers of the US legal profession, no matter how the demise of the two planes came about, generating a flock of lawsuits.

In April, Malayan Banking Bhd. put out a post-MH370 analysis suggesting the airline should be broken up and privatized because its component parts were worth far more than the net asset value – at that time. Since then, with the loss of MH17, its market capitalization has plummeted precipitously. Even before the loss of MH17, according to the analysis, MAS’s shares were trading at the lowest level in 12 years. They have since fallen farther.

According to the analysis, the parent airline itself MAS lost RM1.35 billion on revenues of RM10.859 billion in 2013. At the same time, its components Firefly, its low-cost airline, MAS Engineering and Airport Terminal Services, all wholly owned, Brahim’s Holdings (30 percent owned) which provides bonded warehousing, freight forwarding and transportation services, and KL Aviation Fuel Services (15 percent owned) all made enough money to reduce the losses by nearly RM300 million. Its wholly owned cargo line lost another RM29 million.

Even before the latest disaster, MAS’s financial performance was terrible, losing the equivalent of US$1.6 million a day. It has been deep in the red for at least the past three years. Losses in 2011 were RM2.54 billion, the largest in the airline’s history, because of rising fuel prices and mismanagement that forced it to cut back eight international routes.

It appears MAS would be unable to survive without yet another cash injection from either the Malaysian government or Kazanah Nasional, the government sovereign fund. Since 2002, the airline has gone through two capital raisings and five new chief executive officers. Even with yet another bailout, it appears that inevitably it will eat through vast amounts of money as it struggles to regain its equilibrium and its passenger traffic.

MAS has been required to do national service, flying into low-passenger-volume areas to keep local politicians happy although it did chop back its domestic routes from 113 to 22, But it continues to lag its competitors such as low-cost airlines like AirAsia, controlled by private entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, which eat its lunch on both high-profit domestic and international routes. An attempt to sell the airline to Fernandes last year foundered because of union opposition and a political furor.

The airline has 19,000 employees and efforts to cut staff have run into trouble both from unions and from the political constituency connected to UMNO. As the Maybank report points out, MAS “struggles to trim down its workforce. The management has mobilized some employees from departments with surplus staff to others which are in a deficit. However, there are many limitations on different skill sets and licensing requirements. A ‘golden handshake’ is a plausible consideration, but has not been talked about due to the highly sensitive nature.”

With compensation based on seniority, that limits the company’s ability to either attract or retain talent. Staff benefits are lucrative and among the best in the airline industry, Maybank says. “Whilst it is common to provide perks as a mean to reward and retain talents, it can backfire if it is not structured properly.

Cronies have repeatedly very nearly ruined the business operations. Sources told Asia Sentinel after MH370’s disappearance that contracts for everything from the packets of nuts for passengers to cleaning contracts are vastly inflated and given to UMNO cronies. The catering contract, for instance, was awarded to the brother of former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and LSG Lufthansa for 25 years. It still has more than a decade to run.

Too often, political cronies rather than professionals have been put in charge of running the carrier although Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has earned respect. Despite the bloated employee load, it is considered to have ignored investments in customer service, especially in comparison to Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, considered to be the region’s best carriers.

MAS’s safety record isn’t unblemished, even without the two disasters, although given the record of other carriers in the region, including Garuda Indonesia, China Airlines of Taiwan, Korean International and others, it isn’t that bad. It’s worth noting, for instance, that Silk Air, a budget subsidiary of Singapore International, suffered an apparent pilot suicide in December 1997 when the pilot crashed the plane in southern Sumatra, killing 97 passengers and seven crew members on board. Singapore officials attempted to cover up the reasons for the crash.

Palestinian boy clings to paramedic

By Esther Han

Deaths in the Israel-Palestine conflict

More than four in five of the 8600 deaths since September 2000 have been Palestinians. In the past five years, 95 per cent of deaths have been Palestinians.

A boy with cuts all over his body is using every ounce of his strength to cling on to a rubber-gloved medic trying to lay him on a hospital bed.

What the haunting photograph does not capture are the Palestinian boy’s screams at the paramedic: “I want my father, bring me my father!”

It also fails to show the gaping wound on the left side of his head, the large piece of shrapnel in his neck, and smaller pieces lodged in his chest and abdomen, sustained after being caught in artillery fire from Israel.

The story behind the photograph taken at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital last Thursday – and disseminated across the world – was revealed by a junior doctor Belal Dabour in a piece for the pro-Palestinian masthead The Electronic Intifada.

“At around 3am, about eight or nine casualties arrived at the emergency room all at once. The last to come in were four siblings - two of them little children, both about three years old, with relatively superficial wounds,” he wrote.

“Then came the older of the four siblings, a boy in his early teens. His head and face were covered in blood and he was pressing a rag to his head to staunch the flow. But his focus was on something else: ‘Save my little brother!’ he kept screaming.”

The unnamed boy pictured in the photograph was thrashing about and screaming for his father as the paramedic carried him straight from the emergency unit to intensive care.

“Upon carefully examining the wounds, it appeared that the explosion from the artillery round sent flying small pieces of stone from the walls of his house, and that some of his wounds were caused by these high-velocity projectiles,” Dr Dabour wrote.

The shrapnel in the boy’s neck just missed a major artery, the piece in his chest nearly punctured a lung, and the one in his stomach nearly hit his bowel. But the child was a “lucky” one, Dr Dabour said, because he had seen too many killed.

Just a day earlier, four boys aged between nine and 11 were playing on the beach in Gaza City when Israeli military strikes slaughtered them. They were cousins.

As the Islamic militant group Hamas and Israeli troops prepare to enter day 14 of their latest conflict, the death toll sits at 417 Palestinians and 18 Israelis.

A third of Palestine's dead were children, the United Nations children’s agency declared on Saturday. About 50 boys and 20 girls between three months and 18 years of age had been slain.

“From July 8, until 4am on July 19, at least 73 Palestinian children have been reported killed as a result of air strikes and shelling by Israel aerial, naval and ground forces,” UNICEF's Catherine Weibel said.

Israel accused Hamas of using the Gaza population as a human shield, firing rockets from civilian areas and infrastructure.

Dr Dabour ended his account by saying he did not find out the youngster's name as too many people - "some arrived torn to pieces, some beheaded, some disfigured beyond recognition" - arrived to be saved.

"I do not know whether he was reunited with his father, or even what became of the rest of his family," he wrote. "But there’s one thing that I know for sure, which is that hundreds of children just like him suffered similar or worse injuries, and up to the moment of this writing, nearly 80 children just like him have been killed as Israel’s merciless attack goes on."

Why are they called “Palestinians”? Does it come from the Bible or Islam?

Why are Palestinians called Palestinians? Where did the name Palestine come from? Is it from the Bible, or is it an Islamic or Arab word? The roots of the word Palestine reveals much about the regions polytheistic past.

According to both secular and biblical scholars, the land that is now today called Israel was once called Canaan. Prior to the appearance of the Jewish religion and the bible, Canaan was populated by many different pagan tribes who had lived on the land for generations. It was these pagan tribes who invented the language and writing system today known as Hebrew. At some point in time, these pagan tribes were replaced by biblical Judaism through a series of civilizational conflicts between the new monotheist religion and the original polytheists. Both secular and religious scholars agree that the transformation of the region from Canaan to Israel was not peaceful, though they may disagree on how exactly the transformation took place. What we do know is that the monotheists eventually won and established a theocracy which drove out, killed or enslaved all of the original inhabitants.

One of these original pagan tribes that were invaded and eventually expelled by the monotheists were called the “Philistines”. According to the bible, the Philistines inhabited the cities of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath; some of these names you may recognize from the modern Israel/Palestine conflict. Secular archaeology reveals that the Philistine cities were carefully planned and included industrial zones. Yet all of this was lost to the monotheists after they took the land by force and instituted the laws of the bible which drove out or enslaved the Philistine people.

Because of their bible based aggression and expansionism, the monotheists acquired many enemies in the region, including Egypt, Babylon and Rome. The nation of Israel was attacked and destroyed by pagan Babylon in 605 BC. However, the monotheists were eventually returned to the land they had had taken from the Canaanites after Persia defeated Babylon some 70 years later. The region today know as Israel became part of the Roman Empire 63 BC, when it was annex after the Third Mithridatic War. When the pagan Romans annexed Israel they called it by it’s monotheist name of “Judea”. But after several conflicts with the monotheists, the Romans completely destroyed their holy city of Jerusalem in 70 AD and sent many of the monotheists out into the diaspora. After winning against the biblical monotheists, the Roman renamed the province its pagan name, “Palestine”. Palestine is the Roman word for “Philistine”, one of the original pagan tribes which inhabited the region.

Contrary to popular belief, the word “Palestinian” has nothing to do with Islam or Arabianism. Islam did not even enter the region until almost 600 years after Rome had defeated the monotheists and renamed the region Palestine. Eventually pagan Rome was replaced by the Christian Byzantine Empire. When Muslims invaded the land today known as Israel, it was owned not by Jews but by Christians who had left it’s name as Palestine. The district of Palestine eventually fell to the British. In the 1917, the British signed the Balfour Declaration which gave this region back to the monotheists who had conquered the land first, today known as Jews. The Jews who had not owned the land for more than 2,000 years were given a deed to Palestine because it was believed to be their biblical birthright. However, the land of Palestine which originally belonged to the pagan Philistines was now populated primarily by Muslim Arabs and the British called these people the “Palestinians”. And so now you know why they are called “Palestinians”

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Eight unanswered questions

By Faith Karimi
CNN July 21, 2014

(CNN) — Amid the chaos and the grief, the politics and the finger pointing, we are no closer to answering some key questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The crash, which killed all 298 aboard, has turned a volatile Ukrainian region into a global problem.
Here are eight questions we don’t yet have the answers to.

1. Who shot down the plane?
Only a full investigation can settle that. This much we know: Flight MH17 was shot down using a surface-to-air missile in Ukrainian territory that’s controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
“We have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there, out into Russia, with at least one missing missile on it,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

But Russia has denied any involvement. So have the rebels, who accuse the Ukrainians of downing the plane — without offering proof.

2. Why would anyone target a passenger plane?
If indeed the rebels are behind the attack, they may have mistaken the plane for a Ukrainian military craft. In the past few months, the rebels have used surface-to-air missiles to bring down more than a dozen planes, including two transport aircraft, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev said.

Shortly after the crash, Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, claimed on social media that the rebels had shot down a military transport plane. Those posts were later deleted once it turned out the plane was a civilian aircraft.

“It has the earmarks of a mistaken identification of an aircraft that they may have believed was Ukrainian,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told MSNBC.

3. Why was the plane flying over a war zone?
Most airlines follow rules set by national civil aviation authorities and take the most direct route available, said Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Malaysia Airlines flight left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. It flew over eastern Ukraine, which is a common route for international carriers.

Last week, Eurocontrol, the agency responsible for coordinating European airspace, said Ukrainian authorities had closed airspace in the region below 32,000 feet, but it was open at the level Flight 17 was flying (33,000 feet).

“There’s a lot of questions to be asked in a lot of different places,” CNN aviation analyst Miles O’Brien said. “Why didn’t government officials close off that airspace completely? 32,000 feet, that’s a completely arbitrary number.”

4. When will international investigators get access to the crash site?
No one knows.
A U.N. Security Council meeting ended early Monday morning, with Australia introducing a resolution that called for a swift international investigation.

“There’s no doubt that at the moment the site is under the control of the Russian-backed rebels. And given the almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the aircraft, having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene,” Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.

But Russia, which has veto power as permanent member of the council, wants a modified resolution — one that leaves out Ukraine from any investigation.
Scattered evidence of MH17 catastrophe
Photos: Malaysia Flight 17 victims remembered Photos: Malaysia Flight 17 victims remembered
MH17: What they left behind MH17: What they left behind
Confusion, hostility at MH17 crash site

5. Where are the so-called black boxes?
The rebels say they have recovered something, but can’t be certain those are the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

“These are some technical objects. We cannot say for sure these are black boxes,” rebel leader Alex Borodai told CNN.

Finding the devices is crucial; they will offer vital clues to the plane’s last moments.
What happens to the black boxes is also unclear.

In audio intercepts released by the Ukrainian government, a rebel leader is heard saying that Moscow is very interested in the black boxes and urges his followers to look for them urgently. (CNN can’t vouch for the authenticity of the audio).

6. Have all the victims’ bodies been recovered?
There’s no way to tell.

Rebels are keeping most of the bodies in two refrigerated train cars about 10 miles away from the site. And while international observers confirmed they saw “dozens and dozens” of bodies in the train, there was no way to verify the total.

Who were the victims?

7. What will happen to the remains?
That, too, is mired in politics. No one yet knows when they will be identified or where they will end up.

Alex Borodai, the rebel leader, says he’d rather hand over the remains to relatives — but only after “experts” examine them. He says he fears if the remains are turned over to Ukraine, the government would use them as evidence to blame his fighters for shooting down the plane.

“I want the bodies,” Selena Fredriksz sobbed at a memorial at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Sunday. Her son, 23-year-old Bryce, was one of the passengers on the plane. “They can have anything, but the bodies have to come back. Take their iPhones, take their money, take everything.”

8. How will Russia respond?
If an investigation concludes the plane was shot down by rebels using a Russian-supplied missile — or, worse still, by Russians themselves — President Vladimir Putin will have two choices. And neither, says Professor Daniel Treisman, works to his advantage.

Putin could reject the conclusions and stand by the rebels. If he does so, he risks becoming an international pariah. The West might also hit Russia with even tougher economic sanctions, enough to cripple its economy and send it into a recession.

Or, Putin could sever ties with the rebels. But that could present problems too.

“A relentless barrage of propaganda has convinced many Russians that their co-ethnics in Donetsk and Luhansk are being massacred by troops commanded by a fascist regime in Kiev,” said Treisman, who teaches political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, and who authored the book, “The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev.”

“For Putin to bow to international pressure and abandon his former charges would look like cowardice.”

Is Malaysia an Islamic State?

by Tamir Moustafa

As published in LoyarBurok on 16 July 2014.

Tamir Moustafa
 dissects and distils his learned academic article for the edification of us hoi polloi. The first of three (and we hope many more) articles which will be published (almost) simultaneously by our friends at 
The New Mandala
 and here on LoyarBurok.

“Is Malaysia a secular or Islamic state?”  Without a doubt, this is one of the most frequently asked questions in Malaysian politics.  It is also one of the most polarizing and misleading questions in Malaysian politics.  This is because the question itself tends accept certain premises of the government’s claim to speak for Islamic law.

In my recent article, “
Judging in God’s Name
,” I argue that Malaysia is not an Islamic state, but not for the reasons that are usually offered by secular, liberal rights activists.  Secular activists typically look to the Federal Constitution or cite the documents of the Reid Commission to establish the secular foundations of the Malaysian state.  While these sorts of arguments may be well founded, I argue that their impact will be limited if the government’s claim to implement ‘Islamic law’ is not challenged more directly.

Although Malaysia ranks sixth out of 175 countries worldwide in the degree of state regulation of religion, this should not be understood as the implementation of an “Islamic” system of governance or the achievement of an “Islamic state.”  No such ideal-type exists [1].

Please click 
 to read the full article.

PM's Pledge To Bring Back Bodies Of MH17 Crash Victims Almost A Reality

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's pledge, that all the bodies of Malaysian nationals killed in the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 crash in Ukraine would be buried in this country, is almost becoming a reality.

This followed the agreement reached between the Prime Minister and Alexander Borodai, the individual who holds the power in the region where the aircraft had crashed last Thursday, concerning the handling of the bodies of victims and the aircraft's black boxes, and the assurance of safe access for the international investigating team to begin their probe.

At the media conference at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya early today, Najib among other things said that 282 bodies of victims of the Boeing 777 air crash would be flown to Amsterdam, Holland, accompanied by a Malaysian team.

Family members of the crash victims would certainly feel relieved at the statement made by the Prime Minister that after undergoing a forensics process, if necessary, the bodies of Malaysian victims would be flown back to this country.

Another significant development was the agreement that the black boxes of the aircraft, which was carrying 298 passengers and crew members, that crashed after it was believed to have been shot down by a guided missile, would be handed over to the Malaysian team in Donetsk.

Najib's statement had given hope to Malaysians, particularly family members of the victims who wanted the cause of the tragedy to be investigated as soon as possible, thus giving justice to the victims who had died.

Malaysia's special investigating team on the MH17 tragedy, led by Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar together with 131 members from the various government agencies have been in Kiev since Saturday.

The aircraft MH17 was shot down over Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

In Kiev, Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a press conference as quoted in the Media Centre's website 'Ukraine Crisis' on Monday, said that priority would be given to efforts to gather and bring out all the bodies and to collect evidence on the crash.

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine was prepared to give a major role to Holland in the investigation besides allowing international investigators to inspect its weaponry equipment to prove that it had nothing to do with the MH17 tragedy.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, meanwhile, was reported to have directed his armed forces to halt any military activity within a radius of 40km from the MH17 crash site effective immediately.

It was part of the Ukraine government's initiative to speed up efforts by the international joint investigating team to gain safe access to the crash site.

In another development, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the emergency Parliamentary session to discuss the air crash would be aired live on TV1, on Wednesday.

In his Facebook website posting, he said the parliamentary sitting would be broadcast beginning at 10am and members of the public could also serve the website

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Global anger intensifies over downed Malaysia Airlines jet

Watch: Hamas Places Civilians in the Line of Fire

IDF releases another video showing how Hamas deliberately puts civilian lives in danger.

The IDF has released another video which shows how Hamas deliberately puts civilian lives in danger.

The video shows that Hamas hides weapons and missile launchers in densely populated areas and sends men, women and children directly into the line of fire to be used as human shields for terrorists.

Hamas has openly boasted about the "success" of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.

By contrast, the IDF has dropped leaflets, sent phone messages, and issued general warnings to all civilians within range of upcoming airstrikes to prevent further harm.

The IDF has also called off attacks upon realizing that there are innocent civilians in the area or, as shown in the video below, when seeing the terrorist target enter an ambulance.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Christians flee Mosul after ISIS ultimatum to convert or leave

Al Arabiya News
Worshippers attend mass on Christmas Eve at a Christian church in Mosul, 
about 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, December 24, 2009. (Reuters) 
Christians have fled Iraq’s northern city of Mosul en masse before a Saturday deadline issued by the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for them to either convert to Islam, pay tax, leave or be killed.

Al Arabiya correspondent in Iraq Majid Hamid said the deadline set by the jihadist group was 12 p.m. Iraqi time (10 a.m. GMT). Hamid reported that many Christians fled the city on Friday. It is not clear if any remained after the deadline.

Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP on Friday: “Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” he said.

Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city’s mosques Friday.

A statement dated from last week and purportedly issued by ISIS that took over the city and large swathes of Iraq during a sweeping offensive last month warned Mosul’s Christians they should convert, pay a special tax, leave or face death.

“We were shocked by the distribution of a statement by the Islamic State calling on Christians to convert to Islam, or to pay unspecified tribute, or to leave their city and their homes taking only their clothes and no luggage, and that their homes would then belong to the Islamic State,” Sako said.

The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for “Nassarah”, the term by which the Koran refers to Christians.

The statement, which was seen by AFP, said “there will be nothing for them but the sword” if Christians reject those conditions.

[With AFP]

Netherlands in a bind over possible Russian involvement in MH17 crash, reports NYT

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has to be mindful of its economic ties to Russia, despite reports of possible involvement of pro-Russia rebels in the downing of flight MH17. – Reuters pic, July 19, 2014.Having suffered the largest casualty in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash, the Netherlands is now caught in a dilemma over the prospect that Russian-backed separatists are involved in the tragedy as it counts Russia as a big trading partner, reported the New York Times today.

The Dutch government is mindful of the fact that Russia is the country's third largest trade partner, with constantly expanding business ties, especially in natural gas, the paper reported.

According to Malaysia Airlines, of the 298 people aboard MH17, 192 passengers were Dutch nationals.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has not been as vocal as United States President Barack Obama on the MH17 disaster, said the newspaper.

Rutte told a press conference yesterday that flight MH17 had been taken down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM).

"It seems as if MH17 was shot down, but we have no exact information on what actually caused the disaster," Rutte was quoted as saying on state television.

Rutte's diplomatic reaction illustrates the small manoeuvring space the Dutch have when it comes to its relations with Russia.

"We are a small country, dependent on our exports," the New York Times quoted Alexander Pechtold as saying.

Pechtold heads D66, a liberal democratic party and is also one of Netherlands' main opposition leaders.

"Unlike the United States, we cannot always react from our moral high ground.

"However, if proven that the Russians are responsible for this terrible event, we cannot look in the opposite direction," he said in the New York Times report.

It reported that prominent Dutch author and historian Geert Mak as saying the Dutch were in a difficult position due to Russian support for the Ukrainian separatists.

Mak said in the report that Russia's support for Ukrainian separatists places the Dutch in a difficult position.

“We have a serious bone to pick with Russia after this horrible incident. Especially if it turns out that Putin (Russian president) armed these men,” he said of the Ukrainian separatists in the report.

Mak said in the report that this was also the way for a smaller country to survive and be prosperous.

“Now we are angry. Angry over the fact that Dutchmen have been killed, but at the same time we realise we need our ties with Russia. Activism is a way for us to do what we can,” he said in the report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the downing of flight MH17, saying the country over which the aircraft crashed should be held responsible.

Steering lock driver to be charged on Monday

Siti Fairrah Ashyikin Kamaruddin, or Kiki, the woman driver of the white Peugeot car who is alleged to have bullied an elderly man using a steering lock earlier this week, will be charged in court on Monday.

Pahang CID chief Zakaria Ahmad said police had also recorded statement from the woman last Thursday.

"She was detained at the Kuantan police headquarters at 4pm last Thursday, but was released on police bail on the same day as the police were satisfied with her statement," he told reporters in Temerloh today.

Zakaria said the case was still being investigated under Section 427 of the Penal Code for causing mischief and Section 506 of the same Code for criminal intimidation.

The incident occurred at about 1.10pm last Monday at the parking lot of the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).

The woman's road rage behaviour against the 68-year-old government pensioner was recorded by members of the public who were at the scene and was uploaded onto several social websites until the video lasting 2.33 minutes became viral and 'trending'.

- Bernama

Kula says gov't wavering causes cynicism

DAP national vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran said the government continued on matters of grave social concern to oscillate between noble intentions and a weak will at implementing the mechanisms for their transmission from intent to reality.

“This suspension between nobility of intent and an enfeebled will at enforcing good intentions is the reason behind the prevailing public cynicism about politicians,” observed the MP for Ipoh Barat.

Speaking at a forum on unilateral conversion of minors in Ipoh earlier this week, the federal legislator said that though seasoned politicians acknowledged that the road to hell is usually paved with good intentions, no lasting policy or initiative aimed at solving recurrent problems could take hold on society without it stemming from a good intention.

“The government had a good intention when it set up the Royal Commission on the management of the police force eleven years ago, but when the panel recommended a viable solution to the problem of custodial deaths, the government wavered on its implementation,” observed the lawyer who acts for estranged spouses who have had their children caught in custodial disputes converted to another religion.

Kulasegaran was referring to the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which the RC on making the police force more effective recommended in its report unveiled in March 2005.

He noted that the government also had a good intention in April 2009 when a Cabinet committee recommended the banning of unilateral conversions of minors caught in custodial disputes between estranged parents.

Ignoring custodial battle kids’ pain

“A feeble will is the reason why the government has not moved from converting good intention into the legislative mechanisms to prevent unilateral conversions of minors caught in custodial battles,” asserted Kulasegaran.

He said this vacillation which takes no heed of the anguish of bereft spouses and deprived children caught in custodial battles is the cause of widespread public cynicism about governance and those engaged in it.

“Politicians fiddle while affected parties fume and file for court action but the judicial process and enforcing agencies are stymied by being stranded in a grey zone where clashing jurisdictions compete for the right to be recognized as the rightful authority,” said the MP.

He said enquiries he had raised in Parliament about these interfaith disputes and custodial deaths receive ambiguous replies from the relevant ministries.

These replies, he said, raise the question of who really is determining policy in government – whether it is the Cabinet or government agencies which decree what ministers should say and do.

“Confusion is created and scepticism about government and governance is bred such that matters are left hanging in a grey zone where people are encouraged to become cynical about politicians,” said Kulasegaran (left).

He said that in the ensuing void, demagogues who represent only a few and some not even anybody rise to fill the gap, spreading their racial and religious tocsins.

“Pretty soon the waters are poisoned as the best of peoples lack conviction while the worst of them are full of passionate intensity. In this atmosphere, anything and everything can happen,” mused the four-term parliamentarian.

Kenapa harus terbang di ruang udara zon perang?

Alasan syarikat penerbangan lain juga terbang di ruang udara Ukraine tidak boleh di terima kerana keselamatan kita adalah tanggungjawab kita

SEREMBAN – Susulan penerbangan Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 dari Amsterdam ke Kuala Lumpur ditembak jatuh dengan peluru berpandu darat ke udara pada hari Khamis lalu, orang ramai mempersoalkan mengapa syarikat penerbangan nasional itu memilih untuk terbang di zon ruang udara wilayah yang sememangnya diketahui sedang bergolak.

FMT membuat tinjauan di bandar Seremban dan cuba mendapatkan reaksi orang ramai berhubung kejadian yang mengorbankan 298 penumpang dan anak kapal MH17.

Khairul NizamKhairul Nizam Kassim, 44, bertanya kenapa MAS ambil risiko dan merentasi zon perang.

“Walaupun menggunakan laluan alternatif yang lebih jauh dan MAS akan rugi dari segi kos penerbangan, tetapi ia akan menjamin keselamatan penumpang.

“Sekarang siapa yang mahu dipertanggungjawabkan? Tiada ada sesiapa yang mahu mengaku menembak MH17.

“Bukankah pencegahan lebih baik?

“Pada bulan April, International Civil Aviation Organisation, telah menasihatkan agar syarikat penerbangan mempertimbangkan laluan alternatif selepas mengenalpasti kemungkinan wujudnya risiko yang serius kepada keselamatan penerbangan awam antarabangsa.

“Apakah MAS tidak peka?

“Malah kalau tidak ada mana-mana pihak memberi amaran pun, sepatutnya secara ‘common sense’ boleh fikir secara logik, kenapa ambil risiko lalu di ruang udara zon perang? tanya Khairul Nizam.

Ruang udara Ukraine dulu lain, sekarang lain

Khairul Mohamad, 31, pula berkata alasan sudah lama terbang di ruang udara berkenaan tidak boleh diterima.

“Tidak kisah berapa tahun laluan itu telah digunakan. Dulu lain sekarang lain.

“Dulu selamat, kini sejak beberapa bulan Ukraine bergolak dengan perang saudara.

“Maka sudah tentu ianya tidak selamat lagi untuk terbang di ruang udara Ukraine, lebih-lebih lagi di zon perang.

“Alasan kononnya ada banyak lagi syarikat penerbangan lain terbang di ruang udara tersebut tidak boleh di terima kerana keselamatan kita adalah tanggungjawab kita.

“Kalau dah namanya zon perang, pasti akan ada kejadian tembak menembak di sana sini, letup sana letup sini; tapi kitalah yang harus berhati-hati dan jangan lalu di zon perang.

“Pada hari Isnin, Eurocontrol, sebuah badan yang mengkordinasi semua trafik di ruang udara Eropah telah menghantar satu nota rasmi dikenali sebagai Notam, mengulangi amaran tersebut dan menasihatkan dengan tegas agar mengelak dari ruang udara tersebut,” jelas Khairul.

Terbang atas zon perang, ibarat serah nyawa
Mohamad Sudhay

Mohamad Sudhay, 55, pula bertanya kenapa MAS lalu di ruang udara negara sedang berkonflik.

“Perang saudara di Ukraine ini bukan sehari dua, tapi dah berapa bulan.

“Terbang di atas ruang udara negara berperang ini seperti serahkan nyawa macam itu sahaja.

“Walaubagaimanapun saya menasihatkan orang ramai jangan takut penggunakan penerbangan udara.

“Ajal dan maut di tangan tuhan,” katanya.

Leong Chee Kong, 48, berharap kerajaan ambil tindakan tegas ke atas pihak yang menyebabkan kesemua 298 penumpang dan anak kapal MH17 terkorban.

“Saya juga harap kerajaan siasat kenapa pada hari tersebut MH17 dikatakan membuat sedikit lencongan daripada laluan asal.

“Apakah pihak berkuasa Ukraine atau Ukraine Air Traffic Control (ATC) telah dimaklumkan terlebih dahulu sebelum lencongan itu di buat? tanya Leong.

A Vanitha Sri, 18, pula berkata pihak yang bertanggungjawab menembak jatuh MH17 dan mengakibatkan orang yang tidak bersalah mati, perlu dihukum.

“Ini sangat kejam. Bayangkan berapa ramai kanak-kanak yang tidak berdosa terkorban begitu sahaja.

“Kenapa mereka (pihak yang menembak MH17) berbuat demikian?

“Macam mana boleh jadi begini?

Ramai penumpang Belanda sepatutnya tiba di Borneo

Pusat peranginan Pulau Tiga mengesahkan menerima maklumat mengenai kumpulan pelawat itu dan telah membuat persediaan untuk menerima ketibaan mereka.

KOTA KINABALU: Seramai 26 daripada 189 rakyat Belanda yang menaiki pesawat MH17 yang terhempas selepas ditembak dengan misil di udara Ukraine pada malam Khamis, sepatutnya sudah berada di Sabah dan Sarawak untuk bercuti.

Penumpang rakyat Belanda itu dikatakan terlebih dulu akan melawat Sarawak.

Lawatan mereka di Sabah adalah untuk mengunjungi hutan di Sukau dan Taman Kinabalu untuk melihat keindahan Gunung Kinabalu.

Pulau Tiga juga adalah antara tempat menarik yang dirancang untuk dilawati sepanjang tiga minggu lawatan mereka di sini.

Pusat peranginan Pulau Tiga mengesahkan menerima maklumat mengenai kumpulan pelawat itu dan telah membuat persediaan untuk menerima ketibaan mereka.

“Antara mereka ialah Peter Essers, 66, isterinya Jolette Nuesink, 60, dan anak anak mereka Emma, 20 dan Valentijin, 17,” kata Richard Hii, jurucakap Tropical Adventure Sdn Bhd yang berpusat di Sarawak.

Syarikat itu sepatutnya menguruskan perjalanan mereka ketika berada di sini.

Menurut Richard, mereka sangat sedih kerana tetamu mereka ditimpa tragedi dan berharap sesiapa saja yang bertanggungjawab mengorbankan ramai orang yang tidak bersalah dalam nahas itu dihadapkan ke muka pengadilan.

“Tiada apa-apa yang kita dapat lakukan buat masa ini kecuali mendoakan roh mereka yang terkorban dan kesabaran diri keluarga serta kawan-kawan yang meratapi pemergian mereka,” katanya.

MH17: The full passenger list

Malaysia Airlines has published the full passenger manifest

Allahyarham Ghafar bantah hidang arak dalam MAS

(Harakah Daily) – PAS Kawasan Masjid Tanah menyatakan rasa sedih dan simpati di atas kejadian yang mengorbankan Ketua Pramugara, Abdul Ghafar Abu Bakar yang bertugas dalam pesawat MAS, MH17 yang dtimpa kemalangan di sempadan Russia-Ukraine.

Yang Dipertua PAS Kawasan Masjid Tanah, Imran Abdul Rahman berkata demikian ketika menyampaikan ucapan takziah kepada ibu Abdul Ghafar, Maimon Sarpan, 74 di rumah beliau di Kampung Seri Tanjung di sini tengah hari tadi

Maimon berkata beliau terkejut menerima berita kejadian tersebut apabila diberitahu oleh anaknya pada tengah malam peristiwa malam itu.

“Anak saya telefon suruh buka TV tengok berita, dia kata Salim terlibat dengan kemalangan tersebut, saya baru nak tidur masa itu”

“Tidak ada apa yang dapat saya katakan, hanya air mata yang mengalir mengenangkan anak saya ini,” ujar beliau.

Menurur Maimon, Salim (nama panggilan keluarga untuk Ghafar) merupakan anak yang baik dan sentiasa ingat kepada keluarga.

“Kita mendoakan roh Allahyarham dan semua penumpang muslim lain dicucuri rahmat dan di tempatkan bersama roh para anbia, syuhada dan solihin”

“Kami juga mengharapkan Mak Cik Maimon dan keluarga tabah menghadapi dugaan Allah ini,” ujar Imran dengan nada sedih.

Dalam pertemuan itu Maimon menunjukkan gambar-gambar Ghafar dan sentiasa memuji kebaikan anaknya yang terkenal dengan kuat beragama dan sentiasa komited menjaga kebajikan keluarga.

Difahamkan Allahyarham Ghaffar adalah seorang yang berani melawan perintah syarikat agar tidak menghidangkan arak di dalam penerbangan yang diketuainya.

Seorang rakannya Halim Hassan menyatakan Ghafar adalah seorang yang suka solat malam, mengaji dalam penerbangan dan menjadi mutawif (pemandu ibadat haji dan umrah) kawan-kawannya semasa umrah, Halim Hassan menulis perkara itu dalam komuniti Whatsapp Masjid Bukit Indah yang kini disebarkan melalui media sosial.

Menurut rakan-rakannya dari kariah Masjid Bukit Indah itu, selain membuat bantahan kepada MAS tentang penghidangan arak di dalam kapal terbang, Ghafar pernah menulis surat kepada Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) dan para mufti agar mengeluarkan arak daripada sajian dalam pesawat MAS.

Ghafar juga, kata Halim, pernah meminta pemangku Menteri Pengangkutan Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein agar membenarkan para pramugari beragama Islam untuk memakai tudung semasa bertugas.

Ukraine, rebels agree on security zone at crash site

HRABOVE, Ukraine — Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists agreed Saturday to set up a security zone around the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet to allow the orderly removal of the bodies of the 298 people killed in the shootdown of MH17 over eastern Ukraine two days ago.

The Malaysian airliner — en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew members — crashed into rebel-held territory Thursday after being hit by what U.S. officials say was a SA-11 surface-to-air missile. There were no survivors.

In a related development, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Ministere Sergei Lavrov agreed in a "frank discussion": by phone Saturday that all evidence in the case be turned over to independent, international investigators, the ITAR-TAss News agency reports.

"During the frank discussion, the minister and the secretary, without mincing words, exchanged assessments and arguments and agreed on the main point that it is necessary to ensure an absolutely impartial, independent and open international investigation of the Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine on July 17,"the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement."

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should play a leading role in the investigation, the statement said.

Lavrov and Kerry agreed that "all evidence, including flight data recorders, should be made available for examination as part of an international investigation and that all necessary conditions should be created on the ground to ensure access for the international team of experts".

In Kiev, Ukrainian Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said in televised remarks Saturday that trilateral talks, involving Russia, had agreed on a 7-square-mile security zone "so that Ukraine could fulfill the most important thing — identify the bodies (and) hand them over to relatives," Ukrinform reports.

The announcement of an agreement followed charges by Ukraine that local militia in the restive eastern Ukraine region near the Russian border had removed at least 38 bodies from the crash site near the village of Hrabove.

On a dirt road near the site Saturday morning, separatist officials from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's ministry of internal affairs began moving bodies in what appeared to be an unorganized and ad hoc operation.

At one point, about 15 bodies had been laid out on the rural road.

"Experts are removing the bodies," a separatist soldier who identified himself as Commander Ugriumny and seemed to be in charge told reporters. "Where we will move them, we will wait and see."

Until the soldiers arrived in a 10-vehicle caravan, the golden fields in this remote region near the Russian border were virtually empty, except for the decomposing bodies, some still strapped to their airline seats, and wide swaths of plane wreckage. There were no emergency services vehicles, no separatist soldiers.

The militiamen, who began setting up a perimeter, cordoning off the area and putting up tents, scoffed at charges by the Kiev government that bodies were being removed from the scene.

"No one stole any bodies," said Commander Ugriumny. "Or have taken them anywhere."