MH370 – call for a Parliamentary White Paper and Select Committee

MH370 (EN)

Media statement by MP for Kluang and DAP National Political Education Director Liew Chin Tong on 14th May 2014 in Kuala Lumpur

The Transport Minister should present a White Paper to Parliament to account for the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on 8th March, explain the international search mission and its costs, and study what changes need to take place to prevent a similar crisis in future. A parliamentary select committee should also be formed to investigate the incident thoroughly.

At 8:30 am. this morning, Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted that he “will be tabling Cabinet Note Jointly with Mindef/Foreign Office” on MH370 at today’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

I strongly urge Hishammuddin to release the Cabinet Note to the public via a White Paper to the Parliament with a full debate by the Members of Parliament. Hishammuddin and the Government should also permit the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate the MH370 crisis and remedies needed to ensure that there will not be recurrence of such a devastating tragedy.

A White Paper to Parliament is especially important in view of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on 13th May 2014 in which he conceded that “we didn’t get everything right.” The Government must be more open about what actually went wrong on the fateful day of 8th March and how not to allow such incident to recur. A more candid and transparent approach will help revive confidence in Malaysian institutions.

Najib doesn’t inspire confidence when he tells the world that “nobody saw this coming, nobody knows why it happened, and nobody precisely where it is.”

It is pathetic that the Prime Minister seems to think that apart from response time, the only thing that went wrong was “communications.” Najib said “In the first few days after the plane disappeared, we were so focused on trying to find the aircraft that we did not prioritize our communications.” He somehow felt that Malaysia had committed no wrong but “has borne the brunt of the criticism”.

Najib and the Government has to be more open and transparent on MH370.

A White Paper is also necessary to account to Parliament the cost of the search as well as the long term cost. Yesterday, when presenting his 2014 budget, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that Australia has allocated A$ 90 million (RM270 million) in the next two years to search for MH370.

It is important for the Transport Minister and the Government to reveal the cost of the search for MH370 and further action to be taken.

Liew Chin Tong

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