Last updated Wednesday, October 22, 2014 08:00pm

MARCH 16 — The agonies surrounding the missing MH370 plane are inflicted upon Malaysia, our beloved country.

During an interview with CNN, US aviation expert Peter Goelz told the world, “Search for MH370 is the worst I've ever seen in disaster management.”

He said of Malaysia's officials as “poor communicators or, at worst, plain incompetent.”

Bloomberg reported, quoting Australia's Southeast Asian studies expert Clive Kessler that the Malaysian authorities were “handling a huge global issue as if it was domestic politics,” and that the contradiction and lack of competency “expose leadership limit.”

Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told Reuters, “The Malaysians deserve to be criticized; their handling of this has been atrocious.”

As if that is not enough, media from Greater China as well as local websites have also been hard on the Malaysian authorities.

As a Malaysian, I felt anguished reading such comments, but anguish alone is never enough, and will not help put things right. The main thing is that we need to discern, think and reflect on our own misdeeds.

To be honest, some of the allegations have not been unfounded. For instance, some of the information has arrived way too late or self-contradictory.

The military radar picked up the signals of some unidentified civilian aircraft above the Straits of Melaka but the information was revealed several days late. The confusions and contradictions over fake passports also need to be admitted.

In the meantime, some other allegations have been excessively emotional or were products of hearsay.

In the Gallery


  • A family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 reacts during a briefing from the Malaysia Airlines at a hotel in Beijing March 14, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A member of the Malaysia Airlines’ special assistance team to help relatives of passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leaves the lounge at a hotel in Beijing on March 15, 2014. — Picture by AFP

  • A monk lights candles during a special prayer for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a Buddhist temple in Subang Jaya March 15, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Messages expressing hope for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are seen in a Buddhist temple in Subang Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur March 15, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Members of a rescue team keep track of a GPS system on a Basarnas rescue ship during a search and rescue operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the Andaman Sea, March 15, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak holds a press conference at Sama Sama Hotel, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), March 15, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A women cries during a special prayer session for the family members of passengers on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a Buddhist temple in Subang Jaya, March 15, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Family members of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 react as they watch a telecast of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak news conference at a hotel in Beijing, March 15, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Family members of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 check news on a mobile phone at a hotel in Beijing, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A girl looks at a board with messages of support and hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Members of a Malaysia Airlines special assistance team watch as the news conference on the missing flight MH370 is streamed on a projector screen at a hotel in Beijing, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A family member shouts at Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy (top, back-facing camera) after his question was declined, at a hotel in Beijing, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Japan Coast Guard studies a map with two Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency pilots as they search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane over the waters of the South China Sea, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Japan Coast Guard personnel prepare their Gulfstream V Jet aircraft customised for search and rescue operations, to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane over the waters of the South China Sea, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman writes a message expressing hope for the family members of passengers on-board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a Buddhist temple in Kuala Lumpur, March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • An Indonesian student displays a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, in Medan, North Sumatra on March 15, 2014. — AFP pic

  • Indonesian national search and rescue agency personnel watch over high seas during a search operation for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Andaman Sea on March 15, 2014. — AFP pic

The appearance of bomoh at the airport had not been permitted by the authorities, but upon distortion, it became an event at the government's invitation in hope of detecting the lost plane. The news travelled across oceans and before long, magical mat, coconut, bamboo basket and crutch took on the forms of Malaysia's symbols in the search mission.

So, in the eyes of the outside world, Malaysia is such a dumb, joker state.

Some media players seem to take delight in fabricating stories, quoting police sources that suspicious Uighur terrorists found their way into the aircraft.

So, another 911 in the making, huh?

While such creations did spice up the MH370 incident, and added a few exciting after-meal gossips, the reputation of this country as well as the sacrificial efforts of SAR personnel were nevertheless bashed and downplayed.

The “experts” have slammed Malaysia to trashy levels and I'm personally still sceptical of the authority in their conclusions.

MH370 is unprecedented. There are simply too many question marks, too many complicated circumstances and technical issues pegged to it. Our modern technology may not be sophisticated enough to come up with an ultimate answer within days. Some say tracing the plane is like rummaging through a pitch dark closet for a needle.

It is always much easier said than done.

Families of the lost plane's passengers are smothered by their own anxiety while the public are eager to get their unsolved questions answered, and they all have been pressing the government and MAS for more transparent information. Unfortunately, facts are overwhelmed by rumours in this incident, and questions outnumber answers by a mile. There is little that the authorities know, and to be responsible therefore, there isn't much they can divulge.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) addresses reporters about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (right) stand by him, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 15, 2014.  — Reuters picDatuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) addresses reporters about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (right) stand by him, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

We have not performed that badly after all. Other Asian governments have also been slammed for their poor handling of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Sichuan earthquake in China and the massive storms ravaging the Philippine islands, by these experts. We often see only the bad and would never make the slightest effort to discern the good things our people have done.

At least Commander William Marks of the US Navy's 7th Fleet said of his personal view of the SAR operation: “I give a lot of credit to the Malaysian government. They have a very well organized plan... and they are very efficient, very professional.”

There is no necessity for the commander of the 7th Fleet to please the Malaysian government. For his position, he should be a real expert among a bunch of experts out there. So, hold our heads up instead of feeling dejected, or we will get thrashed hard before others in the face of a disaster.

Like a boxing game, we are now only in Round One; there are no good reasons we should get knocked out so soon.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.