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MISSING MH370: Questions left hanging in the air
Publication Date : 21-03-2014
Australia released satellite images yesterday showing two objects in the Indian Ocean that could be related to the missing Malaysian jetliner. Australian authorities have dispatched aircraft and a ship to recover the objects and determine whether they belonged to Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8.
One can't hide an elephant in the room, so the proverb goes. Likewise, the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 can't just have disappeared into a black pit of mystery without any explanations. Like most people, I don't know what caused the disappearance of the jetliner along with 239 passengers and crew. But let me ask some relevant questions:
1. Why did the Malaysian authorities keep so quiet for a whole week after the aircraft went missing, giving only small details regarding its whereabouts?
2. If Malaysian authorities knew that MH370 had turned back and flew towards the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean instead of maintaining its course to Beijing, why did they seek help from other countries to search in the South China Sea?
3. Why did Malaysian authorities focus on the possibility the aircraft had crashed into the sea when they knew that it continued to fly for another four to seven hours after it left air traffic control radar less than an hour after take-off?
4. After discovering the MH370 had veered off course and made its way west, why didn't the Malaysian authorities immediately suspect a hijacking of some sort?
5. Why did Malaysia fail to ask for any radar information from the Thai military after discovering that the jetliner's communications had gone down?
6. A full week after the disappearance, the Malaysian authorities finally came out to admit they suspected foul play or a possible hijacking. So why didn't they immediately do background checks on all the passengers, including the flight captain, his assistant and all crewmembers?
7. Why did Malaysian authorities begin their investigation of a possible hijack by searching the homes of the captain and his co-pilot a week after the aircraft's disappearance?
8. Malaysia Airlines said there were four passengers who checked in for the flight but did not show up at the airport. Where were these passengers? Were they involved in, or victims of a hijack plot?
9. Was there anything among the 20-tonne cargo that could provide motivation for a hijacking?
10. Many of the passengers work for hi-tech companies. Were they somehow targets of the hijacking?
11. Given the sophistication of US radar and satellite technology, why have we not heard anything from the US side?
12. An aircraft as big as a Boeing 777 cannot escape the sensitive detectors of modern radar satellite technology. Why hasn't the international community come forward to provide clues to the aircraft's disappearance?
13. If it was an act of terrorism, why hasn't any group claimed responsibility?
14. Where will it leave the reputation of Malaysia Airlines if it cannot solve this mystery?
15. China, with 153 of its citizens on board, stands to suffer the most. Can the Malaysian government provide an accurate account of the incident to the Chinese as well as to the relatives of passengers from other nations?
16. Will China launch sanctions against Malaysia if it believes it has not had a fair or accurate explanation regarding the flight's disappearance?
17. How should Asean react if Malaysia does run into trouble with China over the issue?
These are just some of the questions that remain hanging in the air in the strange case of the missing Boeing 777. Hopefully, we'll all get the answers soon.