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Monday, March 17, 2014

Putrajaya should brief all MPs on flight MH370, not just Barisan

The mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 is the biggest incident to happen to Malaysia, and the world. There are at least 14 nationalities among the 239 people on board the flight to Beijing.
The world wants to know what is going on and Putrajaya has responded with daily press conferences where what seems like facts one day is altered the next day, increasing the frustration over an international search that has now gone 11 days without any trace of the lost Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER.

The 222 Malaysian lawmakers too want to know more about the disappearance. What does Putrajaya do? It will only brief the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs tonight because only the BN Backbenchers Club had asked for a briefing.
Not the 89 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers because:
1) they did not ask for a briefing, and
2) they might leak the information or spin it.
It apparently does not matter to Putrajaya that the 89 PR MPs represent 51% of the electorate that voted in General Election 2013. What matter is that only government MPs are briefed.
And this is apparently the 1Malaysia government.
What should any government do in times like this? Take care of its own MPs and ignore their political foes for fear they might let out more than they should?
Perhaps, Putrajaya should remember that all leaks about the investigations to British tabloids and the US media has come from some of those involved in the probe, including some Malaysian officials.
There have been aspersions made about the pilots in the British tabloids, while other details about the investigations have come up in foreign wires and US newspapers whose reporters have descended to Malaysia, with some in close contact with government media handlers.
Why not trust MPs who have taken their oath of loyalty to the country and can be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they leak information out to all and sundry?
Datuk Noh Omar (BN-Tanjung Karang) said in Parliament last night that if opposition MPs were invited to the briefing, the information revealed would be disseminated on social media even before the briefing could end.
Noh Omar also said that it was the prerogative of the minister on who he wanted to invite to the MH370 briefing.
But his BN colleague, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan took to social media last night to say that it was the BNBBC that had asked for a briefing.
Who is right in this matter? And who is using social media such as Twitter to discuss the issue?
Fuziah Salleh (PKR-Kuantan) was right last night to say that all MPs should be briefed on the latest about the lost passenger jet.
"This is not according to Parliamentary rules. We also represent the rakyat, they should include us in the briefing and if confidential information is involved, we can take an oath of secrecy," she said when debating the Royal Address yesterday.
"Why not invite us? We are also keen to know on the developments on the missing flight," she added.
As it is, the world has a dim view of how the Malaysian government is handling the search and rescue for Flight MH370 with some suspecting that it is hiding crucial information that could lead to finding the lost passenger jet.
It would be a confirmation of the fact that Putrajaya is indeed hiding information if opposition MPs are not included in any briefing.
And if anything else, that move to exclude opposition from the briefing is nothing less than childish. 

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