Putrajaya's refusal to answer questions on Malaysia’s poor handling of the initial stages of flight MH370's disappearance is a reflection of self-denial on its part, said a veteran DAP lawmaker today.
Party adviser Lim Kit Siang said the statement by acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that authorities wanting to “move forward” were an example of a serious denial syndrome.
"Hishammuddin has clearly refused to answer questions whether Malaysia had mishandled the initial stages of MH370's disappearance," Lim (pic, top right) said in a statement today.
He said Hishammuddin should realise that priority can no longer be placed solely on finding the aircraft, and had to be expanded to finding answers.
"There are 1,001 questions being asked about the handling of the disaster, in particular what happened in the initial hours of MH370's disappearance."
Lim said it was facetious and fallacious for Hishammuddin to berate critics for “looking so far back at a time when we are already looking forward”.
"It is impossible to look forward without a proper understanding of what happened 40 days ago in the initial hours of the tragedy on March 8," Lim said.
He insisted it was not an issue of pointing fingers for the crisis, but giving closure to the families and loved ones of those aboard MH370.
"There cannot be a full closure without a full, independent probe into what happened in the initial hours and days of the MH370 disaster," Lim said.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers.
The Boeing 777-200 dropped off the radar at 1.20am and there has been no trace of the aircraft ever since.
"Putrajaya's self-denial in the MH370 crisis is the biggest stumbling block to restoring local and global confidence in Malaysia's good governance," Lim said.
Lim also cited a recent Malaysiakini interview with former Sabah police chief Datuk Ramli Yusuff, who questioned the establishment of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
Ramli, who was the Sabah police chief from 2002 to 2004, described Esscom as “ridiculous” because of the duplication of the chain of command.
"This is serious food for thought and should provide the basis for an immediate decision by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his cabinet," Lim said.
Ramli told Malaysiakini that based on his experience as the former Sabah police chief, Esscom should be headed by the state police chief.
"This is to avoid duplication of the chain of command and to ensure a better grip on security operational matters," Ramli told Malaysiakini.
"Esscom should be headed by either the police or the armed forces, although I prefer the police because this is an internal security matter."
He also told Malaysiakini that current Esscom director-general Datuk Muhammad Mentek was not suitable to lead because he was previously from the Immigration Department.
"Muhammad does not know operational matters," Ramli claimed, adding that priority should be given to intelligence gathering.
"When I was the Sabah police chief, there were no incursions or kidnappings because coordination was tight among all enforcement agencies, including the army.
"As police chief, I would advise the chief minister on security issues and coordinate everything with the navy, air force, army, volunteer corps (Rela), and Immigration and Customs departments.
"The army and police shared their assets throughout Sabah, and compared notes on intelligence, which is the most crucial aspect of security operations."
Special attention was also given to tourist areas where more personnel were deployed at outposts and for patrols.
"It does not matter (how long the border is). If it happens in your district you have to know as ground intelligence should be water tight in 'red zones'."
"Based on my experience, there are no way such kidnappings and incursions can take place because the state and security personnel have already identified these 'red zones'."
Lim said Putrajaya's denial syndrome on the Esscom issue was its refusal to end the overlapping and duplication of command in Sabah.