The Bandung Spirit: strengthering Asian African economic cooperation & legal consultation


Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered a speech, with the aim of carrying on the Bandung Spirit and promoting the common development of the two vibrant continents.

Chinese president delivers speech at Asian-African Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Asian-African Summit 2015, where he joins leaders and representatives
from around 100 countries and international organizations.

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf


Opening ceremony: Li giving a speech at the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) in Beijing. — AFP

Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation was born at a historic moment, but struggles to deal with the present day issues.

LAST week, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) held its annual session in the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Here’s a bit of the organisation’s background – with a focus on international law and legal matters of common concern, AALCO is the legacy of the Bandung Conference.

That historic conference in 1955, also known as the Asia-Africa Conference, led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.

INDONESIA-BANDUNG-XI JINPING-COMMEMORATIVE WALK

Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan, Indonesian Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana take part in a highly symbolic stroll with other Asian and African leaders to commemorate the historic 1955 Bandung Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, April 24, 2015. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

More than 30 world leaders, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chinese President Xi Jinping, gathered in Indonesia this week for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Bandung Conference.

Malaysia is one of the 47 member states of AALCO that has its headquarters in New Delhi, and the current AALCO secretary-general, Prof Dr Rahmat Mohamad, is a Malaysian.

“AALCO is not a political union. That is why it is not popular and people do not know of its existence,” said Dr Rahmat.

“We are a legal consultative body comprising legal experts from the Asian and African countries.”

AALCO deals with issues that affect the legal rights of its member states and highlights their views to the International Law Commission (ILC) and the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

It has also established permanent observer missions to the United Nations and set up regional arbitrary centres, one of which is in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Rahmat, who was the deputy vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Mara, won the election to the post in 2008. He is now serving his second four-year term.

“The regions of Asia and Africa have different political beliefs, culture and systems. But at the end of the day, we get the common concern and bring it to the attention of the ILC and UN,” he said.

“It was the vision of leaders like (Indonesia’s first president) Sukarno and (India’s first prime minister) Jawaharlal Nehru that newly independent countries must have their voices heard in international forums like the United Nations.

“When you have a body like AALCO, the other side will know what our concerns are.”

Using the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an example. Dr Rahmat said many Asian countries are not state parties to the treaty, but that does not mean that they are against the idea.

“It is good but a lot of issues have to be clarified and resolved first,” he said.

“The Penal Code in Malaysia, for instance, only has definition of crime, but not crime against humanity. How do you apply that in our system? We are not used to it, our judges and prosecutors are not used to it.”

The Rome Statute, which has been acceded to by 123 countries, established the ICC to investigate and prosecute four core international crimes, namely genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and crime of aggression.

“There are issues that need to be resolved domestically first,” Dr Rahmat said.

“However, the politics of it are causing apprehension. My job is to continue to disseminate legal knowledge to make people aware.”

During the 54th annual session of AALCO here last week, delegates from the member states explored issues such as the deportation of Palestinians, the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (Investment Treaties), international law in cyberspace, environment and sustainable development, violent extremism and terrorism, and law of the sea.

As broad and complex as these topics may seem, Dr Rahmat said the works of AALCO are closely related to the people.

“We do not live in a vacuum. International law is part of every individual’s life,” he said.

“In addition to what is happening within our own country, we must also pay attention to matters in the world.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who officiated at the annual session, proposed a China-AALCO exchange and research programme on international law.

He said the initiative, to be funded by China, would help develop AALCO and promote co-operation in international rule of law.

In his speech, Li said Asia and Africa have a combined GDP of US$29 trillion (RM105 trillion), accounting for 37.5% of the global total. It is a 47-fold increase compared to that of 1970.

He also proposed the Asian and African countries to, among others, deepen exchanges and co-operation on international legal system, and work together to meet global non-traditional security challenges.

The session also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. Representatives who spoke during the event agreed that the Bandung Spirit of peaceful co-existence and solidarity is still very much relevant in today’s world.

Check-in China by Tho Xin Yi

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

FireEye threats of cyber espionage loom with the coming 26th Asean Summit in Malaysia


Photo by hfuchs/Relaxnews.

PETALING JAYA: Regional government and military officials, businessmen and journalists involved with the coming 26th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur could be among the targets of a recently discovered cyber espionage group, claims an Internet security firm.

FireEye, which exposed the presence of the APT30 group of hackers snooping on governments and businesses, including those in South-East Asia, said some of its previous attacks had been launched before key Asean meetings.

“Based on previous experience, I believe that this group and possibly others will try to use that meeting (26th Asean Summit) as part of their ruse to potentially target businesses and governments in the region,” said Bryce Boland, FireEye’s chief technology officer for Asia Pacific in a telephone interview here yesterday.

In its report, FireEye, which is based in the United States, said APT30 had a distinct interest in organisations and governments associated with Asean.

The group had released a malware in the run-up to the 18th Asean Summit in Jakarta in 2011 and the Asean-India commemorative Summit in 2012.

One of the domain names it used to command its malware was aseanm.com

AFP had reported that the APT30 group was “most likely sponsored by China” and that there was no immediate reaction from the Chinese government, which had always denied allegations of cyber espionage.

The two-day Asean Summit from April 26 is expected to discuss various issues, including maritime disputes between China and Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea, and the formation of a single market and production base in the region.

“The hackers are after intelligence and information, primarily about political changes, political positions, especially over disputed territories, border disputes and trade negotiations,” said Boland.

“We have also seen that when they target journalists, they are specifically looking for information in relation to understanding concerns about the legitimacy of the PRC (People’s Republic of China),” he said.

The group has also attacked businesses to steal information on deals, manufacturing plans and intellectual property such as schematic diagrams.

According to the FireEye report, Malaysia is one of seven countries with targets hit by the group, which has operated largely undetected for the past 10 years.

Others are Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, India and the United States.

Boland said the group mostly attacked their targets via spear phishing emails with attachments that appeared to be from a known contact but were in reality sent by the hackers.

The attachment, which can be in the form of a document with an Asean-related title, will contain a customised malware that is activated the moment that it is opened.

It allows the attacker to gain control of the victim’s computer and retrieve information from it.

Boland advised computer users not to open suspicious e-mails.

“Businesses and governments should ensure that their IT infrastructure not only protects them from attacks but can detect the extent of damage done in the event of a successful hack.”

By Razak Ahmad The Star/Asia News Network

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Lee Kuan Yew’s meritocracy: a key reason for S’pore’s separation from Ma’sia, his quotable quotes..


Lee Kuan Yew_Strong

No one could accuse LKY of being weak

When he suddenly fathered a reluctant new nation, the iron was forged in him.

LEE Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore, has died at the age of 91.

He was born Harry Lee Kuan Yew on Sept 16, 1923 in Singapore. When he left England after graduating with a law degree from Cambridge University, he also left his English name behind.

In 1954, Lee formed the People’s Action Party (PAP). In 1959, at the age of 35, he won the national elections of Singapore, then still part of the British Empire, and became Prime Minister for the first time. After a brief merger with Malaysia, in 1965 the Republic of Singapore was born. Lee was PM until 1990 when he voluntarily stepped down, at age 67, to make way for a younger man.

It is a cliché, but it has to be said: the passing of Lee Kuan Yew is the passing of an era for Singapore and Singaporeans. A Singapore without LKY will take some adjusting to.

Older citizens will probably remember him with more affection and gratitude. Younger Singaporeans may attend the academic institutions and win scholarships that bear his name, but they will likely feel no particular affection or disdain, but rather, a vague admiration for the legendary leader whom they have been told was the architect of modern Singapore.

“I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind,” he once said. Perhaps he will be best remembered through his own words.

In 1980, he said, “Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him.” For him, it was in August 1965, when he suddenly fathered a reluctant new nation, that the iron was forged – from the fire in his belly to make Singapore succeed.

From that “moment of anguish”, he would “spend the rest of my life getting Singapore not just to work but to prosper and flourish.” Over the years, he would use that same steel to fight all forms of obstacles and undesirable dogma, prejudices and even personal habits.

He would go on to confront and battle challenges that included corruption, unemployment, poverty, communism, political opposition, smoking and at the end, his own deteriorating health.

His self-belief and devotion to the Singapore cause was intense and absolute: “This is your life and mine. I’ve spent a whole lifetime building this (country) and as long as I’m in charge, nobody is going to knock it down.”

He will be remembered for his ferocious fight against corruption. He believed vehemently, “The moment key leaders are less than incorruptible, less than stern in demanding high standards, from that moment, the structure of administrative integrity will weaken, and eventually crumble. Singapore can survive only if ministers and senior officers are incorruptible and efficient.”

He will be remembered for standing up for meritocracy. A key reason for Singapore’s separation in 1965 was Lee’s belief in multiracial meritocracy. He was utterly convinced that, “If you want Singapore to succeed…you must have a system that enables the best man and the most suitable to go into the job that needs them…”

Every time a Singaporean takes a ride in a bus along a tree-lined avenue, plays with her children in a park near their flat, or enjoys a picnic in Botanic Gardens, she might just think of Lee. He launched Tree Planting Day and “set out to transform Singapore into a tropical garden city.” He was completely certain that, “Greening raised the morale of people and gave them pride in their surroundings.”

Lee’s beliefs and ideas went on to mould not just the development of a small new country with no natural resources to speak of, but also, some would argue, the personal lives of its citizens. Under his leadership, his government implemented policies and ran campaigns to compel and urge Singaporeans to save water, to keep Singapore clean, to have two children, and later, to have three if they could afford it, and to speak Mandarin, among many other exhortations.

In response to critics who accused his government of interfering in the private lives and personal behaviours of the city-state’s inhabitants, he had this to say, “It has made Singapore a more pleasant place to live in. If this is a ‘nanny state’, I am proud to have fostered one.”

He will be remembered for the power of his convictions. “I have never been over concerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. I think a leader who is, is a weak leader.” No-one could accuse Lee Kuan Yew of being a weak leader.

Of his own accord, he relinquished the position of Prime Minister in 1990, but stayed on in government as Senior Minister and then Minister Mentor in the governments of both his successors, Goh Chok Tong and his own son, Lee Hsien Loong, the current Prime Minister. He retired from Cabinet in 2011 but remained a Member of Parliament.

For those who remember Lee Kuan Yew in his prime, no matter to which side of the political divide they belong, they will recall a perspicacious politician whose intellect found admirers far beyond the little red dot, a powerful orator whose words conquered crowds and carried generations of Singaporeans with him, and perhaps, most of all, a pragmatic visionary who, against all odds, made the improbable nation a reality.

Lee was known for his admiration, gratitude and devotion to his wife, the late Kwa Geok Choo. He is survived by his two sons, one daughter and seven grandchildren.

By Peggy Kek

Singaporean analyst Peggy Kek is a former director with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

Quotable quotes from Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew commenting on death: ‘There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach.’ – AFP pic, March 23, 2015

Here are some notable quotes from Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died Monday at the age of 91.

On Japan defeating Britain to occupy Singapore in 1942:

“The dark ages had descended on us. It was brutal, cruel.

“Looking back, it was the biggest single political education of my life because, for three and a half years, I saw the meaning of power and how power and politics and government went together, and I also understood how people trapped in a power situation responded because they had to live.

“One day the British were there, immovable, complete masters; next day, the Japanese, whom we derided, mocked as short, stunted people with short-sighted squint eyes.”

After World War II when the British were trying to reestablish control:

“… the old mechanisms had gone and the old habits of obedience and respect (for the British) had also gone because people had seen them run away (from the Japanese) … they packed up. We were supposed, the local population was supposed to panic when the bombs fell, but we found they panicked more than we did. So it was no longer the old relationship.”

As a law student in Britain:

“Here in Singapore, you didn’t come across the white man so much. He was in a superior position.

“But there you are (in Britain) in a superior position meeting white men and white women in an inferior position, socially, I mean. They have to serve you and so on in the shops. I saw no reason why they should be governing me; they’re not superior. I decided when I got back, I was going to put an end to this.”

On opinion polls:

“I have never been overconcerned or obsessed with opinion polls or popularity polls. A leader who is, is a weak leader. If you are concerned with whether your rating will go up or down, then you are not a leader. You are just catching the wind … you will go where the wind is blowing. That’s not what I am in this for.”

On his iron-fisted governing style:

“Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try.”

On his political opponents:

“If you are a troublemaker… it’s our job to politically destroy you… Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”

On democracy:

“You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools.”

On justice:

“We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don’t do that, the country would be in ruins.”

On his policy of matching male and female university graduates to produce smart babies:

“If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society… So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem.”

On criticism over the high pay of cabinet ministers and senior civil servants:

“The cure for all this talk is a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you’ll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again… and your asset values will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people’s countries, foreign workers.”

On religion:

“I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. I neither deny nor accept that there is a God. So I do not laugh at people who believe in God. But I do not necessarily believe in God – nor deny that there could be one.”

On his wife of 63 years, Kwa Geok Choo, who died in October 2010:

“Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life… I should find solace in her 89 years of a life well-lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.”

On death:

“There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach.”

On rising up from his grave if something goes wrong in Singapore:

“Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me to the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up.”

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LIMA 2015, Malaysia’s best maritime & Aerospace show so far


LIma 2015_Najib-Best maritine show

Impressive : Najib (centre) with (from left) Liow, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation deputy general manager Bill Ren, China Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang, Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and China Defence Attache Senior Colonel Chen Wei looking at an aircraft carrier model at the corporation’s booth at LIMA 2015.

Najib: Best maritime show

LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hailed this year’s edition of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2015), which sees the participation of a record-breaking 512 companies from 36 countries, as the best since its inception in 1991.

A total of 110 planes and 78 vessels are also on display.

He said the number of participating companies this year exceeded the 433 registered for the last edition two years ago.

“LIMA 2015 has seen many firsts and, with the much diverse exhibition this time around, it is the best LIMA we have ever had,” he said at the opening ceremony at the tarmac of the Langkawi International Airport here.

He said LIMA had come a long way since its inception in 1991 when he, as the defence minister then, was tasked by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to organise the first LIMA show.

Najib quipped that he had had a far more difficult task organising the first edition of LIMA than the present Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had experienced in organising the latest edition.

“I had to build from ground zero, including ensuring that a hotel was constructed in 50 days,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Najib also launched the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint (2015-2030), and signed a plaque which symbolised its launch, which focuses on the country’s aspirations to become the leading aerospace nation in South-East Asia by 2030.

Najib said Malaysia’s aerospace industry is projected to contribute RM32.5bil in revenue and provide 32,000 high-income jobs by 2030.

“Last year, the industry generated RM19bil in revenue, RM4.2bil in investment and provided over 19,500 jobs.

“To underline the Government’s commitment to this vision, the Cabinet recently approved the establishment of the National Aerospace Coordinating Agency.”

The agency will be tasked with implementing the blueprint and will become the new secretariat for the Malaysian Aerospace Council, he said.

Najib also said that in 2013 alone, the shipbuilding and ship repair industry recorded a turnover of RM8.36bil.

Also present during the opening ceremony were Dr Mahathir, Cabinet ministers, including Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and other dignitaries.

Female PLA pilots put up memorable aerobatic show

LANGKAWI: All eyes were on China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aerobatic team when the all-female pilots of the republic’s air force performed stunts in their Chengdu J-10 fighter jets here.Lima 2015_PLA female pilots aerobatic show

In the spotlight: (from left) Xiali, Yu Xu, Yifei and Jiali taking a break under the shade on the tarmac at LIMA 2015.

The four women were excited to take part in the world-famous aerospace and maritime venue of Langkawi.

Yu Xu, Tao Jiali, He Xiaoli and Sheng Yifei, all 28, promised that they would give a memorable show to the audience.

He said LIMA was a good platform for them to learn from the pilots from other countries.

“It’s an eye-opening experience for us,” she said in an interview yesterday.

The four pilots are part of PLA air force’s August First aerobatic team. Langkawi is the second of their overseas show after Moscow’s International Aviation and Space Salon in 2013. It is also the four pilots’ maiden flight overseas.

China has deployed seven J-10 jets to LIMA 2015.

Having joined the air force in 2005, Yu, Tao, He and Sheng have accumulated more than 800 hours of flight experience.

“We train hard for our performance and flying the fighter jets requires us to be extremely fit,” Yu said.

“Being women, we have to put in more effort and go the extra mile in our physical training to be able to withstand the stress on our bodies.”

“The stunts in aerobatic display are highly challenging and risky. We have to be precise and calm when executing the moves.”

The Star/Asia News Network

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China’s first female J-10 pilots make overseas debut – CCTV …

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Four female fighter pilots from China pose for photos in Langkawi, Malaysia on Mar 17, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhang Wenzong) 【1】【2】【3】【4】【5】【6】【7】【8】【9】【10】【11】【12】 Female fighter  pilots claim their half of sky

German Chancellor: Japan needs honesty to improve relations with victims of World War II


Angela Merkel: I think history and experience tell us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found

TOKYO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded into the fraught area of wartime forgiveness during a visit to Japan, saying that “facing history squarely” and “generous gestures” are necessary to mend ties.

Merkel was speaking in Tokyo on March 9 2015 ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative views on Tokyo’s war crimes are under scrutiny, and as China and South Korea continue to call for more contrition.

“Germany was lucky to be accepted into the community of nations after the horrible experience the world had to meet with Germany during the period of National Socialism (Nazism) and the Holocaust,” she said.

“This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after WWII would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past.

“One of the great achievements of the time certainly was reconciliation between Germany and France … the French have given just as valuable a contribution as the Germans have.”

Relations between Japan and its wartime victims China and South Korea are at a low point, with Beijing and Seoul both calling for Tokyo to do more to atone for its past.

Nationalists in Japan say Tokyo has apologised enough and that the constant references to WWII are covering flak for governments in China and South Korea seeking to direct popular anger elsewhere.

There were “great minds and great personalities who said we ought to adopt a policy of rapprochement … and without these generous gestures by our neighbours this would not have been possible,” Merkel told her audience.

The public lecture came on the first day of a two-day trip to Tokyo, her first in seven years.

Abe visited Germany last year.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday said Abe would be welcome at Beijing’s commemorations of the end of WWII if he was “sincere” about history.

Beijing has not given a specific date for the parade but it regards Sept 3, the day after Japan signed its formal surrender to Allied forces on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, as victory day.

“It’s difficult for me as the German chancellor to give you advice on how to deal with part of your neighbourhood. But I think history and experience tell us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found,” Merkel said in response to questions.

Merkel’s visit to Japan is part of her swing through G7 member nations before Germany hosts the group’s next summit in June. She has already visited the other five nations.

The visit, her third to Japan in almost 10 years in office, is seen as a balancing act between Germany’s ties with Beijing and Tokyo. She has been to China seven times during the same period.

Thanking Japan for joining Western powers in imposing sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine, Merkel said: “Japan and Germany share common interests whenever the strengthening of the international rule of law is to be brought about.” — AFP

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You are ‘Stupid’ is not defamatory


Jeff Ooi

PUTRAJAYA: Calling a person “stupid and recalcitrant” does not amount to defamation, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, who chaired a three-man panel, held this in a civil appeal brought forward by Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi (pic) against a politician over the dismissal of Ooi’s defamation suit.

Justice Mohd Hishamudin ruled Thursday that “although it was not nice to use the words”, it did not amount to defamation.

On April 22 last year, Ooi’s defamation suit against Gerakan deputy secretary-general Dr Thor Teong Gee for calling the former “stupid and recalcitrant” at a press conference was dismissed by the Penang High Court.

Justice Mohd Hishamudin, who upheld the High Court’s ruling in an unanimous decision, also ordered Ooi to pay RM10,000 to the defendant in costs.

In the coram were Court of Appeal judges Justice David Wong Dak Wah and Justice Vernon Ong Lam Kiat.

At the outset of court proceedings when queried by Justice Mohd Hishamudin, Ooi’s lawyer R. Ramesh Sivakumar argued that those words were defamatory because they were a personal attack on the credibility of his client.

Ramesh Sivakumar argued that Dr Thor had acted mala fide by using those words.

“He could have used better words. By calling him stupid, he was portrayed as not fit to be an MP,” he added.

However, Dr Thor’s counsel Baljit Singh and V. Amareson were not required to submit in the appeal.

In an immediate response, Dr Thor said he was very grateful for the appellate court’s decision as he had never made a personal attack against Ooi.

“An NGO invited me to give a professional views on medical issues on radiation,” said Dr Thor, who is a Penang-based medical doctor, when contacted.

In her ruling earlier, High Court Judicial Commissioner Nurmala Salim said Ooi had failed to state the alleged defamatory words in the original language, which was in Mandarin, in his statement of claim.

She also held that the words used by the defendant Dr Thor in the press conference were in reference to a radiation issue, and not a personal attack against Ooi.

“I am inclined to concur with the defendant’s (Dr Thor) counsel that the words uttered are commonly used by Malaysians of all races during an argument or when one is angry,” she said in her decision.

She also said the court did not see how the words had sullied Ooi’s reputation and office, as he had earned a bigger majority of votes in the 2013 general election compared with the general election in 2008.

“The plaintiff (Ooi) himself had refused to state how the words had tarnished his office and reputation,” she said, before dismissing the suit and ordering Ooi to pay RM20,000 in costs to Dr Thor.

Ooi sued Dr Thor for defamation for allegedly uttering the words “stupid and recalcitrant” against him in a press conference on May 21, 2010.

He sought aggravated and exemplary damages, a retraction and an apology by Dr Thor, as well as costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

By M. Mageswari The Star/Asia News Network


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Missing flight MH370 anniversary, plane hijacked by conspiracy theories!

A year on, lack of hard facts, initial confusion and overnight ‘experts’ add to fog of uncertainty KUALA LUMPUR: It’s been ex...


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Missing flight MH370 anniversary, plane hijacked by conspiracy theories!


A year on, lack of hard facts, initial confusion and overnight ‘experts’ add to fog of uncertainty

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s been exactly a year since Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and despite the most extensive search in aviation history, the fate of the Boeing 777 aircraft and the 239 people on board remains a mystery.

While the search led by Australia in the depths of the Indian Ocean continues, how and why a sophisticated aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew vanished without a trace has piqued the curiosity of many.

The authorities and aviation experts remain baffled. They believe only the plane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders can shed light on why the plane was diverted from its original path and headed south across the vast Indian Ocean.

The lack of hard facts and the initial confusion when the plane was declared missing gave rise to a flood of anecdotal “evidence” and a crop of overnight aviation “experts” basking in their two minutes of fame.

Numerous conspiracy theories over the fate of flight MH370 have been appearing ever since, with none providing a credible clue on what could have really transpired.

In the run up to the first anniversary of MH370′s disappearance, conspiracy theorists went into overdrive.

The latest was Jeff Wise, a science journalist and author, who claimed that the plane was hijacked on the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin and flown to a remote landing strip in Kazakhstan.

But why would Putin want to hijack a Malaysian plane in the first place?

On March 3, a senior Boeing 777 pilot claimed that flight MH370 was taken on an emotional last farewell ride over the pilot’s home island of Penang, before the pilot ditched the plane into the ocean.

Captain Simon Hardy who came up with this theory, published in Flight International magazine, is based on the initial suspicion that the MH370′s Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah could have turned rogue and deliberately flown the plane off course.

But there is nothing to substantiate this claim.

In December 2014, a former French airline boss Marc Dugain in a six page article in Paris Match claimed that the US might have shot down flight MH370 as it approached the US military base on the Diego Garcia atoll in the western Indian Ocean, fearing a 9/11 style attack on the base.

The US military is said to have covered up the incident.

Immediately, the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur stated that there was no indication that flight MH370 had flown near the US military facility in the first place.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed, too, had his own idea: just two months after the plane disappeared, he wrote in his blog that “someone” must have remotely seized control of the aircraft from the pilots.

He based his argument on a supposed patent received by Boeing in 2006 for an “anti-terrorism auto-land system” that, once activated, removed all control from the pilots to return a commercial airliner to a pre-determined landing location. But Dr Mahathir failed to mention who that “someone” could be behind the plot. So back to square one.

Everything on board the plane, including its cargo and passengers, came under suspicion right from the onset.

Conspiracy theorists claimed that the plane was carrying dangerous cargo that caused a fire on board or crippled the plane’s operating systems.

Among the items in the cargo manifest were highly flammable lithium ion batteries. Did the batteries have anything to do with the plane’s fate like the fire in South African Airways’ Flight 295 in 1987?

Other conspiracy theorists focussed on the 20 employees of Freestyle, a Texas based semiconductor manufacturing company; the equipment they were carrying had radar-blocking capabilities developed by the company, thus crippling the plane’s systems, these theorists claimed.

Fingers were also pointed at two Iranians on the passenger list who boarded the plane with forged travel documents. Could they have been terrorists who hijacked the plane to an unknown destination or sabotaged the plane?

But Interpol revealed that the pair had no links with any terrorist groups and were on their way to seek asylum in Europe.

And of course there were the out-of-this-world conspiracy theories. The plane was hijacked by aliens. A Malaysian bomoh claimed the plane was hijacked by elves and was permanently suspended in the air.

Two months after the plane disappeared, Indian film director Rupesh Paul put up a trailer for a film about MH370 at the Cannes Film Festival, to be called “The Vanishing Act: The Untold Story of the Missing Malaysian Plane”.

CNN, which had given the MH370 story its full wall-to-wall treatment, described it tellingly: “If the Cannes Film Festival had an award for most squirm-inducing production, it would surely go to the producers of a new thriller telling the “real” story of the still-missing Malaysian Airlines jet.”

National Geographic turned out a documentary that was more cautious in its approach visualising all possibilities including a catastrophic failure of aircraft systems or structure. But there are not definitive answers.

The confusion in the first days of the aircraft’s disappearance led to parallels with conspiracy theories about the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, mainly that the government had covered up crucial information in the aftermath of the incident.

LOOKING BACK: THE FINAL MOMENTS OF MH370

* Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370 departs from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang at 12.41 am to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew. It was a code sharing flight with China Southern Airlines.

At the helm of the Boeing 777-200 ER was veteran pilot Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

The passengers include 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, six Australians, three French, four Americans, two from Ukraine, New Zealand and Canada respectively and one each from Russia, Taiwan, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.

Less than one hour into the flight, as the plane approached the Igari Waypoint, in South China Sea, where it was to be handed over to the Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control, it disappeared from the radar screen.

“Good night Malaysian three seven zero” were the last words spoken from the cockpit. No distress signal received.

Subesequently the plane was tracked by Malaysian military radar as it deviated from its planned flight path and crossed the Malay Peninsula and headed towards the Andaman Sea.

Communications pings between the aircraft and Inmarsat’s satellite network concluded that the flight continued until 8:19 am towards southern Indian Ocean. However, the precise location could not be determined.

A major multinational search was mounted without success. Australia leads the second phase of the search with the cost mounting.

– BERNAMA/FMT

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