malaysiakini published a letter from Rozmal Malakan titled Ayah ku dan helikopter Nuri in which she, re-living her life as an army kid, described the frightening age of the RMAF’s Nuri helicopter.
She provided quite a comprehensive description of the RMAF’s fleet and her impression of how the Nuri, acquired since ‘antiquity’ is still flying when other aircraft types have been replaced.
She was of course commenting on the recent tragic crash of a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) helicopter where all six on board sadly perished. She concluded her letter with:
"Jika masa dahulu ketika Nuri masih baru, hati ku sebagai anak seorang perajurit sentiasa berdebar-debar menantikan kepulangan ayah dari operasi, apatah lagi sekarang ini seorang isteri, seorang anak menanti-nantikan kepulangan suami atau ayah mereka daripada menjalankan operasi dengan menggunakan pesawat Nuri? Fikir-fikirkanlah."
Very loose translation placed within context of letter: "Even when the Nuri was new, we as children of a soldier awaited our dad’s return from operations by the Nuri with beating hearts. What more then with an aged Nuri today, for other families of soldiers who too await the return of their loved ones in such a helicopter. Consider their worries."
Very subtle but nonetheless a veiled criticism of the use of an old Nuri aircraft.
But in an earlier malaysiakini letter by Helpless Anak Malaysia posted on Thursday, a none too subtle accusation of Six lives could have been saved if ... launched straight into condemnation of, guess who, yes, DPM Najib for seeing 'fit to continue allowing our air force to fly the Nuris after nearly four decades in operation.'
Apart from also using the opportunity to dig at a submarine deal (involving guess again who, yes, the DPM and Razak Baginda), the letter attributed the crash and thus the six lives to the Defence Ministry's decision to continue operating the Nuris.
Can we criticise a politician like DPM Najib? Most certainly, all politicians who have issued bad policies or not issued good policies are fair game in a democratic system. But we need to ask what's the criticism about? Was there a failed policy? Have we confirmed yet (to a reasonable degree) that his failed policy had brought about the Nuri Crash?
An air crash could stem from a variety of causes, and the case of the Nuri accident is yet to be determined in a professional manner by aviation accident investigation experts.
That's right, we are yet to know whether the accident had been the cause of technical problems, structural failure, weather, procedural errors, human factors, etc, or a combination of the mentioned factors.
But we already have a pre-emptive strike against Najib.
Given that a certain political party has taken to even exploiting hearsay evidence about a (up to now, non-existent) photograph in a murder trial to target Najib, with its shameless grubbiness manifested in a doctored photograph, one cannot help but sense the usual poo-smearing bull has begun again.
Yes, I get bad vibes that Helpless Anak Malaysia's pre-emptive and highly ill-informed accusations could be politically driven. They would be akin to the pronouncements of those American frontier days' vigilante corp, where an accused was guilty until proven innocent, assuming he or she could do it before the immediate execution by hanging or shooting.
I suppose desperate times for a desperate party requires shonky desperate measures.
We all know the aim of that party’s questionable and immoral campaign has been to embarrass, and hopefully destroy Najib politically. Perception is everything in politics - truth or facts aren't important.
It is noteworthy to mention here that by contrast, the leader of that opposition party has avoided criticising PM AAB or SIL, or if they had been made, were very circumspect, just a light tap on the wrist (maybe even a friendly caress).
And I was informed that Australian viewers heard from a world renown reformist in a recent TV interview that PM AAB is somewhat 'compassionate' - how touching!
Thus the seeming selective targeting of Najib has made even more plausible the GAN conspiracy theory that we learn from Raja Petra Kamarudin Malaysia-Today.
Of course criticism of any BN leader by an opposition party is part of the democratic process, but two things stood out like the proverbial in this particular example – (1) AAB and SIL have been left virtually untouched, and (2) the criticisms against Najib have been based on hearsay evidence or as yet undetermined findings, with even a recent demand by that party for Najib to produce the alleged photograph and explain his involvement.
Now, that last silly demand may sound moronic, but in fact has been part of an ongoing campaign to blacken Najib’s name, politically of course, for in truth I doubt there is genuine interest in justice per se for Altantuyaa. Obviously the objective seems to be to maintain the sensationalising and 'rage' against Najib (and bugger the evidence) for political benefits.
And as mentioned earlier, 'ere the investigation into the accident has been completed we get a so-called expert telling us that those six unfortunate lives could have been saved if a newer helicopter type had been used by the RMAF.
The fact is that properly maintained older generation aircraft are not by themselves a safety problem. Many air forces around the world including the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have operated and still do these older generation aircraft. For example, the RAAF operated the venerable C-47, a military version of the DC-3, for more than 50 years, from the early 1940's until the last two were retired in 1999.
Then there are the (comparatively younger than the C-47 but quite old) Caribou aeroplanes which saw service in the RAAF in 1964 during the Vietnam War and are still operating today. The RAAF Caribous are a lot older than the RMAF Nuris which only entered Malaysian service around 1968. Some Nuri airframes are actually much younger than 1968, when they were bought to add to an explanding Nuri fleet in later years
So, the condemnation of Najib for allowing the RMAF to continue using the Nuri had been premature but WTF, the aim has never been about truth but more about getting Najib (but not AAB or SIL).
Such premature or politically driven allegations are immoral and unprincipled for the reason they would unnecessarily and unfairly intrude into the private bereavement of the flight crew's families, and unjustifiably aggravate their tragic distress for their monumental loss. How would those families feel when they believe Helpless Anak Malaysia’s words? So he shed some crocodile tears for the unfortunate families but alas, what a grubby letter to unscrupulously exploit a tragedy and possibly set the families' griefing into greater despair.
Yes, I regret these unconscionable political exploitations of human tragedies. They are really tactics best consigned to the gutters. It has assumed a hue not unlike the nonsensical '50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM' and the political crucifixion of Tengku Razaleigh because of his innocuous wearing of a Sabahan headgear.
We now witness similar contemptible campaigning by the opposition party.
So, how can such a party offer itself as a better political alternative when it wallows in the same sort of cesspool, not forgetting the unbelievable existence of a de facto leader in a party which has the brazen nerve to preach about democracy and due process.
Indeed, the acorn does not fall far from the oak tree.