From Malaysiakini's Yoursay (extracts of one reader who wrote in):
Gerard Lourdesamy: Are we a satellite of Russia now? Or has Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad become the pet poodle of Russian President Vladimir Putin?
I was on this flight a few months before it was shot down. The Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine had been shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft on a regular basis in the weeks before MH17 was downed. Why would the Ukrainians shoot down their own aircraft or MH17?
Both Russia and Ukraine have BUK missiles in their arsenal. The difference being that most Ukrainian missile batteries are kept in Western Ukraine. MH17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine that is de facto under rebel control. The rebels armed with BUK missile launchers are based in Eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border.
The Russians also have BUK missiles on their side of the border with Ukraine and in occupied Crimea. The trajectory of the missile suggests that it was fired from territory in Eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border which is under rebel control.
It could not have been fired from Ukrainian army batteries in Western Ukraine because of the sheer distance the missile would have had to travel to hit MH17.
The Ukrainian airspace is under the control of the Ukraine government ATC (air traffic control). They tracked MH17 while it was flying over Ukrainian airspace until it disappeared. The ATC would have confirmed with the Ukrainian air force that MH17 was a civilian commercial airliner. So it is very unlikely that the Ukrainians would have shot down the plane by mistake.
The main culprits are the Russian-backed rebels who are very poorly trained but equipped with high-end military hardware provided by the Russians. These rebels had been shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft using Russian-made missiles, including BUKs, in the weeks before MH17 was hit.
It was probably some incompetent rebel commander who ordered the firing of the BUK missile that destroyed MH17. When their "mistake" was discovered the BUK missile launcher was quickly sent back over the border to Russia where it first originated from in order to cover up the incident and extricate Russia from the mess that they had created by arming these rebels.
Mahathir would be singing a different tune if his children or grandchildren were killed on MH17. At least, show some respect for the families of the dead passengers and crew from Malaysia and other countries, including the 80 children who died in the crash.
Increasingly, Mahathir makes despotic and idiotic comments that underlie his hate for the West and his love of authoritarian leaders and dictatorships. Putin being a case in point.
This is not a case about politics but a humanitarian disaster. Does Mahathir also disbelieve that the Russians shot down Korean Air Lines Flight KAL007 in 1983? The problem with Mahathir has always been his preconceived notions and his dogged belief in what he thinks must be the truth.
The international team of investigators have been investigating the MH17 tragedy for the last five years. They have been professional and meticulous. They have amassed a wealth of data and evidence, both direct and circumstantial. Malaysia was part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
The black box did not reveal anything out of the ordinary, except a high impact catastrophic event involving the aircraft. Basically, the pilots were instantly killed when the BUK missile detonated just outside the cockpit causing missile fragments to tear the skin of the aircraft causing it to break up in mid-air into pieces before crashing into the ground over a wide area.
Mahathir is finding excuses to exonerate the Russians because of trade relations and his personal ties to Putin. Is Russia a beacon of democracy and human rights? Go and see how they treat their Muslim minorities there, let alone political dissidents of the Putin regime.
Sadly, our PM is proving to be an embarrassment when he opens his mouth at home and abroad. Why are the other Pakatan Harapan leaders keeping quiet and not disagreeing with him? If the JIT has reached a finding and the Dutch want to prosecute the suspects, who is Mahathir to say otherwise?
I am convinced that Mahathir is nothing but a demagogue who will protect even the worst genocidal leaders if they are his friends. The sooner this man steps down or is removed as PM, the better it is for this country.