The heart-rending uncertainty over the fate of passengers and crew of the missing MH 370 Malaysian Airlines flight has come to be overlaid with an unmistakable patina of civilisational pique, severely at odds with the massive international effort underway to trace the airliner that disappeared over a week ago. Some of the world’s most reputed media organisations beaming round-the-clock news seem distraught that Malaysian authorities have not tied themselves into knots and made the mess usually associated with bumbling non-west governments when faced with a challenge fraught with human, diplomatic, strategic and political consequences.
Even as the Malaysian government seems to be going about the investigations in a methodical and logical fashion, soliciting and drafting expert international cooperation at the cost of compromising its national security, it has displayed extraordinary care in handing the media front of this unprecedented crisis and the legitimate demand for information from the kin of those onboard the missing plane. In sharp contrast to some outlandish and wild speculation from sundry quarters, not the least a top US diplomat, Malaysian authorities have been highly scrupulous in divulging information, something which, if tardily done, could have disastrous implications in a world now accustomed to instant and flashing news.
The Malaysian government’s extreme circumspection in releasing information cannot be faulted in view of the human sensitivities involved. Imagine the plight of the thousands of agonised relatives, friends and neighbours of the MH 370 passengers if authorities jumped the gun for the sake of predatory and news-hungry media by releasing information and shortly having to retract it as incorrect. The government concerned has made it clear again and again that it has given out information only after thorough verification and confirmation. Every reasonable mind would concur. The Malaysian government owes it to the families of the MHA 370 passengers not to raise false hopes, heighten expectations and give misleading information.
What seems to have got the goat of several major western news networks is the composure, authority and impeccable order the Malays have brought to bear in facing the world during this nerve-wracking trial. Hence the western media’s repeated and focussed reportage and commentary (read ill-disguised criticism and implications of inefficiency) on the Malaysian government’s purported inability to come up with facts. That the government of a predominantly Muslim nation has not made a spectacle of itself in front of the world, not spoken in several, contradictory and conflicting voices, and talked in international language has apparently been too much to stomach for forces trying their level best to hand over Muslim peoples to bearded freaks chanting Praise Be to the Lord (in Arabic) after every blunder, or atrocity.