MP SPEAKS It is an emotional struggle to write this. We have barely recovered from the disappearance of flight MH370 in March. Four months later, another Malaysian flight has been shot down, killing close to 300 people. This is not the time for blame games. It’s also not the time to go snooping for faults or point fingers.

 

But I wish Prime Minister Najib Razak was more assertive in dealing with this national tragedy. For example, he could have called for an emergency parliamentary sitting earlier as opposed to this Wednesday.

 

I understand that things were murky when Najib called for a press conference early Friday morning. But emerging details are pointing out the Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine as those who shot down the plane.

 

The US president has made a strong announcement cautioning Russia. And even before Barack Obama spoke to the media, Australian premier, Tony Abbot, summoned the Russian ambassador to his office.

 

We are yet to see anything along the same drift from Najib.

 

I hope Najib does not behave in an equally complacent fashion on Wednesday, when all lawmakers meet in Parliament.

 

The situation is dire. The crash site is under the control of pro- Russian rebels, who fired their guns close to where an international team of investigators was working.

 

Clearly, there is so much groundwork that needs to be done before the investigations can be conducted efficiently. Firstly there has to be a safe working environment for the investigators.

 

The Malaysian Parliament needs to look at these issues closely on Wednesday. We need to send a clear message to international governments and organizations, lobbying them to pressure.

Parliament must send clear message

 

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to stop his support for the violent separatists. Putin is in the best position to initiate a dialogue between the rebel groups, Ukrainian government, Russian government, the United States, United Nations and other relevant bodies to end this conflict, which is aimed at destabilizing Ukraine.

 

Therefore, as a first step, Putin has to stop arming the groups as a way of forcing them to lay down weapons and sit at a negotiation table.

Come Wednesday, we need to collectively send these messages to the outside world or the meeting would be a complete waste of time.

 

If efforts to rein in Putin do not materialise, I suggest sanctions be imposed against Russia. Specifically, the international community could lobby FIFA to find another host nation to replace Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup soccer games.

 

We, as a country, woke up Friday morning to devastating news. We are grappling to deal with two plane crashes in a span of four months. We are struggling to come to terms with the loss of lives.

 

But it’s heartwarming to see and read messages of solidarity on social networking sides. It’s emotionally rewarding to see the better side of Malaysians in the face of adversity.

 

I also take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of all the passengers and crew members on board MH17, two of whom come from my constituency.


CHARLES SANTIAGO is Member of Parliament, Klang.

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