Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malaysia: Bad Karma, Much of It Self-Inflicted, Continues to Plaque Prime Minister

According to The Malaysia Chronicle, in another security fallout that is likely to further rock Prime Minister Najib Razak's beleaguered government, a Japanese vessel was robbed by armed pirates wielding pistols and machetes just sixteen nautical miles off Pulau Ketam, a Malaysian fishing village and weekend-tourist spot.

According to national news agency Bernama, the captain and crew did not suffer any injury during the illegal boarding, but three of the eighteen-member crew were abducted.

"I hope Najib will accept responsibility and not blame the latest fiasco on anonymous quarters seeking to sabotage Malaysia-Japan ties," Opposition lawmaker Tian Chua told The Malaysia Chronicle. 

The opposition leader was referring to the recent abduction of a Chinese tourist from a Sabah island resort, which Najib, facing super-bad bad press coverage over his government's botched handling of MH370, has attempted to unsuccessfully mitigate.

COMMENT: Indeed, it will be tough for the Najib regime to explain the latest breach in Malaysian security, particularly the piracy of the Japanese vessel and three hostages being taken.

The Prime Minister should acknowledge that his embattled government "screwed the pooch" on the disappearance of Flight MH370, which may irreparably sabotage his government in terms Malaysia's credibility in international aviation for the foreseeable future.

According to CNN, Malaysian Airlines stock has plummeted as much as 20% since the Boeing 777 disappeared and the likelihood that MH will face lawsuits for years which could force the carrier into bankruptcy.
Opposition leader Tian has viably characterized the Najb government as a structurally weak government,  outdated processes, corruption, inefficiency and incompetence in our security institutions."

Worse, the pirates that overpowered the Japanese vessel siphoned off two million liters (528,344 gallons) worth US$1,384,261.28 of diesel from the Japanese vessel during the early morning hours of April 23.

At the time the Japanese vessel was hijacked the vessel was en-route from Singapore to Myanmar. 

Port Klang Marine Police commanding officer DSP Norzaid Muhammad Said said the hijackers siphoned off the fuel to two tankers, taking between seven and eight hours to transfer the fuel, after confining the crew, including the captain.

It is unclear as to whether the hijackers were Malaysian, Indonesian or from the Philippines.

The above being said, while counting the crew, the captain discovered that three Indonesian crew members were missing. It is unknown whether they had been kidnapped or were co-conspirators in the hijacking.