Malaysia’s Parliament held an emergency session and unanimously approved a motion condemning those who are responsible for shooting down the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which killed 298 passengers and crew members. The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by a missile in the eastern part of Ukraine on July 17.
The motion also urged for a “comprehensive investigation to be carried out to bring those responsible to justice.” In a rare moment in Malaysian politics, leaders of the ruling and opposition parties have set aside partisan politics to pass this resolution.
The opposition also praised Prime Minister Najib Razak for his success in clinching a deal with east Ukraine rebels that allowed Malaysia to secure the MH17 black box and the remains of the victims. On his Facebook page, Najib defended his secret negotiations with the rebels:
These were extraordinary circumstances which called for extraordinary measures. There were risks involved in pursuing this agreement. But we felt an obligation to explore all avenues to break the impasse, and secure the return of the remains and the black boxes. After meeting the families, I felt that we owed it to them to act.
Wee Choo Keong, Member of Parliament for Wangsa Maju, appreciated how Najib has refused to accuse any nation or government for the fatal shooting of MH17:
Under normal circumstances, the “popular” or easiest way out for any PM was to go along with the power that be by condemning another nation on the shooting down of MH17 but our PM did not embark on such irresponsible act.
But Stanley Isaacs feels that the government’s reaction has been “too mild and inadequate”:
The government's reaction is diplomatic, too mild and inadequate against such a horrible crime as this against innocent civilians being transported in its national airline.
Ordinary Malaysians have been holding protest actions demanding justice for the victims of the MH17 crash.
— Amir Adlan (@amiradlanbadrie) July 22, 2014
— Sumisha Naidu (@sumishanaidu) July 23, 2014
No party has claimed responsibility for the MH17 crash although Ukraine and Russia have been accusing each other of being the guilty perpetrators of the fatal shooting of the plane.
Dzulkefly Ahmad, a former MP from Kuala Selangor, advised the government not to be influenced by the ‘big powers’:
A small nation like ours shouldn’t be cowed into submission by bigger powers through aggression or subversion. Remain independent and genuinely sovereign.
Law teacher Azmi Sharom wants those who fired the missile to be brought to justice. On the leading Malaysian English-language news site The Star, the columnist writes:
This is what I know. A missile shot down MH17.
Somewhere out there, someone or a group of people have killed close to three hundred people. I also know that the scene of the crime has been tainted, probably beyond any salvation, by a group of thugs with automatic rifles.
But the tragedy has also united Malaysia. This was noted by V Shuman on the popular Malaysian citizen media site The Daily Ant:
This tragedy has united Malaysians in grieving, across racial and religious divide as well as political leanings. We see, after a long time, a rare occasion where politicians and their supporters, and even racial and religious bigots, have stopped spouting nonsense and bickering among themselves.
The MH17 crash took place just four months after Malaysian Airlines MH370, which was carrying 237 passengers, disappeared from radar during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.