News / Asia

    Malaysia Plane Disappearance Prompts Security Discussion

    An airport security officer (L) checks a passenger's passport and boarding pass at Taipei Songshan Airport on March 10, 2014.
    An airport security officer (L) checks a passenger's passport and boarding pass at Taipei Songshan Airport on March 10, 2014.
    It is still unclear why a Malaysia passenger jet vanished on its way to China early Saturday from Kuala Lumpur. But as authorities investigate apparent security lapses, analysts say they should be a catalyst for bolstering airline safety in the region. 
     
    The little information that has emerged from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has frustrated increasingly desperate families and authorities who are still searching for the plane.

    In Malaysia Monday, transport minister Hishammuddin Bin Tun Hussein urged people to refrain from repeating rumors until authorities are able to verify what happened.
     
    "I would like to plea, make a plea, especially to the media and the public at large, not to spread and disseminate unverified and false news for two reasons, One because it affects our exercise of search and rescue because unverified news or false news will distract us from work at hand," said Hussein. "And secondly to be fair to the families who are hoping against hope."
     
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    While search efforts are intensifying, authorities continue to investigate the identities of two passengers on board the plane who were traveling with stolen passports. Malaysian officials also say five other individuals checked in, but did not board the flight.

    According to authorities, all of the bags belonging to those five passengers were removed from the plane before it took off.

    The suspicious passengers have naturally raised speculation about broader security problems for the region’s air travel industry.

    Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based terrorism expert says that while it is too early to say what ultimately caused the plane to go down, the fact that passengers got on board with stolen passports was a security breach.

    Interpol database

    In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Interpol set up a database to notify governments worldwide when a passport is lost or stolen. Gunaratna says it is a tool that is critical for governments to use.
     
    "If they don't use the database, and if governments don't input data that means they are not doing their best service for the safety and security of those who are traveling," Gunaratna said.
     
    Interpol has already confirmed two of the passports used were stolen and says it is looking into other suspect passports used to board the flight.

    Terrorist threats in Asia have been considered low compared to those in Europe and the United States. But Gunaratna says the disappearance of the Malaysia to China flight could change airlines’ security posture in the region.

    “I believe the downing of this airline should be a catalyst should be a lightning rod for other governments to take the threat of such incidents seriously," Gunaratna said.

    It remains unclear what security lapses occurred that allowed the passengers to board the plane using passports that had been reported stolen.  

    While some have been quick to speculate that the passport thefts could indicate terrorism might be at play, others have noted that it is also very likely the passengers were illegal migrants or individuals involved in criminal activity, and may have had nothing to do with the flight’s disappearance.

    • A relative of Norliakmar Hamid and Razahan Zamani, passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane, cries at their house in Kuala Lumpur.
    • A man takes pictures of a flight information board displaying the Scheduled Time of Arrival (STA) of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (top, in red) at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Mar. 8, 2014.
    • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries, surrounded by journalists, at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China.
    • This screengrab from flightradar24.com shows the last reported position of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
    • In this photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Western Command PIO, Filipino government troopers look at a map as they continue the search for the missing plane of Malaysian Airlines at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province.
    • Family members of those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
    • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, arrives at the reception center and holding area for family and friend of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur.
    • A family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is mobbed by journalists at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur.
    • A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport, China.
    • A spokesperson, right, from the Malaysia Airlines speaks to the media during a news conference at a hotel in Beijing, China. Search teams across Southeast Asia scrambled to find a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board that disappeared from air traffic control screens over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam early morning.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora