While the world was busy preparing statements and meeting the press to slam Russia, it was the Prime Minister of a developing country with a population of 29 mil population
(1) established contact with Alexander Borodai, who is in command of the crash site
(2) secured the bodies and the black boxes
(3) received permission to access the crash site with safety guaranteed for the independent international investigators.
I wonder if the wife of the politician from Penang who used the words “scary and useless” to describe Malaysia (she apologized) has anything else to say now.
There were two comments in Twitter that caught my attention - YB Liew Chin Tong and Datuk Mazri Muhammad.
“@liewchintong: MH17 may be the beginning of a New Cold War. If Russia has to be told off, we have no choice but to do it. Our foreign policy needs clarity.”
“@mazri73: If we are vocal against Russia, will Russia stop support for Malaysian Su-30s, MiG-29s and other weapon systems in our military arsenal”
Their comments made me realized the complexity of our foreign relations policy especially in this tragedy.
Both countries have had diplomatic relations since the 1960s. About half of our air assault potential is Russian made. We have about 30 Sukhoi and MiG fighter jets. Trading between the two countries is valued at approximately US$ 2 billion. In education, we have over 5,000 students there.
This is not a case of being vocal, neutral or being quiet. It is about priorities and the timing must be right especially when there were reports of inaccessibility to the site and with news quoting the Ukrainian Prime Minister later that the rebels did not allow the train with bodies to leave.
The international media and international figures were quick to push the blame of the MH17 on Russia but there were some who threw in conspiracy theories against the Americans such as the Operation Northwoods that was rejected by President John F. Kennedy.
Whether it was the Americans, Ukrainians or Russians, no one is sure until the investigations have been concluded.
We are caught in a geopolitical crisis and Najib has played his cards right without jumping on the bandwagon to blame the rebels, the Russians or the Americans. The reality is that the bodies and crash site are in the region under the command of Alexander Borodai. Najib made the right move when he established contact and reached an agreement with Borodai for the bodies, the black boxes and the investigation to be carried out. No harsh statements or bullets would have worked but only diplomacy.
It is important that the Americans, Ukrainians and Russians know that the Malaysian Government and the families of the victims of geopolitics do not have interest in who controls Donetsk. In this moment of grieve and sadness, the only right thing to do is to allow the families to have their loved ones back for a proper burial first.
The next phase is for investigations to be carried out thoroughly and to deliver justice for those who lost their lives in MH17. The individuals who are directly responsible, the operations chief and the one who pulled the trigger, must be swiftly brought to justice. It is an unforgivable sin.