KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Malaysia’s allegedly chaotic management of the missing plane crisis could not have been manifested better than the “bomoh” (witch doctor) incident that has left the country red-faced, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
From the conflicting statements by top officials to the comical scene of three witch doctors performing rituals to locate the MH370 flight that vanished early Saturday morning, Anwar said the government’s handling of the disaster has turned Malaysia into the world’s laughing stock.
“All the contradicting statements, our slow response. Our credibility and image have been shattered, destroyed. We are not only criticised by the NYT (New York Times) but ASEAN leaders are also condemning us.
“Like the bomoh incident. Who allowed them (to perform the rituals) there? Can’t you see how stupid we look in the eyes of the world?” Anwar said in his speech during the thank you motion on the King’s address in Parliament here.
The three witch doctors, led by one Ibrahim Mat Zin who professes to be “raja bomoh” or the king of the witch doctors, performed rituals to “locate” the missing Beijing-bound Boeing 777 jet at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in the presence of local and international media on Monday.
The event drew immediate ridicule from observers as well as Internet users who took to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to deride the witch doctors, with some posting spoof pictures of them sitting on a supposed flying carpet that have gone viral, as well as the government for allowing the three to conduct the rituals there.
Ibrahim claimed the jet carrying 239 people including 12 crew members had travelled into the “alam bunian”, a Malay description for a spiritual realm inhabited by supernatural beings.
“This incident has even caught the attention of President Obama who was amazed at how stupid we are,” Anwar’s PKR colleague and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said while the former took the floor in the Dewan Rakyat.
The pictures purportedly of US President Barack Obama have since been brushed off as doctored.
Anwar today insisted that those responsible must be held accountable for humiliating Malaysia.
“There must be a full investigation into this event because it has humiliated us and tarnish our image,” he said.
Anwar later criticised the government’s handling of the crisis, pointing to allegations of slow response and a lack of information over search efforts.
He also said Malaysian officials were fumbling due to their complacency from dealing with a docile local media.