Two teams were assigned thousands of miles away from Malaysia – one was on a humanitarian mission (with publicity propaganda mission thrown in) to Somalia while the other was on a holiday trip to Perth flying government’s version of Air Force One. One team came back with a body-bag while the other team had to cut short the Australia trip pretending to be sad over the death of a journalist killed in a shooting in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.
Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, 39, a cameraman with Malaysia’s national Bernama TV, was accompanying Putera 1Malaysia Club on the mission when African Union peacekeepers, a contingent of Ugandan-nationals with AMISOM opened fire, killing Noramfaizul. Sensing possible of political attack from opposition, PM Najib Razak immediately warned every Tom, Dick and his cat not to blame his party’s subsidiary, UMNO Youth and Putera 1Malaysia over the death incident. He even went ahead to say that even foreign journalists get killed and if you don’t want to become a journalist then you should stay home.
It was true that Somalia, Africa’s deadliest country for media personnel has a record of 23 journalists killed since 2007. But that doesn’t explain why the media workers from Malaysia had no bullet proof vests, head gears or any courses on do’s and don’ts particularly in such a risky country. Heck, even the 4-wheel they were travelling in was not marked “Media” to avoid possible sniper attacks, as if all the warlords in Somalia knew UMNO was the last good guy on earth. When even the mighty U.S. under then-President Bill Clinton had to pull back U.S. troops out of Somalia following the infamous “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993, what makes Malaysian Government think that Somalia is safe enough to ignore the basic pre-requisites prior to the mission?
PM Najib was clearly ignorant, clueless and irresponsible to say that one could get killed even if he wears a bullet proof vest. In the case of Noramfaizul, he could still be alive today if bullet proof vest was provided. Najib or Dr Alwi, who commented that Noramfaizul would die nevertheless because the bullet that pierced the journalist was of high calibre, are not ballistic specialist and hence not fit to conclude that bullet proof vest could not save Noramfaizul. Short of blaming the death as an Act of God, Najib administration is spinning everything but to admit it was his administration recklessness that causes the incident. And what good will it do to announce the journalist as a hero, RM200,000 in insurance compensation, talk about drafting SOP (standard operating procedure) and whatnot when his wife and two children lost the love of a husband and father?
No story is worth a life so in the case of war-zone Somalia, conducting such mission wearing plain shirts of 1Malaysia logo obviously won’t stop enemies in conflict from shooting you. And surely no publicity stunt in advertising PM Najib Razak’s administration cum humanitarian mission is worth innocent’s life. Come on, the mission was partly a publicity propaganda rushed to be telecasted to the rural voters during the Hari Raya festival in order to fish for the coming general election. Otherwise how do you explain the boxes of aid labelled with Najib’s photo and his 1Malaysia pet project during the TV broadcast? Won’t a Malaysia flag suffice to tell the whole world that the contributions were from the country? You don’t see photo of President of the United States glued on humanitarian aids, do you?
Maybe Najib administration can do the following to avoid bringing back body-bags, if he wishes to continue with the Somalia’s mission.
1) Change Malaysia Flag to UMNO Flag
The early joke was the people who shot at the convoy had actually mistaken Malaysia’s team as USA’s team due to the resemblance of both countries’ flags. Since the mission was partly to advertise present Government’s assistance despite the fact that tax-payer money was used, it would have greater impact to the rural voters if UMNO flag is used instead, no?
2) Make Use of “Come Debate, Don’t Shoot or You’ve No Ball”
Present Malaysian Government should put some sort of banners or notice to the potential snipers (more to the warlords from the other side) in Somalia that if they don’t like the humanitarian convoy, they should come out and debate instead of shooting from the hideout. Otherwise, they are cowards, eunuch, takde telor (no balls or testicles) and whatever you can think of. With such “high fertility rates” despite mind-boggling poverty, surely Somalian treasures their balls more than any of Malaysia’s UMNO members.
3) FRU should be sent in as Frontline
Malaysian FRU is notorious for its water cannon (in tackling peaceful demonstrator) so what better way to neutralize the Somalia militia with precious water? I would bet all my money that they would lay down their guns if FRU offers its water if they don’t shoot Malaysian convoy. It’s about time FRU expands its professional services globally.
4) Re-use the successful “You Help Me, I’ll Help You” Campaign
Najib Razak’s successful weapon which was used repetitively during election campaign – You Help Me and I’ll Help You – should be used in the future Somalia’s mission. Offer them 50 bucks or instant noodles for not shooting and you can have a very peaceful journey so much so you may not even need bullet proof vests at all.
5) Threaten them with Land-Travelling Submarine
Somalia warlords may not know this but Malaysian Government has developed the deadly technology – submarine that does not dive but travel on land. Hell, the sight of a submarine in Mogadishu aiming its torpedoes (not sure if the torpedoes work) was enough to scare the shit out of the bravest Somalia warlord. So if anyone dares to lift their gun at Najib sponsored mission, they’re asking for trouble.
6) Threaten them with Holy War
It’s been quite a while since Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali raised his arms with a threat of Jihad or Holy War. Now that a Bernama’s journalist is killed, Ibrahim Ali should offer himself to lead the future convoy to the Somalia. Best still, bring along Mahathir and Hishammuddin Hussein as advisers.
Seriously, any future missions to country such as Somalia should be carried out without haste and rush. Just because you’ve gone there before doesn’t mean bullets would not hit your team-mates in your new mission, friendly or stray bullets. UMNO maybe the taikor (or rather bully) in Malaysia but in Somalia where there’s no central government control, your life is at the mercy of the lucky star. There’re tons of hardcore poor citizens back in Sabah and Sarawak that Najib administration can help so why not start the charity at home? Somalia humanitarian aids can still be contributed to existing distribution channel. Like it or not, Najib administration is responsible on this tragedy, one way or another.
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