The Opposition Leader says the rituals at KLIA were a national embarrassment.
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has called for a full investigation to find out who employed Bomoh Ibrahim Mat Zain to perform rituals aimed at solving the mystery of Flight MH370’s disappearance.
Addressing Parliament today, Anwar said Ibrahim’s antics at the KL International Airport was a national embarrassment.
He said he had received hundreds of e-mails from all over the world asking basically the same question: ‘What’s happening to your country?’
“The way we’ve handled the crisis has been weak, and now we have a bomoh worsening the situation. Some may suggest it’s my fault, that I sent him. But who really gave him permission?” he asked.
He told the Dewan Rakyat the bomoh’s rituals went against the Islamic creed. “Where is Jakim? Where is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department? Who gave the bomoh permission?”
He also asked who had paid for Ibrahim’s services. “I noticed that he was wearing the 1Malaysia badge. He must be Bomoh 1Malaysia.”
Yesterday, Ibrahim and two assistants appeared at KLIA to perform a ritual aimed at weakening bad spirits so rescuers would find the plane if it had crashed.
Their props included a ‘magic carpet’, a ‘magic walking stick’, coconuts and water from Mecca’s Well of Zam Zam. It was their second session at the airport.
On Monday, they used bamboos as make-believe binoculars and a fish trap to determine the fate of the plane. After the ritual, Ibrahim said the plane was either in the air or had crashed into the sea.
Early today, Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar said: “We have not just lost a plane, but we have lost the credibility of the country and the country’s leaders.”
Anwar said he agreed with Mahfuz and said that Malaysia’s ministers were clearly unprepared to respond to questions from the international media.
“They have been too conformable with the controlled media,” he said. “So when faced with the international media, they become chaotic.
“The government has paid Apco RM70 million to enhance its image, but this crisis has erased everything.” Anwar was referring to the public relations firm Apco Worldwide.
“God is great. You use public funds to promote yourself, but your management of this crisis has damaged Malaysia’s image beyond repair.”
He said the authorities needed to appoint a central command to prevent the issuing of conflicting media statements.
Lack of coordination
At a press conference later, Anwar criticised Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for not showing the kind of leadership demanded in a crisis situation.
He said the lack of coordination among government agencies had resulted in conflicting statements.
He suggested the appointment of a competent person to take charge of search and rescue operations.
At another press conference, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim denied that anyone in the government had hired the bomoh.
“The bomoh was not hired by Umno or the government,” he said. “Their ritual was similar to the kind shown in the P Ramlee movie ‘Do Re Mi’. Surely we would not believe in such a thing.”
Shahidan lamented that the public was quick to blame the government just because the bomoh wore the 1Malaysia badge.
“Bomohs usually perform their rituals inside a room,” he said. “Those who do it openly are not bomohs, but movie actors. Umno is not interested in acting. We are taking the crisis seriously.”