A team by the name of Putera 1Malaysia Club went into Somalia with the idea of conducting humanitarian aid mission in a particular war zone area with the famine crisis being the main concern.
Unfortunately, this team was so unprepared and went in a haste without knowing what they are heading into. Not only that they have risked their own lifes unnecessarily but they had to be protected by the security forces that were already busy with the war. And now, they have to worry for a bunch of innocent / naive people from Malaysia who were trying to claim a name by doing something good.
Things didn't went as planned and maybe the plan wasn't a good plan after all.
I'm so sorry to hear about the demise of our Bernama TV's cameraman, cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, in Somalia while following this bunch of unprepared team.
You have to read some true facts of what has happened prior to and during the so-called humanitarian aid mission leading to the demise of a Malaysian.
Failure to listen cost a life, an article in Star, depicted that a 7 member reconnaissance team of Malaysians arrived earlier to assess the safety situation for the upcoming humanitarian aid mission. The verdict - "Risky".
Was this "Risky" situation looked into or further planning with proper risk management being factored prior to the arrival of the 48 members of the Putera 1Malaysia Club?
Apparently, out of the 48 members, 40% of them were from the media. 18 of them? An experience army team going into the war zone will not allow so many media members to follow them else it may jeopardise their mission as they have to waste resource to save the media members if caught in a crossfire. It could have been more media members if not for the limited seats in the military aircraft. 74 media members were at the airport but only 18 were allowed to follow eventually. I really wonder what sort of briefing notes that had been provided to the media members in preparing them.
You don't send so many media members to cover a war zone story in a particular group. Moreover, this Putera 1Malaysia Club are not trained soldiers or they were carrying any weapons? Were they?
The 7 member reconnaissance team actually reported to Putrajaya first prior to the departure of the 48 members under the umbrella of Putera 1Malaysia Club. Their recommendations stated the following:-
a) that this team should make full preparations and leave after Hari Raya; and
b) concentrate their work and set up a clinic at one selected camp for the refugees.
Even though "Risky" but the team went ahead without listening to the advise as mentioned in items (a) and (b) as above. Outcome?
An international news agency journalist did mention that they have to go through a 3 days intensive training conducted by former commandos before they jump into the war zone. That too, does not guarantee their survival in a war zone.
To quote Putera 1Malaysia Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim who asked everyone not to politicised or “cashed-in for cheap publicity" on the death of a Malaysian - you mean to say that people can't ridicule the club for its unpreparedness which caused a Malaysian to die unnecessarily?
The humanitarian aid mission was cut short immediately following the death of a Malaysian journalist. Why cut short the trip? If this team was so gung-ho about the mission, it should have gone ahead with the agenda that had been planned. A death shouldn't have derailed a humanitarian aid mission where its main objective was to save even more lifes.
This Datuk made the following statements to the press:-
a) We are preparing for a second mission but we have to settle several unresolved matters before we make another attempt.
b) The club would not rush into things and would take all necessary precautions and follow closely all standard operating procedures during the next mission.
c) 45 people, including pressmen, had signed for the next trip so far.
My comments on the above:-
a) You mean to say that the club didn't resolve certain issues for the first mission but still went ahead with it?
b) Admitting that this first mission was a rush job and SOP wasn't followed at all?
c) All the best to this 45 persons.
Immediately right after this tragedy, a cabinet minister said that "standard operating procedure should be created to serve as a guideline for all parties." Isn't this a little too late?
The cabinet minister also mentioned that "There should also be a reconnaissance done in these areas to determine the level of security." I think he hasn't been briefed about the 7 member reconnaissance team hahaha.
Worse still, our PM quoted this - "But if you're not prepared to take the risk, then stay home."
This blogpost is not written with selfish intention or any political agenda. It's in the minds of Malaysians who cannot understand why such humanitarian aid mission cannot be handed over to the professionals such as the Médecins Sans Frontières ("MSF") who have been there for years.
I respect the intention and the main objective of this trip but they should have prepared themselves in view of MSF International President Dr Unni Karunakara's experience in Somalia.
Irrespective of whether our journalist was prepared in mindset or knew what he was volunteering for or for the fact that many organisations have/would be contributing aids to the journalist's family, whoever organised the trip should have been more responsible for it as his death could have been avoided.
Tags: Putera 1Malaysia Club, Somalia Famine, Humanitarian Aid Mission, Somalia War Zone, Bernama TV, Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, Médecins Sans Frontières