KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The leader of an opposition party here on Friday described his government's handling of the missing plane crisis as "incompetent" and "inept."
Anwar Ibrahim said contradictory statements and lack of coordination between government agencies is a reflection of the "weak" leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"The prime minister should have assigned one minister to be completely, fully in charge, mandated to be more transparent, otherwise there is no confidence," Anwar said.
Kuala Lumpur has come under fire for its handling of missing flight MH370, which has been missing since Saturday, March 10.
The official response to date "portrays clear incompetence and inept manner of dealing with this crisis situation," said Anwar, 66, in an interview Friday at his PKR party headquarters.
The party won the popular vote last year, but not the majority of seats, in an election battle with a ruling party that has been in power for over five decades.
A former deputy prime minister, Anwar is preparing an appeal against a court that overturned his acquittal on charges he had sex with a man, which is illegal in Malaysia. Anwar says he is innocent and that the case is a fraud to keep him out of power.
He served six years in jail for a previous sodomy conviction, which was later overturned.
The confused government response to MH370 "reflects the whole system, they get away with everything, with lies, with using the courts, the media is just compliant, of course the entire system works at the behest of the executive," he said.
As Malaysia has come under an unusual global spotlight, pressure from foreign media and governments has exposed widespread poor management, he said. It is "a matter of lack of transparency, they are not used to a more open, accountable system, but also clear incompetence," said Anwar.
For the national image, "the damage is irreparable. "I am a Malaysian, I feel ashamed."