Wednesday, April 2, 2014

MH370: Malaysia Continues Being Transparent In Providing Information

Even though it has been 24 days since the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Malaysian Government continues to be transparent in providing information to family members of the passengers and crew.

Today, the Transport Ministry released the full radio telephony transcript between the aircraft and the Kuala Lumpur Air Control Tower to the families of the passengers and crew, while international experts will give them a briefing tomorrow.

Royal Malaysian Air Force Major General Datuk Affendi Buang was quoted as saying the move on the briefing was aimed at giving detailed explanation to any technological questions from the family members.

The briefing which will be held in Kuala Lumpur is expected to be telecast live to family members of Chinese nationals in Beijing through video conferencing.

Previously, it was reported that family members were insisting that they be given a briefing by satellite experts as well as the search and rescue operation experts so that they could raise their own questions regarding MH370.

Technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will participate in the briefing which will be attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in a statement here today.

The closed-door meeting will be co-chaired by the Department of Civil Aviation and MAS while the moderator will be the Prime Minister's special envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister, is currently in Hawaii to attend the first United States-Asean Defence Forum and related events.

While there, he is expected to share the latest developments on the search for MH370 with his Asean counterparts and the United States government.

Also today, the full radio telephony transcript between flight MH370 and Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control (ATCKL) was made available and is hoped will meet the wishes of the families of the passengers.

Hishammuddin said initially the transcript was part of police investigations and that the police were working to verify MAS' statement that initial investigations showed that the final words in the radio telephony conversation were uttered by the co-pilot.

"The real forensic recording tests are on-going," he said.

He also said there were no indications of anything abnormal in the transcript.

The efforts of the Malaysian government to ensure transparency in conducting the search operations on MH370 is a slap to certain foreign media which had previously reported that Malaysia seemed to be hiding vital information and did not want to share it with the public.

The issue that was brought up was media reports of the last words from MH370 which were reported to be "Alright, goodnight" , which have now been clarified as "Goodnight Malaysian three seven zero".

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to make a two-day working visit to Perth, Australia, beginning Wednesday, to observe the multi-national operation to search for the aircraft.

Ten aircraft and nine ships helped in the search for the aircraft with the search operation size today amounting to 120,000 square kilometres west of Perth.

Bad weather in the search area with limited visibility range has not stopped the operations.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.

A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The search continues there.

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