KUALA LUMPUR, April 1, 2014 – Director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, who has been a regular feature at the daily press briefing on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, stunned participants at an international aviation conference when he asked the media to leave the hall in the midst of his speech. He was a minute into the speech, explaining the timeline of the disappearance of the MH370 and the efforts by authorities to locate the aircraft when he stopped speaking, The Star reported.
“I’m sorry, is there any media here? I didn’t know there are media here. I’m sorry, can I ask the media to stay out please?” he was quoted as saying at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) ops conference in the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur this morning. It was reported that the DCA chief refused to continue with his speech until the media personnel, who were present at that time, left the room and declined to answer questions as he left the conference a short while later. A conference participant, Tom Ballantyne, told The Star that he had no idea why the media was asked to leave the room.
He said Azharuddin had only spoken about the steps taken by MH370 investigators in the search and rescue mission, which is in its fourth week now. “It was totally unnecessary. He didn’t say anything that has not been reported over the past few weeks. His office was also told beforehand that the media would be here so I don’t know why he suddenly stopped,” Ballantyne was reported as saying. MH370 vanished from the radar on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport bound for Beijing. There were 239 passengers and crew aboard the red-eye flight.