Najib Flies Into Perth Wednesday Night Over Search For Missing Airliner

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PERTH, April 2 – Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to arrive here at 11 pm Wednesday to have a first-hand look at the search being conducted out of this western Australian city for a missing Malaysian airliner believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean. Najib left the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang at 5.30 pm for Perth. During the two-day visit to Australia, Najib is scheduled to meet with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 and also discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations.

This was disclosed Wednesday by the Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia, Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who said Najib would be accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor; Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman; Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis; Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and Chief of Air Force Tan Sri Rodzali Daud. 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.

Najib then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Boeing 777-200 aircraft, that Flight MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”. Zainal Abidin said Najib and Abbott would meet after a visit to the Royal Australian Air Force Pearce base. He said they would discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations in the areas of investment, trade, common regional issues, defence and education. He said the two leaders would hold a joint press conference after their meeting. Zainal Abidin also said that Najib and his delegation were scheduled to leave Thursday evening for a three-day official visit to Vietnam.

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