KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 – Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said he was grateful to the Australian authorities for their efforts to identify signals detected in the southern Indian Ocean as the hunt for the missing Malaysian aircraft completed its 34th day. He said that only after it was confirmed that the signals were actually from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, would the operation shift into the next phase. Noting that “it is still a long journey to go”, he said: “We get updated all the time from JACC (Australia’s Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre), but it’ll take a couple of days to look at the signals from the ping locator.”
Hishammuddin, who is the Defence Minister, spoke to reporters after attending a meeting with the authorities linked to the search for the missing MAS Boeing 777-200 aircraft, here, Thursday. He said that in the meantime, it was important for the three ministerial committees to carry out their respective tasks. The committees had been conducting their meetings here since this morning. On Saturday, the government – in order to streamline and strengthen the ongoing efforts in the SAR operation – announced the establishment of three ministerial committees, namely the Next-of-Kin Committee, the Technical Committee and the Deployment of Assets Committee. Hishammuddin said he always harboured the hope that MH370 would soon be found. “That is something I’ve promised the families,” he said, reiterating that Malaysia had nothing to hide.
He said close collaboration and deep understanding between Malaysia and the JACC would ensure that the information relayed regarding the search was consistent. 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 arrived in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. Analysis of satellite data indicated that Flight MH370 flew along what was described as the southern search corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, that the flight path of MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.