No Hesitation From Petronas To Find New Assets For Search Operation

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 – Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Petronas displayed no hesitation to find new assets for the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which entered its 47th day, and that the oil and gas company did not talk about dollars and cents. He said during the media briefing to update on the search operation involving MH370, he had consultation with Petronas earlier today with regard to the involvement of commercial ventures in the search operations. “In the next few days, we will be talking to other entities to look at the possibility of increasing the assets that are available for deep sea search,” he added. He also noted that as the search operation moved to the next phase, countries that were not able to participate during the earlier search, were now coming forward to help in the search and rescue (SAR) team.

“This requires deep sea assets, more probably Bluefin-21, more submersibles that will be very expensive. But again, I’m grateful by the fact that there are so many people out there who are interested to coming on board, which we have been doing in the last few days,” he explained. On the timeline to re-group and re-strategise the search operation, Hishammuddin noted the action would not be taken immediately and that there were still 20 per cent of the search area remaining to be covered by the Bluefin-21. “The timeline, I have to discuss with Angus Houston (Joint Agency Coordination Centre’s Chief Coordinator), but it will not be in the next few days. What is more important is that the search continues and this is the assurance that we will give to the family of passengers,” he said. Asked if the appointment of the International Investigation Team, which was approved by the Cabinet today, would stall the original investigation, Hishammuddin replied: “No. It’s just an opportunity for all the experts who have gathered here to actually look at what we are going through and see how that relates to the aviation landscape for the future. ”

In fact, I mentioned to the Malaysian Cabinet today that we have no problems getting people to agree to come on board because everybody wants to be part of this unprecedented incident.” According to the minister, whatever investigation done earlier would be reported to this team of independent experts for them to judge, so that there would not be any pre-conceived or speculative element. “What we want is an independent assessment of what inquiries that have been done before,” he noted. Meanwhile, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said DCA had sent a preliminary report of the incident to the International Civil Aviation Organisation. “We have not made any decision on whether to release it to the media or the public. We are still considering,” he said.

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