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Search for missing flight MH370 to resume ‘as soon as possible’, says transport minister

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SUBANG, March 3 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke has given his word that the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will resume at the earliest possible time.

He said it is the Malaysian government’s commitment and promise that the search will carry on.

“As I stand before you, and make this promise, I will do everything possible to gain evidence, to sign a new contract with Ocean Infinity for the search to resume as soon as possible,” Loke said during his address at a commemoration event for flight MH370 here, today.

The Malaysian government’s position is consistent, Loke added, that it would consider a further search operation when new information and credible evidence is ascertained.

“To this end, I have instructed the Transport Ministry to invite Ocean Infinity to Malaysia to brief me on their latest ‘no-find, no-fee’ proposal.

“We are now waiting for them (Ocean Infinity) to provide suitable dates and I hope to meet them soon,” he said.

Loke said he was also hopeful that the families and friends of the victims will remain strong.

“You have our deepest sympathies and will always be in our thoughts and prayers.

“More importantly, we will stand by you,” he said.

Separately, Loke explained that the previous contract with Ocean Infinity had ended in 2018.

“If we start with this proposal based on ‘no-find, no-fee’ policy, even though it is ‘no-find, no-fee’, we anticipate if we start going into a contract with Ocean Infinity we hope that the plane is found.

“Then once the plane is found, there is financial implication to the government of Malaysia. It is not that we are not committed to it, we are definitely committed to it, but we need the Cabinet to approve the proposal.

“But I’m very, very confident that the government of Malaysia and the Cabinet will approve such proposals,” Loke said when met by reporters after the event organised by Voice370.

He stressed that the Malaysian government is prepared to meet with Ocean Infinity anytime, either physically or through a conference call.

“There is no reluctance. As far as the Malaysian government is concerned, it is committed to that search.

“The search must go on,” he added.

When asked for a timeline, Loke said the ministry is awaiting a reply from Ocean Infinity and once they do, the proposal has to be brought to the Cabinet for approval in terms of commitment for financial cost.

“But I don’t foresee that as a problem. Usually, within weeks, we can get the Cabinet to review the proposal,” he said, adding that cost is not an issue, because if the plane can be found, the cost is for the government to bear.

Over 500 family and friends of MH370 passengers came together here today to share their experiences of enduring grief and struggle to find closure over the plane that mysteriously vanished 10 years ago.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 aircraft carrying 239 people, disappeared from radar screens on March 8, 2014, while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.