24 May 2018Hot off the Press
Image credit: Halim Salleh
The new Malaysian Transport Minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, has said the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by a private US firm will conclude on Tuesday and that there will be no more extensions to the firm’s contract.
Houston-based Ocean Infinity has been searching for the aircraft, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, since 2014. There were 239 passengers onboard.
In January, Malaysia agreed to pay Ocean Infinity up to $US70 million ($93 million) if it found the plane during a 90-day search in the southern Indian Ocean.
The hunt for the Boeing 777 was expected to end last June, however an extension was made for Ocean Infinity until May 29 this year.
Ganesan Nethi, a lawyer who represented the families of victims of MH370 said he was happy Malaysia was a “functioning democracy”, which was reflected in the approach the new government is taking.
He said Mr Loke announced on Sunday that “the need to give closure to the families of passengers on board MH370” was one of his priorities.
“As a lawyer who acts for 76 relatives of passengers on board MH370, I find this to be a very heartening and refreshing change of approach by the new Government,” he said. “And believe you me, we will be reaching out to the Malaysia Government because we would like to see a resolution to this as well, both in the court of law and outside.”
Mr Nethi also said that he was appalled at the lack of progress made on compensating the families who are connected to those who had disappeared on the flight.
The decision to engage Ocean Infinity came after Australia, China, and Malaysia ended an unsuccessful $200 million search across a 120,000 square-kilometre area in the Indian Ocean last year, despite investigators calling for the area to be extended by another 25,000 square kilometres to the north.
Of Ocean Infinity’s investigation, Mr Loke said he will ensure all details are made public.
“I’m not privy to whatever details that may not have been revealed, but as minister, I am committed to releasing all details to the public,” he said.