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Friday, March 28, 2014

'We would not have done anything differently'


After MH370 went missing from the radar screens, Malaysian authorities have come under fire from various quarters over its alleged poor handling of the crisis.

In China, incensed relatives and others had even accused Putrajaya of concealing information and "murdering" their loved ones.

However, acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein once again stressed that Malaysia had been doing its best since March 8, when the Boeing 777 with 239 people vanished.

During his daily briefing today, he was asked to comment on hindsight, what could have been done differently to deflect the criticism.

"I don't think we would have done anything differently," Hishammuddin replied.

"What has been thrown (at us) and labeled, history will judge us as being a country that had been very responsible... We left no stones unturned (in the quest to locate the plane).

"We have been transparent and consistent. But since emotions are running high, people's (perceptions) have been clouded. History will judge us for that," he added.

Hishammuddin also commended the efforts of Department of Civil Aviation director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

Meanwhile, the minister appeared to sidestep a question on whether Malaysia had the logistical and financial capabilities to continue with the search mission if the other nations withdrew.

Instead of addressing the matter, Hishammuddin, however, chose to clarify that certain nations are no longer involved because of the area where the search is focused.

“Till now, those who have pulled out is because of lack of aircraft and vessels to carry out a search in such an extreme place,” he said.

The minister then reiterated his praise for the multinational effort and Malaysia’s commitment not to relent.

In his briefing earlier, Hishammuddin said the new search area, approximately 1,680km west of Perth, remains in the Australian area of responsibility.

"Australia continues to lead the search efforts in this new area, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority gave a comprehensive operational update earlier today. As more information emerges, they will be issuing frequent operational updates, including on assets deployed.

"I would like to echo their statements that the new search area, although more focused than before, remains considerable; and that the search conditions, although easier than before, remain challenging.

"For the families of those on board, we pray that further processing of data, and further progress in the search itself, brings us closer to finding MH370," he added.

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