Hisham: M'sian govt to deploy additional assets in MH370 search (Updated)

06 Jul 2014 / 16:05 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the announcement from the Australian government that the search for flight MH370 has entered a new phase, the Malaysian government will be deploying additional assets to assist in the operations.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pix) said the Royal Malaysian Navy's (RMN) KD Mutiara vessel with multi-beam echo sounder capabilities will be setting sail for Australia on Aug 4.
Private companies Petronas, Deftech and Pheonix International will join the search efforts by deploying a Prosas Side Scan Sonar, which will be mounted on a mother vessel.
Boustead Heavy Industries and iXBlue Australia will also be deploying a deep-towed side scan sonar with a Remotely-Operated Vehicle (ROV) mounted on a mother vessel called John Lethbridge.
He said the government is now looking to get as many third parties including private companies to assist in search efforts.
Hishammuddin will also be traveling to the Middle East to discuss with friendly nations there on contributing to the MH370 search.
He added that cost-sharing with the various countries involved in search efforts is still being negotiated.
Hishammuddin was speaking to reporters at the launch of the MH370 tribute photo exhibition by the Foreign Correspondence Club of Malaysia at the Publika Shopping Centre here. Also present was Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Also present at the launch were several next-of-kin of MH370's crew, Malaysia Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and Civil Aviation Department Director General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
The exhibition consists of 40 photographs taken by 10 photographers from various news organisations such as XinHua, Associated Press (AP), Reuters and members of the local press.
Hishammuddin said there were concerns that the exhibition came too soon as it has only been 121 days since the flight disappeared in the early hours of March 8.
"I understand these sentiments. However, I would like to think that this exhibition is a gesture that we have not forgotten about MH370. That we have not given up searching, and will not stop until the plane is found," he said.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said the Attorney General is working with the New Zealand High Commission on the case of Muhammad Rizalman Ismail who is being investigated by Kiwi police for attempted rape.
He said the New Zealand government had given an assurance that Muhammad Rizalman will be treated fairly upon arrival and will not be subjected to a "trial by media".
Hishammuddin also rubbished allegations by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the government had attempted to cover up the alleged crime.
"That is an allegation and we all know where he is coming from; he (Anwar) even said before that he could find the plane (MH370) within a day," he said.


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