Tuesday, April 15, 03:15 PM MYT +0800 Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory Statement on MH370

It has been 39 days since MH370 went missing. We have now entered a new phase for the search operations expanding into deep ocean search with deployment of the Bluefin - 21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AVU). As stated by the Joint Agency Coordinating Center in Perth earlier today, there are 9 military aircraft, 2 civil aircrafts and 11 ships which haven assigned to search for MH370.

1. International Investigation Team

The Cabinet has agreed to set up an International Investigation Team to specifically look into the MH370 incident. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) will spearhead the efforts to draft the Term of Reference for the investigation team and will be recruiting the members for the team in accordance with international standards. 

The subcommittee, let by Aziz Kaprawi, Deputy Minister of Transport has been assigned the task to coordinate the formation of the International Investigation Team.

On that note, Malaysia as the Contracting State and a Council Member of the International Aviation Organization (ICAO) will observe and comply with the standards and recommended practices of ICAO set mainly to look into the safety of international civil aviation. It is imperative for the government to form an independent team of investigator which is not only competent and transparent but also highly credible. 

The main purpose of the International Investigation Team is to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the incident so similar incidents could be avoided in the future. I would like to stress that this investigation is not aimed at apportioning blame or liability with regards to the incident. I would also like to note that the investigation will not include criminal aspects which are under purview of the Royal Malaysian Police. 

The investigation will be carried out in accordance with the Civil Aviation Regulation 1966 and the standards set under Annex 13 - Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, the Chicago Convention, which requires each party to investigate air accidents independently with full powers in their respective countries. 

The investigation team will include three groups:

a. an airworthiness group, to look into issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems;

b. an operational group, to examine flight recorders, operations and meteorology;

c. a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.

We are also discussing to appoint experts from other ASEAN countries in accordance with ASEAN MoU on Cooperation Relating to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation that was signed in 2008.

 

2. Developments on the Ministerial Committees

As mentioned previously, the Malaysian government has established three ministerial committees. These three committees have started their respective tasks and I will now update on you their progress.

The next of kin committee, led by Hamzah Zainuddin, Deputy Foreign Minister has looked into various issues related to the next of kin of passengers onboard MH370. They are now working closely with various Governments especially the countries whose nationals were on board. 

The technical committee, led by Aziz Kaprawi, Deputy Transport Minister has developed the structure and drafted the terms of reference for the International Investigations Team which will be made known to the public in due course. 

The asset deployment committee, led by Abdul Rahim Bakri, Deputy Defence Minister has directed the deployment of the existing assets involved in the current SAR operation. They will be consulting relevant partner countries through our defence cooperation mechanism to further assist JACC in the recovery process of MH370.

I have instructed leading members of the three sub committees to head to Perth to hold discussions with the JACC.

 

3. SAR Operations Updates

As mentioned by Angus Houston yesterday, the Bluefin-21 AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) has been deployed. The search area is based on the identified location where the ping transmission was last detected and verified to be from an electronic device. 

The Bluefin-21 which will be deployed daily to locate the black box, will take 24 hours to complete a full mission. It takes 2 hours for it to descend to the bottom level, 16 hours to search and photograph the seabed, 2 hours to ascend back to the surface and 4 hours to download the images.

We are still waiting verification of the oil slick found and collected yesterday 5.5 kilometers away from the site where a ping was detected. This is consistent with our stand to only accept corroborated and verified evidence and there fore we appreciate JACC's effort in treating this new potential lead cautiously. 

Concluding remarks on MH370

A Framework Agreement on Cooperation Between the Government of Malaysia and The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to MH370 is currently being drafted. A first draft has been sent to the High Commission of Australia for their deliberation.

I would like to conclude by reiterating that the search for the MH370 has entered yet another phase. The information release yesterday has provided new leads, and given new direction to the search process. When possible, we will keep the media fully briefed, but our priority remains with the search operations. 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 07, 07:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident - Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

It has been 31 days since MH370 went missing. As we enter this new week of the search operations, there has been a significant lead in the search for the missing aircraft. As stated by the Joint Agency Coordinating Centre in Perth earlier today, the towed pinger locator deployed from HMAS Ocean Shield has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes. While this may be a step closer towards finding MH370, there are still many steps to be taken before we can positively verify that these signals are from MH370.

1.       Developments from Australia

This morning, Prime Minister Najib Razak had a call with Prime Minister Tony Abbott who updated him on the latest findings regarding the signals detected.

According to the Joint Agency Coordination Centre in Perth, two separate signal detections have occurred 1,650 kilometres northwest of Perth within the northern part of the defined search area. The first detection was held for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. HMAS Ocean Shield then lost contact before conducting a turn and attempting to re-acquire the signal.

The second detection on the return leg was held for approximately 13 minutes. On this occasion, two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly as stated by Angus Houston, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

Separately, the Chinese Ship Haixun 01 has also detected similar signals twice.

In line with Malaysia’s consistent stand of verifying and corroborating new evidence since Day 1 of the search operations, I would strongly urge all the parties concerned to treat this information responsibly and to give time and space for the authorities to conduct further verification. Malaysia also concurs with the statement by Prime Minister Abbott that all parties must be cautious about unconfirmed findings and making conclusions.

I have also personally spoken to Air Chief Marshal (ret) Angus Houston earlier today, who has confirmed the above and has briefed me on the ongoing operations based on information received from all parties involved.

Despite all this, We are cautiously hopeful that there will be positive developments in the next few days.

2.       Way forward for committees

As I have elaborated last Saturday, the Government—in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts—has established three ministerial committees namely,

1.       The Next of Kin committee, led by Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2.       The Technical committee, led by Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport

3.       The Deployment of Assets committee, led by Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence

These three committee have started their respective tasks and we will be reporting to the public on their findings in due course.

I would also like to confirm that efforts to appoint an independent investigator in charge based on ICAO standards to lead an investigation team is underway. Three groups have been established, namely–

·         An airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems

·         An operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;

·         And a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors

We are in the process of identifying to include accreditated countries into this investigation team.

Concluding remarks

The new developments over the last few hours have been the most promising lead we have had so urge all Malaysians and the international community to unite in their prayers and not give up hope. We

Will continue with all our efforts to find MH370.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, April 05, 06:06 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident - Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

1. Introduction

It’s been almost a month since MH370 went missing.

The search operation has been difficult, challenging and complex.

In spite of all this, our determination remains undiminished.

We will continue the search with the same level of vigour and intensity.

We owe this to the families of those on board, and to the wider world.

We will continue to focus, with all our efforts, on finding the aircraft.

2. Investigation into MH370

As per the requirements set out by the ICAO in Annex 13 of the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Malaysia will continue to lead the investigation into MH370.

As per the ICAO standards, Malaysia will also appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team.

The investigation team will include three groups:

- an airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems;

- an operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;

- and a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.

The investigation team will also include accredited countries.

Malaysia has already asked Australia to be accredited to the investigation team, and they have accepted.

We will also include China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries that we feel are in a position to help.

3. Formation of committees

In addition to the new investigation team mentioned above, the Government - in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts - has established three ministerial committees.

Firstly, we have established a Next of Kin Committee. Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads this committee.

This committee will oversee all aspects regarding the Next of Kin of those on board MH370, providing families with information on the search operation, and offering support after the search operation has been concluded.

The committee will co-ordinate with relevant foreign governments, and will complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysian Airlines.

The second committee oversees technicalities, specifically, the formation and the appointment of the investigation team. Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport, leads this committee.

The third committee takes over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence, leads this committee. This committee will work with foreign counterparts involved in the search operation, and liaise closely with the Australian Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre.

4. US-ASEAN Defence Forum

This morning, I returned from the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, which I attended in my capacity as Defence Minister.

At the forum, I updated our ASEAN counterparts, and the United States, on the latest developments in the search for MH370.

I also spoke to officials from other countries involved in the multi-national search operation.

The spirit of co-operation at the meeting, and the support offered, was commendable.

During my bilateral meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary Hagel reiterated his commitment that the United States would continue to support the search operation, and will provide whatever assets are deemed necessary.

I thanked Secretary Hagel for the United States’ unwavering support, which has included both the deployment of naval and air assets, sophisticated underwater search equipment, and assistance from the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA.

At the Forum, I also received strong support from our ASEAN partners in the search for MH370.

I would like to read out the joint statement issued by the ASEAN Ministers, which I believe underscores the tremendous spirit of co-operation within ASEAN, in the face of this difficult search operation:

“We, the Defence Ministers of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations express our deepest sympathies to the family members of the passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

We acknowledge that the member nations of ASEAN have participated in the search operations directly and indirectly since the plane went missing on 8th March 2014.

From the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea to the Indian Ocean - ASEAN has continued to assist in every way possible, true to the spirit of regional cooperation and friendship without any hesitation in sharing of information, assets and expertise.

We believe that Malaysia has done its level best in its response to this unprecedented predicament given the sheer scale of the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation which is the biggest and most complex we have ever seen.

We reaffirm our commitment for greater cooperation between each member nationespecially in the field of disaster management under the framework of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This incident stressed upon us the importance of information and resource sharing as we strive to be in the utmost state of readiness in mitigating potential calamities and risks.

ASEAN’s unity will remain solid and is totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating this massive SAR to locate MH370. We are resolute in finding a closure to this tragic chapter in aviation history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families in these difficult times.”

5. Concluding remarks

Before I end, let me touch on some unfounded allegations made against Malaysia.

These allegations include the extraordinary assertion that Malaysian authorities were somehow complicit in what happened to MH370.

I should like to state, for the record, that these allegations are completely untrue.

As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics.

And so I call on all Malaysians to unite; to stand by our armed forces as they work in difficult conditions, with their foreign counterparts, thousands of miles from home; and to support all those who are working tirelessly in the search for MH370.

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Lastly, as I mentioned on Wednesday, while I was at the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, I spoke by telephone to the British Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond, regarding the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Tireless.

I hereby confirm that the submarine is now in the search area and helping in the search operation.

I shall now invite the Chief of the Defence Force to update you on the submarine’s capabilities.

-ENDS-