Malaysia forms three ministerial committees on lost jet

Kuala Lumpur, April 5: Malaysia’s Minister of Defence and acting Minister of Transport Hishammuddin Hussein said here Saturday that the government has established three ministerial committees to streamline and strengthen their work in relation to the passsenger jet that has been missing for almost a month now.

The Next of Kin Committee, led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hamzah Zainuddin, would oversee all aspects regarding the families of those on board the missing plane, providing families with information on the search operation, and offering support after the search operation concluded, he said at a press conference here.

The committee would also coordinate with relevant foreign governments and complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysia Airlines, he added.

Hishammuddin said that Deputy Minister of Transport Abdul Aziz Kaprawi was in charge of the second committee overseeing technicalities, specifically, the formation and the appointment of the investigation team.

He said Abdul Rahim Bakri, the deputy minister of defense, led the third committee which took over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. The committee would also work with foreign counterparts and keep in touch with Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre, he added.

The minister said Malaysia would continue to lead the investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 flight according to the related requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Moreover, he said an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ would also be appointed to lead an investigation team.

According to Hishammuddin, the investigation would be composed of 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.

He said, except for Australia, Malaysia would also include China, the US, Britain and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries could be in a position to help.

The minister said during the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, the US and the ASEAN member countries assured him with their continuing support to the search operation.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Despite extensive scouring of the remote southern Indian Ocean area by planes and ships off the coast of Perth, where the plane is believed to have crashed, no trace has been found.