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MH370: Would new search help heal old wound?

— Seven years may have passed since MH370 disappeared but the mystery of the ill-fated Boeing 777 lingers on. Should a new search for the plane be conducted to seek closure for the next-of-kin of the 239 victims?

According to aviation experts, a new search should be undertaken only if there are any fresh leads, so as not to give false hope to the next-of-kin and other interested parties.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) test pilot Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian said a new approach is needed to enhance the search and the government should entertain credible methodologies that are put on the table.

“It’s a good and viable move by the Malaysian government in keeping the option open with regard to the search. Cooperation with Australia or China or other parties is welcome as this is a force multiplier that adds more brainpower to the search.

“Another aspect that should be entertained is the fact that emotions would run high when the search is resumed; thus we need to manage the expectations of the next-of-kin and other interested parties,” he told Bernama today.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, in a short video message in conjunction with the 7th anniversary of the incident yesterday, said the Malaysian government was ready to cooperate with Australia and China to resolve the mystery behind the missing aircraft.

In January 2018, private exploration firm Ocean Infinity commenced its search operation for the Boeing 777, but halted it in May the same year after scouring 120,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean.

Another expert, former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) investigating officer Capt Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff said any effort planned has to be based on new evidence that may be found, and not on speculations or theories made by any parties.

“The governments of Malaysia, China, and Australia have spared no effort to search for the missing aircraft, even going to the extent of engaging a private entity to search 120,000 sq kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean, in addition to previous search areas,” he said.

Geostrategist Azmi Hassan said any proposal to forge new cooperation on search operations should be made cautiously to prevent anyone from taking advantage of the situation for financial gains.

“The government’s openness to establish cooperation is welcome, for the sake of finding closure to the episode, including locating the wreckage and black boxes.

“However, such a proposal should be handled with caution. The main aim is to resolve the issue and determine the actual cause,” he added.

Meanwhile, Grace Subathirai Nathan, whose mother Anne Daisy was on board the ill-fated MH370, said it is vital to determine what actually happened to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

It is also about accountability and setting the right standards for handling similar incidents in the future, she said.

A brother-in-law of the flight’s chief stewardess Goh Sock Lay, who declined to be identified, when met at his house in Kampung Tawas here, said it is up to the government to decide what is the best for the next-of-kin to establish the truth and solve the mystery.

On the evening of March 8, 2014, the Malaysia Airlines aircraft with 239 people on board left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing but vanished from the radar screen about two hours after its departure.

Following that, massive search operations involving several countries were conducted in the southern Indian Ocean but neither the plane nor its wreckage was found.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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