PETALING JAYA - The Department of Civil Aviation's declaration that MH370 is an accident is meant to enable the families of those onboard to move forward and does not mean the search will be called off, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The announcement, he said, had been agreed to between the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia.
"It has no bearing on the search operations. The search for MH370 will continue.
"The governments of Malaysia, China and Australia remain firmly committed to the ongoing search," he said in a statement yesterday.
The DCA director-general, said Liow, had been tasked with making the declaration on the missing plane in accordance with international convention and practice as well as standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
"It will ensure that every assistance possible is provided to the next of kin.
"This has been a trying time for the next of kin of the passengers and crew.
"My thoughts and prayers, and those of the nation, are with you at this difficult moment," he said.
The Malaysian Government, he added, had also recently sent additional assets to the search area.
"Fugro Supporter has just arrived to assist with the underwater search. There are now four vessels taking part," he said, adding that MH370 website had also been enhanced to include a section specifically for the next of kin.
Thanking the governments of China and Australia for their support and help, Liow said Malaysia owed every nation and individual a "tremendous debt of gratitude".
"We thank them for their support during one of the most challenging and trying periods in the history of aviation," he said.