MH370: Search still in Indian Ocean, says transport minister

MH370: Search still in Indian Ocean, says transport minister

GEORGE TOWN - The search for flight MH370 will continue in the southern Indian Ocean, despite fresh speculation that the plane could have been deliberately flown off-course towards Antarctica.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai reiterated that the data they received from British satellite communications firm Inmarsat and the local air traffic control centre had suggested that the plane ended up in Indian Ocean.

"It is very precise. The Inmarsat data given to the search team is a MH370 flight signal. All these signals are very specific and they showed that they belonged to MH370.

He said the search team was confident the plane was heading towards the southern Indian Ocean and all assets had been deployed to continue the search in the 60,000 sq km area.

"So far, we have searched 35 per cent of the area. We hope to find the plane there," he said after attending the Chinese New Year open house and the launching of the newly upgraded Wisma MCA in Transfer Road here yesterday.

Liow was responding to a report in Britain's Daily Mail that experts believe the missing jetliner had flown on for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers, and that it could have made a left turn followed by two more turns that took it westwards before it headed south towards Antarctica.

Wisma MCA is now officially the state MCA headquarters, having been previously used as the Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) College campus. The headquarters was previously located in Jalan Pahang from 1999.

On plans by MAS Union members to stage a mass protest over shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd's plan to cut some 6,000 jobs, Liow said the management and union members should turn to the proper channels to resolve the issue.

"If both parties have a dispute, or cannot come to an agreement, they should seek assistance from the industrial relations department of the Human Resources Ministry for help," he said.

Liow also said MAS was expected to hold a remembrance day on March 8 in memory of those who went missing on flight MH370.

He said the Government would hold talks with Australia and China on hosting programmes to commemorate the missing flight's first anniversary.

On the proposed ferry fare hike by Penang Port Commission (PPC), Liow said he was waiting for a report from PPC before reaching a conclusion on the fare review which was done once every 10 years.

"We need feedback from the public. We always have the people's interest at heart and they've been given 14 days to provide us with their input before deciding on the proposal.

"Even the cargo fare will be reviewed," he said, adding that the ferry operation had been making losses every year, including a RM23million (S$8.6 million) loss in 2013.

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