MALAYSIA - The government's focus now is to search for debris and objects from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, said the prime minister yesterday.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in tabling a special motion on the MH370 tragedy in the Dewan Rakyat, said the government's purpose was to confirm that the aircraft, based on conclusive evidence from satellite data, had indeed ended in the ocean.
"What will commence from now, until weeks or even months ahead, is the search for debris and objects, so we can verify beyond any reasonable doubt they are from MH370."
He said the search area was most difficult and search efforts would face unexpected and extraordinary challenges.
Najib said the government had nothing to hide from the public and responsible steps had been taken by verifying and corroborating information received during the search efforts with all agencies involved before a statement was issued.
"As we have reiterated, it is and always will be an unprecedented incident in aviation history."
He said the recovery of the aircraft's black box was pertinent in finding answers to what happened to the plane.
"The plane's Data Control Recorder and Voice Control Recorder will give a clearer insight into what happened to the aircraft. For now, nothing can be confirmed until it (black box) is found."
Najib said the august house was deeply saddened over the tragedy.
"The Parliament wishes to convey its condolences to all families and friends of the 239 passengers and crew members.
"We wish to extend our gratitude to all parties and the 26 countries who have graciously helped in our search-and-rescue efforts since March 8. They have contributed expertise, radar and satellite information, and assets in the search for MH370.
"This is only possible if we have good bilateral ties with them and it is very much appreciated by Malaysia."
Najib said he made the decision to announce the latest finding on Monday night because he did not want anyone to misinterpret that the government did not convey information it had as quickly as possible.
"Although the news was most distressing and I was aware of the implications, I had to discharge my duty to the people and nation with full responsibility."
He appealed to everyone to put aside political differences and observe the sensitivities of those involved in the tragedy.
"Please show our solidarity and maturity as a nation, while taking into consideration the pain a lot of us are going through."
Several members debated the motion before it was passed.
The house also observed a minute's silence and recorded its condolences over the lost airliner.
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said: "On behalf of the members of parliament, I record our condolences to the families of the passengers and crew of flight MH370."
Earlier at the 207th Police Day celebration at Pulapol in Jalan Semarak here, Najib urged police to carry out a detailed probe into the loss of the aircraft for the sake of the families of the passengers and crew on board.
He said police had a responsibility to provide answers, even though they faced the challenge of conducting an investigation without crucial data from the plane's data recorders.
"This is a huge, heartbreaking tragedy.
"We may never get all the answers unless we succeed in retrieving the black box.
"But, we still need to carry out a full investigation because the families need answers.
"And, they need those answers as soon as possible."
Najib said a committed and professional inquiry was needed to minimise speculation, while the multinational search operation involving the police, armed forces and 26 countries was still under way.