MH370 search: 'Search efforts won't be scaled down'

MH370 search: 'Search efforts won't be scaled down'

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will not scale down its search and rescue efforts despite it being more than a month since Flight MH370 went missing.

While he could not speak for other countries, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has pledged no let up in Malaysia's efforts.

"We will not scale down.

"This is the promise I made to the family of those on board the missing airliner," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of several memorandums of understanding at the Defence Services Asia exhibition here yesterday.

Hishammuddin conceded that some countries might reduce their involvement, but said that other countries could come forward.

"Twenty-six countries started this journey with us ... The number can increase a lot more as we move to the next phase of the operation," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is Acting Transport Minister, said the proposed Expert Panel of Inquiry to look into the MH370 tragedy should consist of representatives from around the world.

"The members should be people who are respected, credible and able to decide and investigate without fear or favour.

"The panel is part of our ongoing effort for transparency ... to show to the world that Malaysia has nothing to hide," he said.

Hishammuddin said the Cabinet would decide on the number of members for the panel and other details soon.

"We are in constant communication with the Joint Agency Coordination Centre and its head Angus Houston," he said, adding that the three ministerial committees to deal with the next of kin, technical aspects and deployment of assets have been meeting almost daily.

He said the committee heads would update the media regularly.

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