PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will collect personal items said to belong to the passengers of MH370 only if it can be verified that they are from the ill-fated plane.
Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi said, in the past, authorities had found items which were said to be from the plane. However, they later found out that these had nothing to do with MH370.
“We have not found the wreckage and black box,” Aziz told reporters after witnessing a joint venture programme between the Transport Ministry and the Education Ministry to instil safe driving awareness among youths.
Aziz was responding to a report by ABC News which quoted the Air Crash Support Group Australia as alleging that Malaysia had shown no interest in “new evidence” which might emerge from more than 160 personal items lying on a remote beach in Africa.
Putrajaya, it said, had not picked up the items – which include handbags, phone cases, clothing and prayer caps – despite being alerted two months ago.
Amateur sleuths, according to the report, had, in the meantime, been going through the personal items to help fill the vacuum on information available. Apparently, they have managed to link these items to MH370.
The items were reportedly found along the same eight-kilometre stretch of coastline in Madagascar where items confirmed to be from MH370 had previously been found.
Aziz said Malaysia would sign a memorandum of understanding with African countries, such as Mauritius and Tanzania, to share intelligence on the search for MH370.
“Whenever they have credible evidence they will have to let us know.”
The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard. It was later said that the flight had ended in the Indian Ocean.
In 2015, Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that plane debris found on Reunion Island was part of the missing Boeing 777.