We are not hiding any info on MH370, says minister

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GEORGE TOWN: It’s not fair to say the Malaysian or Australian governments are hiding information on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, says Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

This follows claims by relatives that information was not forthcoming.

Liow said at present, all next of kin of those who perished on the flight were given access to the latest details from the investigation.

He said the information was published on a website and updated weekly.

“Wait for a full investigation report to come out, then everyone will get to see it.

“It’s not fair to accuse the Malaysian government of hiding (information).

“We cannot give everybody these details.

“And it is unfair to accuse the Malaysian and Australian governments of hiding (things).

“We are very thankful to Australia and China, who have helped us all along,” Liow told FMT.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was accused by a relative of one of the passengers who perished of covering up, after they refused to release material related to MH370’s search efforts.

The information was requested by families of the Chinese passengers on the ill-fated flight.

ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood had said their request was denied under a law that prevents the release of information which could “cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth”, The Australian newspaper reported.

The newspaper also reported some ATSB’s officers were having second thoughts about the agency’s official line that MH370’s ­pilots were unconscious or dead at the end of the flight.

They fear that some of the documents may be leaked.

ATSB also warned staff who leaked information on the investigation that they could be jailed at least two years.

Liow said the investigation data was being sent to an investigation team under Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO).

He said all will be able to view the final report from the compiled investigation data. The report is expected to be published by the years’ end.

The minister said the seven-member ICAO Annexe 13 safety investigation team, led by Kok Soo Chon, was working around the clock to complete the investigation.

Kok, who is former Civil Aviation Department director-general, is heading the investigation panel, comprising aviation investigators from US, China, France, Australia and also plane manufacturer Boeing and satellite company Inmarsat.

MH370, with 239 people on board, was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 when air traffic control staff lost contact with it less than an hour later.

Military radar evidence later revealed the plane had suddenly changed from its northerly course to head west.

Satellite tracking data appeared to confirm that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia.

Australia, China and Malaysia, which jointly coordinated and funded the search operation led by ATSB, announced in January the suspension of the search for MH370.

A flaperon (wing piece), found on Reunion Island near Madagascar, was later reported to be from the plane. Several other pieces of debris were also recovered in other places, believed to have been washed ashore by ocean currents.

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