DCA chief boots media out of aviation conference
Published:  Apr 1, 2014 5:33 AM
Updated: 12:57 PM

Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman stunned participants at an aviation conference this morning after he abruptly asked the media to leave the hall halfway through his speech.

An awkward silence fell at the opening of International Air Transport Association (Iata) Ops Conference as a stressed-looking Azharuddin refused to continue his speech after he realised the media were present, reported The Star .

"I'm sorry, is there any media here? I didn't know there are media here.

"I'm sorry, can I ask the media to stay out please?" he was quoted as saying at the conference at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Azharuddin was explaining the timeline for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the ongoing search efforts but stopped some one minute into the speech.

He also refused to address the media when he left the conference after the speech.

When contacted, Azharuddin replied by text-message: "It was agreed to be a closed-door event."
Malaysiakini has also contacted Iata's corporate communications division but has yet to receive a reply.

'Totally unnecessary'

Later, conference participant Tom Ballantyne was quoted as saying he was puzzled why Azharuddin had asked the media to leave the event.

"It was totally unnecessary. He didn't say anything that has not been reported over the past few weeks. His office was also told beforehand that the media would be here so I don't know why he suddenly stopped," he was quoted as saying.

He added Azharuddin had only told the audience about the ongoing search efforts for the missing aircraft.

The conference is intended to discuss issues related to safety, operations and infrastructure in the aviation industry.

Flight MH370 lost communication over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 and subsequently altered to an unknown trajectory.

Investigators believe the aircraft "ended" in the Indian Ocean but have yet to find a piece of wreckage from the plane.

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