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Hisham belies IGP, no one on MH370 cleared yet

Koh Jun Lin

Published
Modified 6 Apr 2014, 1:00 am

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has apparently contradicted the police’s statement that all passengers of missing MH370 were cleared of suspicion.

“I don’t think anyone has been cleared from any of the investigations,” he said at a press briefing today.

“Like I said the manifest list - this includes the crew as well - the four possibilities that the inspector-general of police has constantly reminded us - which is whether it is terrorism, hijacking, psychological or personal (issues) - that as I know is still ongoing.”

Hishammuddin said this when fielding questions from reporters, where he was asked why there is still no word on whether the crew of MH370 has been cleared since the passengers have reportedly been cleared earlier.

On Wednesday, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar reportedly said the police have cleared all passengers of hijacking, sabotage as well as psychological and personal problems, which are the focus of the investigation into ill-fated plane.

Hishammuddin also told reporters today that the recordings of MH370’s communication with air traffic control cannot be released for the time being.

“On the audio (recording), I am told that they are still investigating the audio evidence that exists.

“It is still pending, it cannot be released at the moment,” he said, when asked if the recording can be released so that relatives can help identify the MH370 pilot who last spoke to air traffic controllers.

The defence minister also denied allegations that Malaysia had been complicit in the incident, saying that allegations on the contrary are unfouded.

“I should like to state, for the record, that these allegations are completely untrue. As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics,” said Hishammuddin, who is fresh from attending the United States-Asean Defence Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He did not explicitly mention which allegation he was referring to, but his statement came just a day after PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim accused the government of a cover-up.

Workshop services all MAS planes

Meanwhile, MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters that the avionics workshop that caught fire on March 27 services all of MAS’ aircraft.

“We do repair and service avionics equipment on board all aircraft. The workshop is certified to do so,” he said, when asked if the workshop had handled MH370’s equipment.

Avionics is a general term that means ‘aviation electronics’ and includes equipment such as airspeed indicators, altimeters, radios, and black boxes.

The minor fire reportedly occurred at a “confined area of the corridor” of the workshop in Subang.

Hishammuddin also said Malaysia will not stop searching for the missing jet and will not put a "dollar-and-cents" value to

the ongoing operations.

"The search goes beyond dollars and cents," he said.

Asked about chances that those on board MH370 were safe, he said that this was what their families were hoping for.

"It may be remote but it is what they believe in. Eventhough if it is a miracle, it is hoping against hope. If that is the wish of the family, I think it is proper if we can respect their wishes."

Asked whether Malaysia was ready to apologise for the MH370 tragedy, he said that was not a solution.

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