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Malaysia must upgrade its defences, says Hisham
Published:  Apr 14, 2014 9:44 AM
Updated: 10:56 AM

Latest developments:

  • Australian minister praises Malaysia's search efforts


  • Don't fall prey to 'compensation scams', lawyer tells families

  • Need to re-look nation’s security, says minister

  • Search chief: Oil slick found, sample taken

  • Use of pinger locator to cease, enter underwater drone
  • Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage for the search of Flight MH370:

    M'sia draws solace from international assistance

    5.49pm: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak says Malaysia has given its all to find missing Flight MH370 missing and draws solace from the assistance from countries all over the world in the search for MH370.

    “Over the course of the past month, we have seen Chinese ships entering Vietnamese waters to search for the plane; we have shared, and received, military radar data, putting the search above national security; we have seen assets from dozens of countries combined and deployed in a truly global effort,” he says when delivering the opening speech in the third Putrajaya Forum today.

    Read full story here .

    I will fly MAS, says Australian minister

    5.05pm: Australia's Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison praises Malaysia's effort in the search for Flight MH370 and expresses confidence in the country's national airline.

    "I will certainly be flying Malaysia Airlines and I encourage everyone else to do so," he says at a forum at the 14th Defence Services Asia in Kuala Lumpur.

    Morrison is sharing the same stage as Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the forum entitled "Transnational Organised Crime in Asia".

    Beware of scams, next-of-kin warned

    4.32pm: An American aviation lawyer warns the kin of MH370 passengers and crew against falling for “compensation scams”.

    “It is shameful that any person would attempt to take advantage of people in this state of vulnerability, and I hope that law enforcement is investigating,” Bernama reports Chicago-based Floyd Winser as saying.

    He says scammers are attempting to “fleece” the families for money, referring to a bogus e-mail purportedly sent by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to the families requesting they contact a Malaysian bank for compensation.

    M'sia 'courageous' in disclosing sensitive info for SAR

    4pm: Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein reiterates that there is a need for the country to update its defence system, Bernama reports.

    "We've made a very courageous decision to put aside national security and interests by disclosing some of our sensitive military radar information in the early stages of the search and rescue mission.

    "The situation now requires us to re-look our needs in the future and, more importantly, we're also looking in the context of the Asean region as a group," he says.

    He says so after witnessing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between Global Komited Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Weststar Group of Companies, and Thales UK today.

    'Take action against MH370 rumour-mongers'

    3.49pm: BN’s Kota Putera assemblyperson Mohd Mahdi Musa tells the Terengganu legislative assembly that stern action must be taken against those found to be spreading speculation and misinformation on the MH370 crisis.

    Bernama reports he said this when tabling a motion to enable the house to discuss issues on the dissemination of false information and slander against the country on the plane's disappearance.

    "Such slanders were becoming more serious when they affect ties between Malaysia and other countries... and if no stern action is taken, it will threaten national security as well as the safety of Malaysians abroad," he is quoted saying.

    Union: MAS told meet insurance payments

    3pm: It has been six weeks and the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) wants Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to make the insurance payouts to the families of Flight MH370 crew members.

    According to the union, only several families have received the RM20,000 payout under an insurance scheme for aircraft crew members.

    Read more here .

    Lost of confidence in Malaysia-based airlines

    12.30pm: Several Chinese businessmen claim their colleagues have refused to come to Malaysia for a trade event as they fear for the safety of travelling on board any Malaysian airlines.

    Food manufacturing company manager Lei Xin Guang, who comes from Sichuan province in China, reveals that several colleagues rejected an assignment to Malaysia although their superior booked tickets on AirAsia budget airlines instead of on board MAS.

    “I was not the one who was initially given this overseas assignment (to travel to Kuala Lumpur), but some of my colleagues were reluctant to come over, they are unhappy over the MH370 incident,” she says at Sichuan-Malaysia business matching session today.

    Search chief: It's time to go underwater

    12pm: Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief Angus Houston holds a press conference in Perth. Here are some of the highlights:

    • Despite lack of further detection, the four previously acquired transmission, “taken together, constitute the most promising lead we have for search for MH370" and must be pursued as far as possible.


  • As such, he says, “it's time to go underwater”. ADV Ocean Shield will cease use of the towed pinger locator later today and the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 will be deployed as soon as possible to search the seabed.

  • He warns search with the underwater drone will be “slow and painstaking”.  Each mission embarked by the Bluefin will take a minimum 24 hours to complete - two hours to get to the bottom of the ocean, 16 hours spent on the task, followed by two hours to resurface and a further four hours for data collected to be downloaded and analysed.

  • Its first mission will cover a 40 square kilometre area. The side scan sonar on the Bluefin will transmit an active pulse, which will provide high resultion 3D map of the sea floor and could possibly help to identify debris.

  • Undersea terrain of the search area is “new to man”, but measurements taken by the hydrographic survey vessel HMS Echo indicate a relative flat “rolling” terrain instead of sharp mountains. Earlier surveys suggest that the area is also thick with silt, which will complicate the search.

  • Houston reiterates that visual evidence of the wreckage is needed before they can conclusively say that that is the final resting place of MH370.

  • Earlier ping detections by Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 has been analysed and discounted.

  • He also confirms that Ocean Shield has found an oil slick yesterday evening in the current search area, 5.5kilometres downwind and downsea from where it had earlier detected pings.

  • A two-litre sample of the slick has been collected. It will, however, be some days before the sample can be taken to shore and tested.

  • So far, the only asset available to search the sea floor is the Bluefin. However, other vehicles would need to be brought in should search be required in even deeper waters.

  • Ocean Shield’s four ping detections and the oil slick are the only leads on MH370’s final resting place at this point.
  • “If we confirm, great. If we discount (it), we then decide where we are going to go next. That is the way it is done, believe me, that is the business of search and recovery, and search and rescue,” Houston says.

    Utusan grabs international attention

    10.50am: Utusan Malaysia , the mouthpiece of the government's dominant party Umno, makes it into international news following its conspiracy theory that the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had a hand in the disappearance of Flight MH370.

    Utusan's report , coupled with acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s denial , is highlighted by Australia's Sydney Morning Herald (SMH ) and UK's Mirror .

    Hishammuddin, who is an Umno vice-president, yesterday denied the alleged CIA link to the incident, but said the party's newspaper was free to report anything although its credibility would be at stake if it were found to be false.

    "The Malaysian government took several days to deny the claim. Asked about the report at a defence services exhibition, Mr Hishammuddin said if there was any link to the CIA I don’t think we will see such a strong presence of the US here'," reports SMH.

    The Mirror , however, labelled Utusan as an “opposition newspaper”.

    What comes after use of pinger locator ceases?

    10.12am: Syvia Earle, former chief scientist at US' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) outlines steps to be taken once searchers can no longer narrow the search area when the black box battery runs out and stops emitting signals.

    It will begin with the deployment of an autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV) in the form of Bluefin-21 currently on board ADV Ocean Shield, which is equipped with side-scan sonar.

    "Though it moves slowly, it creates good images - so good that they are ‘almost a picture’ of what's there ... but it's imaged with sound instead of with a camera," she is quoted saying by CNN.

    Once the AUV has confirmation of the debris field, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) will then be deployed, she says.

    She adds only a handful of countries have ROVs that can be manned, namely US, China, Russia, France and Japan.

    "Having the human presence there can make a big difference... (It) can give you a real edge in terms of understanding what's there," she says.

    Search chief to hold press briefing

    9.55am: Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief Angus Houston is calling for a press conference at noon in Perth.

    Black box signals cold for six days

    9.31am: As ADV Ocean Shield enters its sixth day without being able to reacquire the signals it picked up last week, optimism appears to drain from the Australian side.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott ( left in photo ), who last Friday said he was "confident" of the black box location, now warns of a difficult task.

    "There's still a lot more work to be done and I don't want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month.

    "There's a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left in this," Abbot is quoted as saying by The Independent .

    ADV Ocean Shield first picked up two signals on April 5, which were consistent with the presence of two black boxes - the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, and again picked up two more signals on April 8.

    However, as the trail goes cold, fear is that the batteries powering the black boxes’ emergency beacon that allows them to emit the signals have died, paving way for an arduous inch-by-inch undersea search.

    The black boxes have a certified battery life of 30 days but can at times last longer.

    Search under way, with no new signals

    8am: Searchers continue to narrow the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with today's operation covering only 47,644 square kilometres compared to 77,580sq km when signals "consistent with black boxes" were first picked up.

    Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 15 ships are joining the operation today at an area approximately 2,200km northwest of Perth, says the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).

    The oceanographic ship HMS Echo has arrived to assist Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield, which has thus far failed to reacquire the "black box signals" picked up last week.

    ADV Ocean Shield will also be assisted by AP-3C Orions, which will conduct the acoustic search.

    Weather today, like yesterday's search, is expected to see south-easterly winds with possible showers and sea swells of up to 1.5 metres and visibility of three to five kilometres.


    • The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200ER aircraft went missing not long after taking off from KL International Airport in the early hours of March 8, with 12 crew members and 227 passengers.


  • Authorities have determined the plane intentionally turned back and altered its course shortly after cutting communications with tower controllers for unknown reasons.

  • "Groundbreaking" data analysis on the six last 'pings' between MH370 and British company Inmarsat's communications satellite has yielded clues to the aircraft's position and heading, leading investigators to narrow down the search area to the south Indian Ocean.

  • Australia leads the search in the south Indian Ocean. As of March 30, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) is tasked with overseeing the operations, led by retired air marshal and former defence chief Angus Houston.

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