MH370: DCA's biggest challenge? Deflecting perception of hiding information

Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman speaks at a news conference at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 9, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat Isa
Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman speaks at a news conference at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 9, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Addressing the perception and theory behind the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 has been the biggest challenge facing the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) since it was reported missing on March 8, last year.

DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said views from the local and international community that the country’s aviation agency purportedly withheld information were percepted as definitive.

“It’s not a lie, nothing has been hidden. Many suspect we have hidden something. Many do not believe, but what we release (statements) and answer (in press conferences) is the truth gathered from local and international experts investigating,” he said.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared from the radar screen during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 last year. MAS lost 12 crew members and a staff of MASkargo.

On Jan 29, the Malaysian Government officially declared the incident an ‘accident’ under international aviation regulations and that all 239 people on board the aircraft were presumed dead.

When making the announcement, the government also stressed that the search for the aircraft remained a priority.

Azharuddin explained that whatever theories and claims on the whereabouts of the aircraft had been investigated by the agency, the search team and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) although at times, it was ridiculous and made no sense.

“We have a communication team which sits down day and night to discuss how to release a statement, in response to questions and the various theories or signs of the aircraft’s whereabouts.

“We need to be careful with the statement because every word would be misinterpreted, even though we released it correctly. We always focus on what we do and do not run away from our responsibilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azharuddin said there were certainly, a lot of things that could be learned by the various parties, including the DCA and the world’s airlines on what happened to the doomed plane.

He said the most significant thing was to introduce commercial aircraft detection in real time standards.

He said this would, among other things make it easier to exactly locate an aircraft at any time.

According to Azharuddin, these security measures have been proposed to ICAO for further attention and the international body will issue a final report on it in August. — Bernama

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