MH370: Do Malaysia and China really want to find MH370?

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January 13, 2017

There is no question that Malaysia and China are failing to meet their international obligations to find MH370.

And there is no question that the investigation conducted by Malaysia into the disappearance of MH370 is among the most mismanaged in modern history.

The Malaysian end of the investigation has been a symbolic affair where a variety of government minsters, officials and the country’s military have contributed to a chaotic stream of misinformation about the fate of the plane.

If the Malaysian Government also wants to avoid accusations of a cover-up, it needs to continue the search for MH370 and to end almost three years of emotional agony for the victims’ families.

The suggestion something is dodgy in Kuala Lumpur will only gain credibility if the Malaysians fail to act on a recommendation by the team of international experts led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau which is conducting the search.

New information led the experts to conclude that a relatively small area of 25,000sq km just outside the main search area likely contains the wreckage and should be searched. 

The exact cost of the search thus far is unclear but most analysts believe it is about $190 million split three ways with Malaysia paying $100 million; Australia $70 million and China just $20 million.

China’s contribution has been pitiful given MH370 was also a code-share with China Southern Airlines and carried the airline’s flight number CZ748. There were 153 Chinese aboard and China needs to contribute more.

When an airline code-shares (places its flight number and sells tickets at a profit on another airline’s plane) it must bear full responsibility for all aspects of the flight.

The hollow rhetoric of the Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tong Lai saying “the aspirational goal” is to find MH370 simply isn’t good enough for families needing answers and closure.

Even Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester’s excuse that the new area of 25,000sq km was not specific enough to meet the criteria set down by officials from the three governments is lame.

Considering the vastness of the Indian Ocean an area of 25,000sq km is very specific and the analysis that has helped pinpoint the new area has broken new ground. 

Malaysia and China should bite the bullet, pony up the $40 to $50m needed to extend the search and do the right thing for the families of the 239 passengers and crew lost with MH370.

The fact that the main body of wreckage was not found in the original search area means we were looking in the wrong place but we were doing it for all the right reasons and using the facts available at the time. 

Now we have new facts, including a drift study by the CSIRO from all the debris recovered in the west Indian Ocean found, that says it is most likely in a different area.

The search must go on.