Malaysia silent as France reopens MH370 ‘box’

In this March 3, 2018, file photo, a girl writes a condolence message during the Day of Remembrance for MH370 event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Malaysia silent as France reopens MH370 ‘box’

  • Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370, carrying 239 crew and passengers, went missing in March 2014, 40 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
  • In July, Malaysian authorities released a 1,500-page final report that failed to provide any explanation for the flight’s disappearance

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been tight-lipped about French investigators’ decision to reopen the probe into the missing Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370 amid criticisms of the investigation by Malaysian authorities. 

In July, Malaysian authorities released a 1,500-page final report that failed to provide any explanation for the flight’s disappearance. 

The MH370, carrying 239 crew and passengers, went missing in March 2014, 40 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Victims’ relatives and friends continue to question the Malaysian report’s findings, with some citing the possibility of interference in the investigation. This has led to France’s Gendarmerie of Air Transport (GTA) launching its own probe.

The GTA is keen to re-examine all the technical data provided by British satellite operator Inmarsat in the hope of determining and confirming the aircraft’s flight path.

Malaysian authorities did not respond to requests from Arab News for comment. Dr. Oh Ei Sun, senior adviser at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, told Arab News that the “French connection” to this matter lies with the discovery of aircraft parts allegedly from the MH370 in the French overseas territory of Reunion. 

To date, more than 20 pieces of possible debris from the MH370 have been found along the African coast and islands in the Indian Ocean.

“It would be interesting to see how the French would go about their investigation differently, as supposedly both Malaysia and Australia conducted investigations with inconclusive results,” said Oh.

Aviation expert Rizal Kamaruzzaman disputed any “cover up” by Malaysian authorities. “Malaysia has no interest in concealing or manipulating facts in the report, as it has invested millions of dollars and expended civilian and military resources to get to the bottom of the issue,” he told Arab News.

“It would be desirable if a French investigation is able to extract additional data or facts from corporations under their jurisdiction. This could add to the body of knowledge that exists around the MH370,” he said.

“It’s important that French investigators start with the basics, such as reviewing the flight plan and any deviations.”

Many aviation experts would like to know the methods used by Inmarsat experts to predict the aircraft’s final position, he added.


Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

Updated 19 min 59 sec ago
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Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

MADRID: Spain’s interior minister said he would send national police to Catalonia if local authorities did not do more to stop protests like the one that shut down major highways over the weekend.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska accused the local Catalan police of doing nothing to prevent pro-independence protesters blocking the AP-7 toll road, which runs up Spain’s Mediterranean coast, for more than 15 hours on Saturday.
The involvement of national police would be a contentious issue in the northeastern region which has its own administration and where polls suggest almost half the population wants to split away from Spain.
It would also stir memories of Madrid’s decision to send in a large contingent of national police in September last year after the Catalan government called an illegal independence referendum.
“Serious disruptions of public order and traffic security, such as those seen in the last few days, need to be dealt with by the regional police,” the minister wrote to his regional counterpart in an open letter late on Monday.
“If this does not happen ... the government will order an intervention by the state police,” he added.
Catalonia’s government would respond to the questions raised in the letter, spokeswoman Elsa Artadi said on Tuesday, without saying when or going into further detail. She repeated calls for dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain’s previous conservative government took control of the region when the regional administration unilaterally declared independence following the Oct. 1, 2017 referendum.
Many of the Catalan politicians that took part in the declaration are in prison awaiting trial for rebellion or in exile.
Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez — who came to power in June — has said he is open to a referendum on greater autonomy and has promised to lay out detailed plans in parliament on Wednesday.
But Grande-Marlaska said the local authorities had to show they could keep order and prevent a repeat of Saturday’s protests.
“It was observed that there was no intervention (by the regional police) ... a reality that is difficult to deny,” he said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning.