• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:20pm
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
Flight MH370

Security issues may hinder huge hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370

Malaysia calls on neighbours to 'put passengers first' and provide potentially sensitive military data as mystery of missing flight enters day 12

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2014, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 12:39pm

The scale of the hunt for missing flight MH370 took on new geo-political dimensions yesterday after the Malaysian authorities revealed the search area has now been extended to 6.2 million square kilometres.

As the mystery over the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 jet with 239 passengers and crew on board enters day 12, Malaysian officials issued a new plea for countries to provide information.

We are asking partners … to take another look at primary radar data

Their call - for what in some cases is sensitive military data - illustrates how the search for MH370 has become not only a massive logistical operation covering vast expanses of land and ocean, but a political and diplomatic quagmire.

Malaysia is the only country so far to have shared sensitive military data with other nations to narrow the search by "putting passengers and the plane above national security", it says.

Watch:Malaysian govt: search area for lost jet as big as Australia

Acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a daily press briefing: "Our focus is on four tasks - gathering information from satellite surveillance, analysis of surveillance radar data, increasing air and surface assets, and analysis of surveillance radar."

The sheer size of the task facing investigators came as Beijing's ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, said China had ruled out the possibility of terrorist activity by any of the 154 Chinese on the plane.

Huang said China had "conducted meticulous investigations into all the [Chinese] passengers, and did not find any evidence of sabotage activity".

Thailand's military revealed last night its radar detected a plane that may have been MH370 minutes after the plane's communications went down.

It said it did not share the information earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it.

Thai air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn said the plane followed a twisting flight path to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked it to early on March 8.

He said the plane did not enter Thai airspace.

Over the last two days, Malaysia has been in talks with nations in the northern and southern corridors of the search - from Kazakhstan in the north to the southern Indian Ocean - for information and support.

About 20 aircraft and ships have been deployed in the Indian Ocean as part of a hunt covering 26 nations. Flight MH370 took off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 before vanishing.

Hishammuddin confirmed appeals for data had been made to "relevant" countries and added: "We are asking international partners … to take another look at their primary radar data."

Security issues have stopped Malaysian officials revealing the kind of data shared.

Additional reporting by Satish Cheney


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This article is now closed to comments

With the Malaysian govt under Najib being who he is, I am not surprised if Najib or rogue elements under him is somehow involved in this disappearance of MH370.
Half truth, denials, retraction and further denials being the standard response of the MY govt thus far. The only truth that emerged was the flight was somehow diverted and the first officer was related to Anwar Ibrahim(Opposition Leader in MY parliament). Najib(Prime Minister) was so keen to destroy Anwar that the govt appealed Anwar sodomy acquittal and won a reversal. The first officer being related to Anwar was merely an unwitting party to this. The flight was somehow programmed by someone before it left to divert and crash in some unknown location and evidence that cannot be retrieved from the sea floor. I don't think whoever does this wants the plane to be found. Conveniently, put the blame to Anwar via the first officer. Unbelievable. Maybe.
It has happened before. When Philippines terrorist invaded Sabah, govt tried to sell the story that Anwar was involved. Anwar's crime, he visted the Philipines before the invasion happened. There is also the case of the Mongolian lady blown to smithereens by Najib's security detail. Everyone involved was acquitted after a few rounds of sham trials, appeals and subsequently, everyone was free. Who ordered the killing? Najib.
I think MH370 will not be found as the MY govt has a lot at stake here if the plane is found. The press conferences are just a smoke show.
It seems obvious to many that there is more detail available than is being stated.
Now we hear that all Malysian Air Lines Flights starting anywhere in the World will be banned from Friday of this week.
Rgar will sort the men out from the boys.
Somehow, it is starting to sound like we will never get to the bottom of this if it is going to involve so many countries................who will come out and admit to the fault now that it has come to this?
I think the plane is pretty much gone and disappeared for good.
Marcus T Anthony
One thing we an all be certain of: it is the other guy's/country's/race's fault. This is the only logical conclusion I can come to after reading the comments here for the past ten days.
When it all started I was sympathetic to Malaysia and China both being inexperienced to deal with a crisis of this scale with much needed sensitivities towards the passengers' relatives; also bearing in mind they need to continue the SAR to be responsible and meet with the insurer's bar to pay up. China's deployment of 20+ spy satellites probably came with a caveat that FBI or CIA not being given the case was understandable.
Then a week in, the Bomoh's duo coconut stunt I though a great comic relief and a reality check for the multi-billion SAR equipment deployed, was sadly slammed by the Chinese and its netizens. If it isn't in the sky or in an airport somewhere, he's quite right to say it's in the ocean somewhere!
Grief and tragedy such as this demands or deserves answer but may be there isn't one. It may be time to declare this than to fan out to 6.2M miles of SAR- who will bankroll it?
Incompetence aside, the Malaysians don't want this on their hands. That said, Najib should probably give his throne to Anwar over his incompetence in handling this debacle!
How have the Chinese govt been able to conclude that none of the Chinese passengers on the plane were involved in sabotage activities? Surely this can't be known conclusively until they find the aircraft or conclusive evidence of what happened to it.
hope i am not involved


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