By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
April 13, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Putrajaya is close to setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after increasingly positive signs that the plane’s “black boxes” will be found, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.
The acting transport minister also added that an international panel to determine on who has jurisdiction to extract data from the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders was gaining similar momentum.
“We are getting closer to the issue… we have been quite busy getting the ministerial committees, expert panels and getting the royal commission set up.
“That will be announced in the near future,” Hishammuddin, who is also defence minister, told a press conference after visiting the preparations for a defence exhibition at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
Today’s remark was the most direct indication on Putrajaya’s expected choice to investigate the mystery of the plane that disappeared on March 8 with 239 on board, with calls for both a RCI and a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the matter.
The acting transport minister had said on March 25 that he was not in the position to decide on the choice of the formal investigation into the case of MH370.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim previously said Putrajaya will establish one of the two formal investigative bodies only when the black box is recovered.
Yesterday Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “very confident” that signals from the black box had been detected.
The Australian-led search for the Boeing 777, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is racing to gather as many signals as possible to determine an exact resting place before a submersible is sent down to find wreckage.
The Joint Agency coordination Centre (JACC) said yesterday that the remote search area where the plane was believed to have gone down some was still shrinking.
This followed revelation that the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield had picked up four signals linked to aircraft black boxes, with the first two analysed as being consistent with those from aircraft flight recorders.
The beacons on the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders have a normal battery lifespan of around 30 days.
Hishammuddin revealed today that Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail is currently in the United Kingdom to meet with relevant agencies to discuss legal matters pertaining to data extraction from Flight MH370’s black box.
“The AG is in the UK right now to discuss exactly tab . The ICAO and the experts involved identifying based on international law and domestic law as to have the custody over the black box,” he said, referring to the initials of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
But the acting transport minister said further details will only be revealed when the data recorders are recovered.