‘Is declaration one step closer to ending search?’

by Hamzah Nazari
The Rakyat Post
Jan 29, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29, 2015:

The wife of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 crew member Patrick Francis Gomes is asking if the announcement by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is a step towards ending the search for the missing aircraft.

Jacquita Gonzales found fault with the announcement for many reasons, among them that DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman referred to various airline conventions in his speech.

She wanted a promise to be made that the search will continue.

Azharuddin today announced that the Malaysian government had classified the MH370 incident as an accident with no survivors, although the search will continue.

“You (Azharuddin) said the search would go on, but for how long?” Jacquita asked.

From her understanding of what Azharuddin said, Jacquita said it seemed like the search would only continue as long as it was practical, possibly only until May this year.

“After that, who is going to conduct the search? If they follow the convention, they can terminate the search whenever they want.

“Give us an assurance that it will continue until the plane is found.”

Jacquita said it also seemed like the DCA was absolving itself of responsibility and did not seem to consider the families despite the wording of the speech because it was made public first.

“It’s over and done with for them. It’s like washing off hands for them.

“Such a nice statement; it must have been written earlier.

“Where was the promise that we would be informed first?

“We’ve been trying to find out about this announcement since the 27th, but people said they didn’t know anything or that they would let us know when in actual fact, they’ve been planning all this.

“To learn about this on television… To declare my husband is dead…

“That is not the right way to do things. You know what they call the TV? The idiot box.”

Apologising for disrupting the earlier press conference, Jacquita said they should have at least called.

“I’m sorry I attended the session today and they cancelled it because they didn’t want to upset us.

“How many family members are here in Malaysia? Is it hard to call us in person?

“They cancelled the press conference due to unforeseen circumstances. I guess the families were the ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

“I feel like I’m the general public. We are the family members.”

The DCA had initially scheduled a press conference at their headquarters in Putrajaya at 3.30pm today.

However, it was called off at the last minute after members of the media as well as MH370 next of kin gathered there.

It was then replaced with a live television broadcast over RTM1 where Azharuddin made the announcement.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Airlines System Employees Union (Maseu) executive secretary Mohd Jabbarullah Abd Kadir opined that at least, from a legal standpoint, the announcement would resolve matters.

“It was a good way to settle legal issues. They will keep looking till they find it; that is separate.

“But at least it means the family members can receive compensation.

“We support that part,” he said, also noting that the family members did not seem happy with the announcement.

Regarding any assistance that Maseu might be able to provide, Mohd Jabbarullah said they would need to discuss the announcement first.

“Now that it’s like this, we will discuss it in our exco. We have to give assistance where we can.”

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