Loke: Govt willing to restart MH370 search [NSTTV]

SUBANG: Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the government is willing to restart the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, even if it is costly.

Speaking at the 10th Remembrance Event for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, he said the cabinet could study Ocean Infinity's proposal on the "no cure no fee" search for MH370 in a matter of weeks.

Ocean Infinity is a marine robotics company based in Texas, the United States. "No cure no fee" means a fee is payable only if there is a favourable result.

Loke said he was confident that the cabinet would approve the proposal following the ministry's discussion with Ocean Infinity.

"Once they (Ocean Infinity) come back to us, we will take it to the cabinet for approval in terms of the commitment on the financial cost.

"I don't foresee that it will be a problem. Usually, within weeks, we can get the cabinet to study the papers.

"They (Ocean Infinity) have given an indication of the cost, but let us withhold the amount for now.

"Cost is not an issue here. The cost is something the government has to bear."

Earlier, he said the government was ready to invite Ocean Infinity to Malaysia to discuss the no cure, no fee proposal.

He said the government's position remained consistent and it would commission a further search when new information and credible evidence were accepted.

He said that following the discussion, he would make every effort to convince the cabinet to sign a contract with Ocean Infinity to restart search operations.

He said this proposal was a new one that it had received from Ocean Infinity through a MH370 crew member's next of kin, V.P.R. Nathan following the company's statement that it would submit a proposal to Malaysia last year as the company then faced issues with ship delivery.

Loke said the government would contact the Australian government once Ocean Infinity had finalised its proposal.

On the credibility of the evidence presented by Ocean Infinity, he said: "I'm not the expert to say whether (the evidence) is credible.

"It's for them to prove to us, and I'm sure that based on this proposal, we have no reluctance to start a search because it is based on a no cure, no fee proposal.

"So the company is taking a risk (because) if it cannot find the plane, then it won't receive a fee."

Loke said the government was open to proposals from any company to restart the search for MH370.

On March 8, 2014, Flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished from radar after two hours of flying.

There has been little to no news of the whereabouts of the plane.

Underwater searches for the plane in the Indian Ocean have covered 120,000 sq km and cost about RM605 million.The search was suspended in January 2017.

In 2018, Ocean Infinity embarked on a three-month 'no cure, no fee' search covering about 112,000 sq km at the southern Indian Ocean.It concluded without any new discovery.

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