Malaysian minister says MAS plane turned back to airport due to stringent safety measures

Malaysian Airlines aircraft flight MH148 sits on the tarmac at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, Australia on June 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Malaysian Airlines aircraft flight MH148 sits on the tarmac at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, Australia on June 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has told reporters that the decision to turn back a Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight to Melbourne Airport was made in line with the stringent safety measures adopted by MAS.

"Safety of passengers is very important for the airline. It was an isolated occurrence.

"The emergency landing should not be linked to MH370 and MH17, which were not caused by safety defects," Datuk Seri Liow said told reporters after the Tangga Batu Malaysian Chinese Association division AGM opening in Malacca.

Mr Liow added that flight MH148, served by Airbus 330, was being inspected by MAS engineers and ground personnel as part of the investigation into the case.

A suspected engine fire caused the flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur to turn back.

It made an emergency landing at Melbourne airport with all 300 passengers safe, but a preliminary inspection showed no physical evidence of fire externally.

"Safety is of the utmost importance to MAS. More information will be released when available," an MAS statement said at the time.

Mr Liow was earlier asked whether the elements of sabotage by disgruntled MAS employees could be the cause for the suspected engine fire of flight MH148.

He said an in-depth probe by the Department of Civil Aviation would determine the cause of the problem.

MAS terminated its employees on June 1 and new job offers were given to 14,000 out of 20,000 staff.

A new company, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, will take over from the current one on Sept 1.

Mr Liow said any grievances by MAS staff should be channelled to Human Resources Ministry through accredited work unions or by the affected individuals themselves.